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Alternative Outdoor Winter Activites?

National forests aren’t just for summer time camping. There is a whole lot of things you can be during the winter months. Many forests have dedicated “Snow Play” area and it seems there are always new trails being designated for snow-mobiles. Here are some alternative outdoor winter activities to think about trying after you are done with your fifteenth snowman.

Yurts are something of a cross between a cabin and a tent but in the round. Usually located near a cross country ski trail, they offer many of the comforts of home. Curious? Visit Pacific Yurts for description and tour. Yurts vacations are becoming more or more available. The Forest Service is starting have yurts available to rent to winter recreationists. One example is Boundary Creek Yurt, one of five yurts in Wasatch-Cache National Forest about two hours east of Salt Lake City. Set high on the slopes of the Uinta Mountains, the distances between the woodstove-heated yurts range from two to six miles (three to ten kilometers) along a cross country ski trail that rarely dips below 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). Can you image how beautiful it must be?

After our time in Alaska, dog-sledding through a winter wonderland in a place like Boundary Waters of Superior National Forest sound intriguing. When we were surveying the developed campgrounds of Superior, we were told the Forest Service keeps some campground vault bathrooms open for the dog-sled enthusiasts. Although White Wilderness Dog Sled Adventures maybe suggested by National Geographic, there are similar companies just about anywhere there is snow for you to discover. (The photo is of a team from Breckenridge, CO.)

Snowshoeing in White Mountain National Forest – that sounds interesting, too. I think what attracts me to snowshoeing is the speed, or rather the lack of it. I was never a speed-demon on my downhill runs. That was something Fred and the children did. Snowshoeing sounds a lot like hiking, my favorite outdoor activity. Snowshoeing is said to be one of the fastest growing winter sports in the world, probably because it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and all fitness levels. From an easy stroll to a challenging slog, this sport offers a great way to stay fit and enjoy the great outdoors. “Breathe the fresh crisp air as you make your own path through deep untouched snow of the White Mountain National Forest.” Doesn’t that sound fabulous. (The photo is of the Great Glen Trail in the White Mountain National Forest.)

But downhill skiing continues to be a hugely popular winter activity. Did you realize many of those fabulous ski mountains resorts were developed under a special permit from the Forest Service. Check your favorite national forest for a ski mountain and see if the resort is offering any “deals.” Many are, which makes them more affordable.

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Fred and Suzi Dow