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4 Fun Winter Sports To Get You Outside, Even If You’d Rather Not

It was much easier to convince ourselves to get fresh air when that fresh air wasn't threatening to become a polar vortex. Some sporty reasons to head outside when you'd really rather not.

An illustration of cross country shoes

(Image: iStock)

It was much easier to convince ourselves to get fresh air when that fresh air wasn’t threatening to become a polar vortex. Winter weather calls for new methods of persuasion, so here are four sporty reasons to head outside when you’d really rather not.

At 5°C: Cycling

Well, you already invested in the damn bike. Plus, it’s never been easier to get around on two wheels: Cities from Vancouver to Montreal to Halifax added bike lanes and closed off streets to cars this year. In Ottawa, you can pedal the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge all winter long.

Degree of difficulty: Layer up, steer clear of slush and you’ll be coasting.

Just below 0°C: Snowshoeing

It’s hiking’s winter cousin! It’s walking on paddles! It’s an ancient activity that dates back 6,000 years! Snowshoeing is also a good cardio workout that’s still gentle on your joints.

Degree of difficulty: Modern snowshoes are a sleek affair–think less wooden tennis racquet, more short, nimble ski. Poles (which, like the shoes, can be rented) help with stability, too.

At -7°C: Sledding

There’s something truly satisfying–especially now–about hurling yourself (or your partner, or your children) down a seriously steep hill on a plastic sled that offers nothing in the way of steering or brakes. It’s a fitting way to start 2021.

Degree of difficulty: You’re at the mercy of physics, and your sled will stop when gravity says so. Enjoy the ride!

At -15°C: Snowkiting

What this sport needs, Canada has–gusty gales, a little open space, and a whole lot of snow. Seize the opportunity by strapping on skis or a snowboard, hitching yourself to a lightweight foil kite and using the wind to surf the frozen terrain.

Degree of difficulty: High! Beginners can (and should) book a pro lesson to figure out gear, technique and how to harness the breeze.

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