In some places, people whine about snowy, cold weather and count the days until the warmth of spring. Bloomington is not one of those places. Here are seven ways to have outdoor fun this winter:
- Ice skating -- There are 13 outdoor ice rinks and warming houses in the city of Bloomington’s parks and recreation division, although the unseasonably warm weather so far has kept them from opening. But how much longer can that last, really? Until the temperatures drop, enjoy indoor skating year ‘round at Bloomington Ice Garden, one of the venues for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Jan. 15-24.
- Broomball – Although registration deadlines have passed for some broomball leagues, there could still be some openings on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with leagues beginning in late December and early January.
- Cross-country skiing -- There is lighting and snow-making equipment for cross-country skiing along a more than 3-mile loop of existing park trails at Hyland Park Reserve. The reserve and Hyland Hills Ski Area will host the Twin Cities Orthopedics Ski Rennet, 26K and 10K cross country ski races. Ski Rennet will also have .5K and 2K races on additional courses.
- Moon walking -- Walk when the moon is full at the Owl Moon at Richardson on Jan. 23 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Enjoy nighttime adventures under the magic of a full moon. Search for owls and practice calls of nighttime creatures. Great horned owls are courting so this program will be a hoot.
- Snowshoeing – Reportedly the fastest growing winter sport in the world, more people are strapping on snow shoes. Maybe you’re curious and want to learn more. Snowshoe rental is available at seven Three Rivers Park District parks, such as Richardson Nature Center, where there are trails for snowshoeing.
- Downhill skiing -- Hyland Hills Ski Area just opened their new ski chalet with spectacular views and improved guest services. There’s downhill and Telemark skiing and snowboarding. The terrain park is full of progressive and innovative features and are known for some of the best snowmaking and grooming in the Midwest – around 13 acres of snowmaking capabilities. They also have a SnowSports Academy that offers lessons, and equipment rental onsite.
- Fat biking – Riding mountain bikes equipped with really wide tires has become increasingly popular year ‘round, but especially on snowy trails. Several Twin Cities bike shops now rent fat bikes, including Erik’s Bike Shop, Michael’s Cycles in Prior Lake and Chaska, and Brookview Golf Course in Golden Valley. Already into fat biking? See how good you are at the Fat Bike Fun Race Saturday, Feb. 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Cleary Lake Regional Park.
Image: By Denali National Park and Preserve CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons