For the herd — take time to enjoy winter

There’s always something to do in Winter-peg

As the holiday season commences, it can feel awfully dreary this time of year with the sun setting before 5 p.m. and the impending cumulation of heavy winter snow.

But this is no time to hibernate. Grab winter by the horns and go have some fun — the snow is going to be here  until at least March, so you might as well enjoy it.

When the river finally freezes, the Nestaweya River Trail will be opened at the Forks. You don’t even have to own a pair of ice skates, there are skate rentals available at the Forks. There will also be the famous warming huts along the river to warm up in.

You don’t even have to skate at the Forks. There are plenty of trails to walk with a cozy cup of hot chocolate if walking around is more your type of exercise.

But if you are the skating type and the river doesn’t freeze until January, you can check out the community rinks throughout the city. There are plenty of rinks that offer free skate time, including the university’s own Wayne Fleming Arena. There are even recreational hockey and ringette leagues to join.

There are also ski hills relatively close to the city for those yearning to throw on some skis or a snowboard. In fact, Travel Manitoba has just introduced a new Manitoba Ski Pass that gets you access to one or all three ski hills — your choice of Springhill Winter Sports Park, Asessippi Ski Area & Resort or Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes.

If the slopes aren’t to your liking, consider taking up snowshoeing. There are plenty of snowshoe trails within the city limits. And if you decide you don’t like snowshoeing, these same trails double as hiking trails if you just want to go for a nice winter walk in the falling powder.

If walking around is your thing, the city boasts several locations where you can take in the winter lights. The Zoo Lights at the Assiniboine Park Zoo are always a treat, and if it’s a bit too chilly outside, you can always hop in a car with your friends and drive over to the Canad Inns Winter Wonderland drive-thru, hosted at the Red River Ex festival grounds. Sometimes seeing the beautiful winter lights is the best way to battle any winter blues.

There’s always tobogganing as a favourite winter pastime. You can find toboggan slides in parks throughout the city, or you can find a hill of your own for some good old-fashioned winter fun.

Instead of staying inside this winter, try going out and enjoying the cold. Shoveling doesn’t have to be the only way to get outside and exercise this time of year.

Remember, exercise helps mental health — so if the sun setting early is really starting to bother you, go walk around and see those winter lights to brighten up your mood both emotionally and physically.