Ahh winter….there is nothing quite like relaxing evenings in front of the fire sipping a hot beverage and watching your favorite show, while waiting for your pizza delivery. Then all of a sudden, before you know it you have packed some extra “padding” and you find yourself struggling on an easy training hike only a few short months before climbing season begins. Short days and hours on the couch do not a strong hiker make! So what can you do to stay motivated and stay in shape during the off season? How can you maintain that fit summer body that you worked so hard for?
> Just continue to hike. Do some snowshoeing, which is basically winter hiking. You can even get out to do some snow camping, just bring a book or a buddy because the nights are long! If snowshoeing is not your thing, maybe cross country skiing or downhill skiing might be more up your alley. Even trail running can be a good winter sport if you stick to packed down trails and get some good traction devices.
> Take a course. A lot of climbing and scrambling courses start in winter, and will help you learn new skills. Many of them also involve field trips, which will keep you active all winter and even help you meet some like-minded people. Get involved in clubs that post activities year round. Meetup groups can be good too, and often do weekly conditioning hikes. Here are some great organizations in the PNW to check out:
> Not interested in playing in the snow? I have found that perhaps the best way to stay active and motivated during the winter is to plan a big goal. There is nothing quite like an early season climb of Mount Rainier to get your butt in gear! It’s even better if your goal involves a monetary investment or big planning commitments so that you can’t back out. Your goal can be anything that suits you so long as it keeps your eyes on the prize –marathons, backpacking trips, multi-pitch rock routes or ultra-runs. Choose your fancy and stick with it! The more specific the better, we’re talking exact dates! Here are a few ideas to get the brain juices flowing:
* Through hike the Enchantments
* Summit a volcano
* Complete a through hike
* Bike a Century Ride
* Run a half marathon
* Go on a multi-day backpacking trip
Now is the time to get the ball rolling before summer sneaks up on us! You never know when the adventure of a lifetime will present itself. Here’s to being ready!
What is your big outdoor goal for this year?