Another New England winter is rolling in with snow, ice, and more snow. But you don’t have to go into hibernation just because the temperature drops.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a number of winter activities can help you stay fit. Between ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling, there are options for people of all ages and abilities at Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) facilities and parks.
Whether you’re looking to tear up the ice in a hockey game, pull off an Olympic-style figure skating routine, or just glide along, skating is a great way to stay active through the cold New England winter. DCR makes it simple to get started.
- Skating Rinks — DCR has more than 40 indoor and outdoor skating rinks throughout Massachusetts.
- Skate Rentals, Lessons, and Events — Many DCR locations offer skate rentals, and a number of indoor rinks are managed by private companies that offer skating lessons, competitive skating events, and pick-up hockey games.
- Accessible Skating — DCR’s Adaptive Skating Program makes skating accessible to people of all abilities, with specialized equipment available at select locations.
Cross-country skiing lets you get your blood pumping as you explore the winter landscape in Massachusetts. DCR offers cross-country skiing at more than 70 state parks, trails, and forests. Trail difficulty and intensity varies, so be sure to do your research before heading out.
Here are just a few options to keep in mind as you plan your trek.
- Groomed Ski Trails — Some locations, like Great Brook Farm State Park, offer groomed ski trails to make your ski trip easier.
- Greater Boston Trails — If you’re in the Boston area, DCR’s Leo J. Martin Ski Track in Weston offers groomed trails and ski facilities.
- Scenic Winter Wonderlands — Take in some stunning winter scenery south of Boston at the Blue Hills Reservation. There are more than 100 miles of trails to explore within the reservation, which covers parts of Quincy, Dedham, Milton, and Randolph.
- Accessible Trails — DCR’s Accessible Cross-Country Skiing Program provides assistance for people of all abilities, including access to seated ski equipment, assistive listening equipment, and recorded brochures.
If you’re looking for a rush, snowmobiling might be right for you. DCR’s more than 30 state properties open for snowmobiling give you the chance to set off and find adventure. Snowmobiling locations include October Mountain State Forest, the largest state forest in Massachusetts, which has miles of trails to explore.
Before heading out, make sure you familiarize yourself with the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s snowmobiling laws, regulations, and trail etiquette.
Make sure you keep your winter adventures fun and safe by following these tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA):
- If someone falls through the ice into cold water, follow MEMA’s ice and cold water safety tips. Try to reach them from the shore if you can. Hold out a branch or another object for them to grab if necessary. If you still can’t reach them, throw them something to hold onto and call 9-1-1.
- Familiarize yourself with MEMA’s advice for safety in extreme cold weather.
- Pay attention to the rules and regulations of the location you visit, including local laws and restrictions.
- Always wear the proper safety equipment.
Don’t stay frozen in place — when snow hits the ground, get out and get moving! If you’re looking for more ideas, check out the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism’s (MOTT) Love Winter brochure.
Stay tuned for our upcoming post on winter hunting, fishing, and camping for more ideas on how to enjoy the great outdoors this season.
Questions about finding the perfect winter activity spot? Comment below or tweet us @MassGov.
Tags: Cross-Country Skiing, Department of Conservation and Recreation, ice skating, skating, Skiing, snow activities, Snowmobiling, winter activities, winter activities massachusetts, winter fun, winter safety
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