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8 Ways to Enjoy a Winter Without Snow

The flowers in my front yard are already poking out of their buds. And there isn’t enough snow to go skiing yet. Here’s how to make the most of a snowless winter.

Let’s face in, siting around whining about the lack of snow, while tempting, will do nothing except annoy your friends. Go for a hike. It will get you up into the mountains, get your lungs and legs in shape, so when (or if) you have a chance to ski, you’ll be ready for it.

Get As Muddy As Possible
Cyclocross racing was invented to keep road bikers in shape during the off-season. There’s no reason it can’t work for skiers too. It works the quads, and takes place during the fall and winter. And it packages mud, competition, chances to fall down in dramatic fashion, and a die-hard crowd of good folks to cheer you on, and beer afterwards. In fact, it sounds a lot like skiing.

Slide Down Non-Frozen Water
Skiing is sliding down water. The water just happens to be frozen. You can still slide down water when it’s in liquid form. It just goes by another name: whitewater kayaking. It packs a lot of thrills, gives you a new sport, and with it, of course, a chance to buy more new gear.

And Do That Early, Dude
If the snowpack is low, chances are the rivers will be low in the summer. If you are going whitewater boating, do it early, before the rivers start to dry up.

Ski on Pavement
If you really want to skis, do it in the city on roller skis. You’ll get lots of puzzled looks from neighbors as you ski by on the street on skis with wheels. They’ll think you’re either training for the Olympics, just a total weirdo, or both. Roller skis are used by Nordic skiers to train when…there’s no snow. It’s fun and a great workout—as long as you don’t go splat on the pavement.

Get Used to It, Pal
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the fact of the matter is that snowpack has been dwindling for a while. Climate change is to blame, and we all need to adapt to a world with less snow. The ski resorts know it, which is why they’ve been investing in all kind of other ventures, from mountain bike courses to alpine slides and who knows what else. Turns out Al Gore was right.

Enjoy Not Shoveling
If there’s a silver lining to the mild winters and the lack of snow, it’s that you don’t have to wake up and shovel it as much. At least you can be glad for that.

Buy A Plane Ticket
If you really want to ski, you may need to buy plane tickets or drive a ways to get to consistent snow. Or move to Antarctica, where there will be snow at least for a while (And no crowds!) While you’re training for that job at McMurdo station, best to pick up some less snowy hobbies.

There won’t always be snow. There might not even always be winter. But there will always be fun.

By Neil Schulman

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