Snowflakes have already started flying across Ohio, setting the stage for some fun, winter-related outdoor sports, such as skiing, sledding, ice fishing and ice skating. Its also a quieter time of the year, providing visitors to Ohios state parks and other outdoor sites with more solitude and spectacular views.
Nestled in the heart of Ohios snow belt, Punderson State Park is a favorite getaway for many winter-sport enthusiasts, especially cross-country skiers. This northeast Ohio winter wonderland offers the perfect terrain for gliding along glistening white snow and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.
At many state parks, cross-country skiers can take advantage of the multi-use trails and virtually any wide-open space thats blanketed by at least five inches of snow.
Cross-country skiing is great exercise and a wonderful way to see the states winter landscape, so dont let a lack of equipment keep you from participating in this exhilarating sport. Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County and Quail Hollow State Park in Stark County, both offer rental equipment for a day of snowy adventures.
How long has it been since you went sledding? This traditional cold-weather sport can be enjoyed by Ohioans of all ages on sledding hills throughout the state. Many state and local parks provide designated areas where young and old alike can experience the thrill of zipping down a snow-packed hill. If youre looking for something a little different, consider snowboarding or snow tubing.
While the snow may be beautiful and enticing, dont forget to dress warmly when going out to play. A reasonably comfortable 32-degree day can be pushed dangerously colder by even a light wind, exposing you to the possibility of frostbite or hypothermia.
Deal with the cold by dressing in layers. Damp clothing causes your body temperature to drop, so focus on garments made of wool, GOR-TEX, and polypropylene, which do a good job of allowing moisture to escape. For added protection, wear waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Playing in the snow can be exhausting, so know when to call it quits and head inside for a hot cup of cocoa.
If you truly enjoy being outdoors in the winter, you might want to consider camping at one of Ohios state parks. While camping out of season requires a little more preparation than during the warmer months, it certainly has its rewards: its quieter in the woods and youll very likely get your favorite camping spot!
Lake Hope State Park, with its rolling hills and beautiful lake, is an ideal location for many winter sports, including ice fishing and hiking. Located in southeast Ohios Vinton County, the park features both electric and non-electric campsites for those robust enough to sleep beneath a winter sky. And nearby Hocking Hills is beautiful in winter with its frozen waterfalls and rugged terrain perfect for an invigorating day of hiking.
Love the outdoors, but not so excited about sleeping in the cold? A lodge or cottage getaway is a cozy alternative for those who prefer the great indoors after a day of winter play.
While having fun outdoors, remember to drink plenty of fluids. Even though its cold outside, youre still susceptible to dehydration, which impairs the bodys ability to produce heat.
Some anglers swear that fish caught through the ice taste better than at any other time of the year. That must explain why these hardy souls brave the cold to drop their lines through a hole in the ice. When winter temperatures dip low enough, this exciting winter sport can be enjoyed on Lake Erie and Ohios many inland lakes and ponds.
If you go ice fishing, follow the Boy Scout motto and be prepared. Wear a lifejacket and have an extra change of clothes in case of a fall through the ice. A minimum ice thickness of five inches is usually safe to walk and fish on, while six to seven inches of ice are needed to support snowmobiles.
Consistently cold temperatures along Lake Erie bring about the appearance of ice shanties and lure avid anglers from all over to this favorite ice fishing hot spot. For a variety of reasons including safety many anglers hire a guide who can get them set up in the protective shelter of a shanty and help them locate the fish.
With all these winter recreation opportunities available in Ohio theres no excuse for staying indoors. So bundle up, get outside and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!