Winter sports with your children

It has been said that the family that plays together, stays together. Quality bonding time may consist of participating in organized competition or activities, or simply horsing-around in the backyard. In most parts of the country, the winter months can put a major dent in the amount of bonding time that a family gets, particularly if they enjoy physical activity together.  The cold and the bluster of winter doesn’t have to stop playtime, however.  A wide variety of winter sports and activities are available that all members of the family can join in and enjoy. Winter sports and activities give the entire family an opportunity to get outside and have fun during a season that otherwise encourages being sedentary and cooped up indoors. Many cold-weather sports are suitable for the entire family, including skiing, both alpine and cross-country; ice skating, and snowboarding.

Winter sports for families

Nothing says “winter sports” quite like skiing.  Swishing down slopes over powdery snow is a staple cold weather activity and ski resorts are very popular destinations across Europe, western Canada and throughout the north-east and the western United States. Slope or downhill skiing is a relatively easy sport to learn, even for children, though it is a good idea to take a lesson before hitting the slopes and learning how to be safe on skis. Many ski resorts offer instruction by experienced skiers for reasonable prices; they can ensure that novice skiers of any age know what to do and where to ski safely. There are also a lot of ski sales and discounts available through resort websites so it easy to get a good deal online in time for ski season.

Another skiing option is cross-country skiing.  Decidedly more athletic and a great cardiovascular workout, it may not be the best choice for small children, but for teens and young adults it presents a great opportunity to explore the woods and wilds with family.

Whether there is a budding figure skater or hockey player in the family or not, ice skating is a very enjoyable winter sport for families.  Even the youngest members of the family can be fitted for ice skates and enjoy a turn on the rink.

Many teens will be delighted by the alternative slope activity known as snowboarding. Ski resorts offer this snow surfing option, renting equipment and setting up specially-made slopes and half-pipes for slalom and tricks.

Winter sport safety

Winter sports have their own safety risks, though basic safety should always be the starting point.  Always remember to wear the right gear and equipment, including well-fitted helmet, kneepads and wrist and shin guards.

Protecting the body from the effects of the cold and the sun is also important. Dressing in layers should begin with moisture-wicking undergarments. Hats and gloves are a must, since a lot of heat is lost through these body parts. Sunglasses are also necessary to protect the eyes from the reflective glare of the sun and for preventing snow blindness.  Sunscreen is also a must since snow and ice can reflect and intensify the sunlight, resulting in sunburn.

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