By: Emilie Schwarz

How many times do you hear people say: “I HATE WINTER!?” To me, winter is a beautiful time of year filled with opportunities for fantastic winter activities. Some of my favorite childhood memories include spending hours sledding down the hill in our backyard, making snow angels, having snowball fights with friends and ice skating out on the lake.  (Not to mention drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows!)  And the good news is you do not have to be a kid to enjoy winter. As a grownup, I still like many winter sports, but skiing is a lifelong passion.

Skiing has provided me with so many opportunities – creating friendships over the love of the same sport, traveling to different states across the U.S., and a way to get some exercise (without it even seeming like exercise; the best kind!).  And laughter – one memorable moment of ski camp was when our distinguished, respected coach was trying to teach us how to get a powerful start out of the starting gate.  Well, he certainly got a powerful start….as he leapt forward out of his bindings face first into the snow!  (He did not get hurt, so that made it okay to laugh, right?).  And finally and most importantly, knowing skiing was my favorite sport, it was even how my husband proposed marriage to me!  (Luckily he was smart enough to tie a bright red ribbon around the engagement ring in case he dropped it in the snow!)

Even if skiing is not your cup of tea, there are so many other great winter sports to be enjoyed – snow mobiling, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, hockey – you name it!  And after the holidays, you can get some great deals on clothes or equipment for a winter adventure. Warm winter socks, gloves, hats, scarves , coats, vests, long johns, hand warmers– each new season brings different styles, and if you’re like me, you always seem to lose one glove so you can always use another pair.

So instead of viewing winter with doom and gloom, go out, get some exercise and stop in at your local army navy store to stock up on great things to keep you warm while you are having some outdoor fun.

Emilie Schwarz is a veterinarian and writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. She is an avid skier and has won numerous trophies for downhill ski racing and other events.