Take a Vacation from the Winter Blues

 
Winter is almost here. That means staying in and waiting for spring — right? Not at all! There are plenty of activities you can do in the winter, no matter where you live. You can even plan a getaway to one of the many winter sports resorts in the United States.
 
From coast to coast, you can find a resort for yourself or your family to satisfy all your winter sports desires. Those traveling to the West Coast, Midwest and northeastern parts of the country will find an abundance of resorts close by, but others will not have to travel far. There are winter sports resorts all over the country to satisfy any of your cold-weather interests.
 
“States as far south as North Carolina and Tennessee feature ski resorts that also offer other winter sports, such as ice skating and tubing,” said TripAdvisor Public Relations Specialist Julie Cassetina.
 
You don’t even need to find mountains to find great winter sports, Cassetina said. There are Winter Wonderlands all across the U.S.!
 
“While the mountainous regions of the East and West Coasts are the most popular destinations for winter sports, travelers in the comparatively flat Midwest can find resorts that offer plenty of snow-filled fun across the Great Plains,” Cassetina said.
 
Popular resort destinations in the western half of the United States include Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.; Park City, Utah; Big Bear Region, Calif.; and Sun Valley, Idaho. Eastern destinations include Lake Placid, N.Y.; North Conway, N.H.; and Stowe, Vt.
 
Those living in the Midwest can find a variety of Winter sports resorts as well, including Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Mich.; Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior in Lutsen, Minn.; Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich.; and Granite Peak in Wausau, Wisc.
 
Ski-lovers will find a plethora of trails to suit their needs at nearly any winter sports resort. For example, Boyne Highlands has 55 trails on 435 skiable acres, which makes it the largest ski area in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. You even find a resort —like Boyne — with a variety of room styles, from hotel rooms to condos and cottages.
 
Erin Ernst, director of communications for Boyne, suggests that resort-goers consider their skill level when choosing a resort. If you are new to skiing, for example, you should see if the resort offers lessons or free hills to beginners.
 
“There are many factors to explore when considering a winter resort for vacationing,” Ernst said. “Lodging options, resort offerings and variety of winter sports should all be taken into consideration.”
 
Looking to branch out for your winter sports vacation? You aren’t limited to skiing! You can find resorts that offer almost any winter activity you desire. Cassetina said resorts are branching out in their offering to accommodate sports such as horseback riding, dogsledding, snowshoe hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
 
Heading out into the snow is fun—but it can be dangerous and downright unpleasant if you aren’t prepared with the correct gear. The National Ski Patrol says that having the proper clothing is a key to safety and enjoyment when participating in outdoor winter activities.
 
The right equipment means not only having the right skis, skates or sled. It also means having the proper clothing to stay both warm and dry. The National Ski Patrol says that the key to dressing for the cold is in the layering. The organization suggests lightweight layers. You should have an inner moisture-wicking layer, a middle insulating later and an outer shell layer.
 
Check the weather forecast to be sure you are dressing appropriately. Also consider your exertion level. Are you going on a horse ride, which requires very little exertion, or cross-country skiing, where you will be exerting a high amount of effort? Layering allows you to shed and add clothing as it is necessary, but you should always be prepared for the worst.
 
If you are searching for a resort, the best way to find the one you want is to use a service such as TripAdvisor to look at reviews and photos from real travelers, Cassetina said.
 
“When searching for a resort, travelers can use the filters on TripAdvisor to sort by price, traveler rating, distance and more,” Cassetina said. “They can also select from additional categories such as ‘family,’ ‘romance,’ ‘ski-in/ski-out’ and more to identify resorts that will fit their travel type.”
 
Don’t take the chilly season off from being active. Get all the cold-weather gear you need at your local Dunham’s, and head out into the snow!
 
-Ski Bum
 
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Dr. Dunham’s Cabin Fever Cure

 
“I’ve got cabin fever, it’s burning in my brain. I’ve got cabin fever, it’s driving me insane,” sang the Muppets in their 1996 blockbuster, “Muppet Treasure Island.”
 
Well, in truth the movie may not have achieved blockbuster status, but most of us won’t soon forget the “Cabin Fever” song. Perhaps because it hits close to home.
 
Cabin fever has been recognized as a very real affliction for almost 100 years. It results from being confined to one place for an extended period of time. It’s exacerbated by inactivity. The usual result is extreme irritability and feelings of anxiety. It often strikes in winter when many of us shun the cold and curl up on the couch for the duration.
 
The most obvious cure is getting outside and interacting with the rest of the world. For those of us whose favorite activities include things like gardening, swimming or hanging out at the beach, the winter world may seem foreign and forbidding. But winter sports can be invigorating and entertaining. And there’s no better cure for the ills of cabin fever than the crisp air of a January day.
 
Did we hear someone say it’s too cold to play outside? Well, that’s only true if you’re not dressed for outdoors. Today’s winter clothing is light yet warm, so there’s no need to fear the frigid air, and bundling up need not cramp your style.
 
Winter Games, Out and In
 
Once you’re dressed for the occasion, the possibilities for winter entertainment are almost unlimited. Those who appreciate a good workout might try cross-country skiing or snowshoe hiking. Snowboarding and downhill skiing can provide a good amount of exercise as well, and few thrills compare to that of racing down the side of a ski slope at speed.
 
Ice-skating and sledding are a bit less taxing than skiing but can be just as much fun, particularly for the younger set. Most towns have a good sledding hill or two, and winter afternoons will likely find a happy group of kids enjoying the ride downhill. Ditto ice skating rinks or frozen ponds. You can find them everywhere, and there’s always something special about tracing lines on the ice as gentle flakes fall from a moonlit sky.
 
Of course you can invent your own winter games. When I was a kid, a zillion years ago, we would play football in the snow – on our knees. That required only a small parcel of land, which was all that was available in the urban area where I was raised. But while the playing field was small, the games were big.
 
For those who hanker to get out and do something but would prefer to minimize the strenuous part, there’s always ice fishing.If you’d prefer to fish on open water, some fast-moving streams in Colorado, like the South Platte River, offer winter fly-fishing.
 
On days when it’s just too cold to go out, try changing your indoor routine to relieve symptoms of cabin fever. Table tennis, a popular indoor sport, is a great way to stay active. There’s also billiards, air-hockey and Wii games that are played in front of the television. Some games, like Wii Grand Slam Tennis, mimic outdoor summer sports and can provide a pretty good workout. Or for a top-notch workout do some cardio and resistance training to get ready for swimsuit season.
 
Getting Away From It All
 
If you really have to get out of town to cure that cabin fever, then get out of town. There’s a winter resort in the U.S.A. for any winter sport you can think of, and accommodations range in price from very affordable to lavish and expensive.
 
Looking for something novel? Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado offers ski biking. Another Colorado attraction, Ouray Ice Park, offers ice climbing in the Uncompahgre Gorge. In Alaska you can try dogsledding. Skijoring, which is popular in Minnesota, is a melding of dog sledding and skiing.
 
What’s that you say? You want to get away from the cold? Then head south or west to Florida, Arizona or California. Caribbean and Mexican vacations can be very affordable. There’s always somewhere where one can find a bit of summer in the throes of winter.
 
A Cure That’s Sure To Work
 
But you don’t have to leave home to defeat the winter doldrums. Why not organize a winter Olympics for the neighborhood? And your event doesn’t have to focus on winter sports. Playing softball in the snow is a hoot, as is Frisbee golf. Picnic games like a three-legged race are even more fun in the snow.
 
Plan a post-Olympics tailgate with plenty of hot chocolate, some hot dogs or pizza, a blazing fire pit and some marshmallows to roast.
 
That’s a sure cure for even the worst case of cabin fever.
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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Getting the Gang Together

While many activities can appeal to the entire family, some are just naturals. They’re the kind of things you probably wouldn’t want to do alone, activities that have broad appeal and benefit from interaction. From among the many that fit into this category, we’ve decided to take a look at some of today’s family favorites: sledding, snowboarding, table games, and camping. 
 
Down We Go!
 
Hills were probably created with family fun in mind. That’s especially true of hills covered with snow — hills that are perfect for sledding and snowboarding.
 
My granddaughter and I spend a lot of time sledding in the winter. There’s a good-sized hill at our local park, and the city fathers thoughtfully place some hay bales in strategic locations to prevent sledding tykes from going off course and running into immovable objects or the frozen river. Right after a snowfall, the soft snow makes for leisurely trips downhill, but after several hundred kids have taken a turn on the hill, it becomes slick and fast. That’s how my granddaughter prefers it. She speeds downhill on her wooden sled at considerable speed and frequently comes to a stop only when she bumps up against the hay bales a few hundred yards away. Great fun.
 
While our sled is an old-fashioned wooden-runner type, we see all manner of sleds on the hill, ranging from plastic saucers to foam platform types with a channeled underside meant to optimize speed. We see wooden toboggans, inflatable sleds, and steerable sleds and plastic snowboards like Dunham’s hot seller the Big Fraction.
 
You can also see a wide variety of sleds at Dunham’s, and a sales representative will be happy to help you choose a sled that’s just right for you and your children.
 
For those who prefer a bit more adventure with their downhill dash, there’s snowboarding. A first cousin to skiing, snowboarding rivals its older relative in popularity in some parts of the country. Like skiing, it takes a bit of practice.
 
First time snowboarders should be prepared to face a challenge and a fairly steep learning curve. But once you get the hang of it, it’s exhilarating. If you’re already a skier, you’ll find that snowboarding requires a different set of skills because the dynamics of control are not the same.
 
Snowboards come in a variety of types, but the most common is the all-mountain board, which can be used on just about any kind of terrain — be it that hill at the park or a ski resort high in the Rockies. When choosing a snowboard, it’s important to match the size of the board to the size of the rider. In addition to a board, you’ll also need boots designed for snowboarding and bindings.
 
Among the most popular snowboards available at Dunham’s are the M3 Discord and the Avalanche Source. These affordable boards are engineered to shorten that learning curve. Your Dunham’s sales representative can help you choose a correctly sized board, binding, boot and other necessary gear for you and every member of your family. 
 
Together at the Table
 
No, not the dinner table, the game table. While it’s great to play outdoors, we all like to spend time at home as well. And what better way for a family to spend time together than playing some table games.
 
Pool or pocket billiards is the classic table game. Easy to learn and simple enough for children, pool is a perfect family game. Because players aren’t parked in a chair, pool is a great activity for active kids and adults. Table tennis or ping-pong is another great table game that adds an active element to home entertainment. Fortunately, you don’t need a massive game room to accommodate both a pool table and ping-pong table, because one table can do it all. Very popular at Dunham’s is the Medal Sports Legend Billiard Table with a removable table-tennis top. It’s twice as much fun, because it’s two games in one.
 
Also from Medal Sports is the Air Master Hockey Game with table-tennis top. Again, it returns double the dividends in family fun.
 
For those who really want to focus on their table tennis, there’s the Sportcraft ESPN Super Shot Tennis Table. With an electric scorekeeper, this table sets new benchmarks for ping pong.
 
Speaking of benchmarks, check out the Medal Sports Ultimate 4000 4-in-1 game table. With a flip-top table and accessories, it can be configured for pool, air hockey, table tennis or finger-flick football — a menu of games that can keep the family entertained for hours. See it today at Dunham’s. 
 
Smores and More
 
What better way to bring the family together than around the campfire, making smores and telling tall tales? Camping is a classic family activity, one that can be enjoyed almost anywhere at any time.
 
All you need is gear, and Dunham’s has that covered. Among the goodies you’ll find at Dunham’s are the portable buddy heaters that can provide heat inside a tent, at your picnic site, or even in your ice-fishing shelter; zero gravity chairs that offer the ultimate in relaxation; sleeping bags to fit every camper and budget; air beds that promise a good night’s sleep; and much more.
 
Oh, and one more thing: How about a metal detector for mom or dad? It’s not a camping necessity, but it can help the grown ups pass some time at the beach or campsite while the kids are playing. And who knows? They may just find some buried treasure.
 
-Your Friends at Dunham’s
 
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Jargon Jumping

Are you in-the-know when it comes to ski and snowboard jargon? Take this quiz to find out if you’re Black Diamond or podium worthy.

1. Air  

2. Bale  

3. Betty

4. Black Diamond

5. Carving

6. Egg

7. Fakie

8. Freestyle

9. Half-Pipe

10. Moguls

11. Nose-Grab

12. Piste

13. Pow pow 

14. Wedging

15. Switch

16. Ollie

17. Yard Sale

A. Using the edges of a ski or snowboard to make a turn

B. A U-shaped structure used to perform snowboard tricks

C. Grabbing the front of a snowboard during a jump

D. A female snowboard rider

E. A type of riding that involves doing tricks and jumps

F. Ski areas smoothed by Piste Basher or RatTrac machines

G. Jumping, as in the air under a snowboard

H. Freshly-fallen, undisturbed snow

I. Moving slowly and carefully down a hill to inspect moguls

J. Riding a snowboard backwards

K. Another word for “bumps” or mounds of snow

L. To pull out of a snowboard maneuver

M. A gondola lift, also called a “bubble” or “cabin”

N. A challenging ski trail or slope, usually reserved for experts only

O. The act of lifting the nose and tail of the board at the same time

P. To ride with the tail of your board in front

Q. Falling so hard your gloves, helmet, goggles, etc. go everywhere!

1. G    2. L    3. D    4. N    5. A    6. M    7. J    8. E    9. B    10. K    11. C    12. F    13. H    14. I   15. P   16. O   17. Q

-Ski Bum

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