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Blair Garrett

For many of us, winter can feel like the longest time of the year.

With cold weather, snowfall, and shorter days highlighting the chilly months of the year, it can be a struggle to motivate yourself to find something new and fun to do to help fight those winter blues.  

During our proverbial “hibernation months,” food consumption is at an all-time high, and the tendency to avoid the cold weather and veg out is all too familiar for most of us. But hope is not lost, as there are endless ways to break free of those winter blues and into a great new hobby or activity.

While most travel is on hold from the ongoing pandemic, finding exciting things to do is only limited to your own creativity. Whether it’s braving the outdoors, discovering a new hidden talent, or finishing a project you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, you are sure to find the perfect fix to boredom with just a nudge in the right direction.

1. Picking up a Winter Sport

Scorching down a steep mountain at record speeds may not be for everyone but, fortunately, there are a ton of great resources to help you navigate picking up a new winter sport that you think you would like to try. Skiing and snowboarding has gained tremendous popularity in the last decade, and there are excellent local options where you can take lessons from experienced instructors from now until March, as long as the weather cooperates.

Ski Liberty, Ski Roundtop, and Whitetail are all excellent venues to begin a challenging new hobby. And with dozens of slopes of varying difficulty, there’s a comfortable fit for just about anyone.

If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other wintertime exercise options to get you moving. Ice skating and figure skating are easier on your joints, and they provide you with a cheaper route to go that you can continue working on throughout the warmer months via local indoor ice rinks.

2. Cooking/Baking

There is no better time of the year for cookies and the like than during the holiday season.

The art of cooking and baking is something all of us have to take part in at some point, and a cold winter amidst a global pandemic seems like a fitting time to improve upon an indoor skill you may not have brushed up on before.

An easy place to start is bread baking. Sourdough starter kits are wildly popular, and with more people taking on a new frontier in the world of bread, awesome recipes have never been more accessible. Everyone’s day would be a little brighter with more people making great sourdough.

Everyone needs to eat, so the ability to put together a delicious, complex meal or something as simple as a tasty chocolate chip cookie is tremendously valuable. Plus, having something to share with family and friends is always a huge bonus.

Though Christmas is over, plan for next year and start perfecting your baking skills. The importance of a good batch of sugar cookies cannot be overstated. Fortunately, once grandma’s famous recipe is perfected, annual holiday cookies can be a hit year after year.

3. Meat Smoking

Meat smokers are not just for your favorite barbecue restaurant anymore, personal smokers are now widely available and easier than ever to operate.

With the huge population of hunters locally and hunting season scattered throughout the winter, fresh deer meat and other game is common for people to store.

There are tons of great wood-pellet smokers that range anywhere from a small operation to adjusting temperatures and heat from an app on your phone. Smoking meats opens a new spectrum of possibilities when it comes to the flavors you can develop through smoking.

While it’s not the cheapest hobby you’ll ever have, the results from smoking your own meats will revolutionize the way you cook.

4. Snowball Fights

While this outdoor activity is snow-dependent, there is nothing more fun than slinging chunks of snow at your family and friends. The more family-friendly option is building snowmen or snow forts, which is another perfect way to spend a snow day.

This winter’s total snow accumulation has already eclipsed last year’s, so there may just be plenty more opportunities to find yourself on the receiving end of a snowball hurtling toward you.

The year 2020 was not an ideal situation from start to finish, but in 2021, there are numerous ways to find yourself wrapped up in a fulfilling new hobby. So, don’t be afraid to take a chance on pushing yourself with a fun, new challenge this winter season.

5. Make a Movie and Book List

Wintertime is a perfect time to take to reading those books you’ve been meaning to for so long but just haven’t gotten to. Maybe challenge yourself to read all the classics over the cold, winter months. Maybe you usually confine your book choices to only fiction; it’s a good time to switch that up. Think of a topic that you’ve always wanted to learn more about, and pick a non-fiction book about that subject. Not only will you combat the winter blues, but you’ll be smarter come springtime!

Always wish you had more time to watch movies? Well, the cold, dark days of winter are the best time to sit down, get comfy, wrap up in a soft blanket, and watch a good movie. Like to laugh? Google good comedies to watch. It’s been shown that humor relieves stress. Get lost in a good movie for two hours and get a little escape from reality.

So, grab a pen and a piece of paper and get working on your movie and book list for this winter.

6. Start a Home Project

While you may be thinking: How is doing home projects considered fun? Well, maybe it’s not as exciting as skiing down a steep mountain or as relaxing as watching a good movie, but it has its perks. Starting a home project and seeing it to completion gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment—something we could all use during the deary winter months.

Maybe you’ve been meaning to clean out those over-packed closets. Start with one and work your way through the house. Set a pile aside of items you can donate.

Keet putting off painting those rooms that have been on your “to-do list”? Wintertime is a great time to paint. Maybe try a whole different color theme.

Other home projects to tackle could be organizing your filing cabinet, going through old papers and figuring out what you can shred, and cleaning out your garage.

Will Heurich captures the peak of a snow-capped mountain in Telluride, Colorado. 

Skiers and snowboarders find solace blazing trails in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.