Brrr. Feel the chill? Winter is on its way. But don’t worry: There are tons of fun ways to enjoy the season and have a blast despite the sun being a cold dead orb that barely seems to struggle above the horizon before the wizened claw of frigid darkness once again tightens its bony grip upon the land. So don’t just huddle inside drinking cold Ruski vodka and eating your vitamin D pills—get out there and have a great time with these outdoor ideas that’ll turn your life into a winter fun-derland!
Snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is magical. Instead of laboriously slogging through deep powder, punching down and dragging your boots back to the surface with each punishing step, snowshoes allow you to glide gracefully across the surface. Oh, I’m sorry—those are cross-country skis. Snowshoes are giant baskets you strap to your feet, and wearing them is considered a sign of hypothermia-induced mental impairment. Snowshoeing is like trying to use an elliptical machine with both feet jammed into trash cans, or dancing a mambo in Satan’s clogs. It’s said that the Inuit have 100 words for snow and not one word for why anyone would wear snowshoes.
Sledding. In fifth grade, there was an eighth-grader who was kicking the little kids down the sledding hill before they could reach the top. So, as I climbed up near his boots, I reached out and wrapped him up, toppling him all the way down the hill and filling the pockets of his Jordaches with snow. He responded by giving me a wedgie hard enough to rip my underwear. So you’ve got to be really careful when you’re sledding.
Skiing. Oftentimes the temperature in Boston will sink into the teens or lower. You know what that means: time to go north and seek higher elevation. When you get to the mountain, you’ll park in Lot 15, which is that many miles from the base lodge. Then you’ll carry your $2,000 worth of gear to the lodge, where everyone removes their normal shoes and hides them under a cafeteria table. You put on your ski boots, which require you to walk like you have a loaded diaper, then realize that you have to go to the bathroom, which is down six flights of stairs. By the time you clomp there and back, it’s lunchtime. After lunch, you decide to head to the summit, which is easily accessible from the base lodge. All you do is take the T-bar to the top of Silly Goose, then ski down to the Rabid Moose quad and take it back up to Head Wound Gully. You ski that down to the Chairway to Hell low-speed triple, and then from there it’s back down Certain Dismemberment, where you traverse over to the gondola. There, a guy named Xander who’s just taking a year off to figure things out will herd you and five strangers into a small box, where you’ll spend the next 10 minutes avoiding eye contact and praying nobody farts. When the gondola doors reopen, you’ll find yourself watching the sunset from the majesty of the mid-mountain lodge. So you ski back down to the base lodge, which takes 30 seconds, and get into some après-ski, which involves frostbitten people with reconstructed knees getting drunk to Dave Matthews Band covers while wearing winter hats indoors. It might all sound like a lot, but you can learn to be a competent skier even if you start at an advanced age, by which I mean no later than 6.
Ice skating. Winter just isn’t winter without a deep bone bruise, so why not go for the coccyx?
Ice fishing. Ice fishing is when you cut a hole in the ice and then build a six-bedroom house around it, complete with NFL Sunday Ticket in the game room and a two-car garage. One night, during a dinner party, the caterer offers a heavy passed hors d’oeuvre—some kind of beef with chevre thing, really good—and your friend Jeff takes a step back and puts his foot right down through the fishing hole, which is next to the half-bath off the kitchen, and you’re like, “Hey Jeff, careful buddy! We’re fishing.” Then the next week the ice melts and everyone is rescued by hovercraft.
Building a snowman. Building a snowman is a playful way to tell Mother Nature that a little bit of sticky precipitation won’t stop you from fashioning pagan idols. Traditional snowmen have lumps of coal for their eyes and mouth, but you should celebrate carbon-neutral energy by using chunks of uranium. The fun thing about making a snowman is that the rolling snowballs pick up anything that was on the ground, making for all sorts of neat surprises. Say, did you clean up after your dog before it snowed, or does Mr. Shivers have a funny-looking pipe in his mouth? No and yes! Don’t worry too much about getting him perfect, because he’s just going to melt. Probably no later than St. Patrick’s Day.