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Family going up a ski mountain on a ski liftWinter in Massachusetts provides fabulous snowscapes framed by bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine; although it may be cold outside, the fun is just heating up.

When chilly weather arrives, it’s time to dust off snowboards, skies, and sleds; to ensconce oneself in scarves, mittens, and caps; and to teach the art of building a snowman to the next generation. Massachusetts has plenty of exciting indoor and outdoor activities to offer during the winter months, as well as traditional winter fun like making snow angels and snowball fights.

All-inclusive winter fun is offered though the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Universal Access Program: snowshoeing, kick sledding, cross-country skiing, and ice skating provide options for those with limited mobility, balance, or endurance.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a fun, total-body workout, and a great way to appreciate Massachusetts state parks, which feature more than 70 trails. Cross-country skiing provides a low-impact workout and an opportunity to explore pristine winter forests as skiers glide peacefully through beautiful snowy meadows.

Ice Skating

Nothing says the holidays like bundling up the kids, lacing on the skates, and taking a spin on the ice. Whether you’re just beginning or an experienced figure skater, ice skating combines elegance and beauty with fun and exercise.

There are plenty of fun places to go ice skating, including indoor rinks, outdoor rinks, and ponds. Through DCR’s Universal Access Program, ice skating is available to all. DCR has 17 rinks that offer accessible skating where seated sleds enable people with disabilities to participate in the fun. Some sleds are equipped with a stroller bar so another skater can push, and some have short hockey sticks that enable users to propel themselves across the ice.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Massachusetts boasts 12 fantastic ski areas, from smaller mountains perfect for beginners to 1,150-foot verticals for the more daring. Most of these resorts offer terrain for both skiers and snowboarders; for those new to the slopes, lessons are available.

Sledding & Tubing

Not feeling coordinated enough for downhill skiing or brave enough for snowboarding? There’s nothing better than gliding through the cool air on a sled, toboggan, or tube. Hiking uphill with one’s snow chariot is a fair price to pay for the exhilarating rush of the downhill ride. Find some choice terrain and head out for hours of enjoyment and laughter.

Snowmobiling

If you’re up for some extra adventure, snowmobiling might be right for you; it’s a sensational way to enjoy the outdoors. State forests and parks provide a variety of groomed trails to take riders into vast areas ripe for exploration.

Snowshoeing

Nothing beats cabin fever quite like a refreshing trek, and families that like to hike will love snowshoeing – all you need is a sense of exploration and good boots. Kids will have fun on the bigfoot-like shoes that keep them from sinking into the snow and getting stuck.

Ice Hockey

Massachusetts is dotted with hundreds of ponds and lakes that feature great skating when the weather is just right.  Whether you’re looking for a quick game of pick-up hockey, or practicing sweet Bobby Orr moves, sailing over the glassy surface — stick in hand — will get the adrenaline pumping. All DCR rinks are available to use for hockey games and must be booked in advance; proper safety gear must be worn at all times.

This winter, insert some fun and adventure into your routine. Don’t turn a cold shoulder on all the outdoor winter fun available in Massachusetts. Instead, kindle a newfound love affair with the Bay State and experience its great outdoors regardless of the temperature… Make it a winter you’ll never forget.

What are your favorite winter activities? Do you have a great sledding or tubing spot to share? Feel free to share in the comments below or tweet us at @MassGov.

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