Monday, January 7, 2008

Learn to Ski or Snowshoe for Free on Sat., Jan. 12

Ski resorts in 24 states are offering free on-the-snow activities this Saturday, January 12th. It's the 13th annual Winter Trails Day, to promote outdoor exercise during the winter.

More than 100 ski resorts and locations are offering learning opportunities for cross country skiing or snowshoeing on Winter Trails Day, including in National and state parks and on U.S. Forest Service lands.

Getting outdoors and burning off some unwanted calories is a top priority for many of us after too many eggnogs over the holidays, and these two easy-to-learn sports can burn 45 percent more calories per hour than walking or running at the same speed.

Winter Trails is part of Winter Feels Good, a national initiative to promote the health and fitness benefits of snow sports.

It's not just cross-country and snowshoe -- there are lots of opportunities, as well, for free or low-cost lessons in downhill skiing and snowboarding.

Resorts that are members of Ski Utah, Vermont Ski Areas Association, Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association, Colorado Ski Country USA, New Hampshire Ski Areas Association and others, are offering special equipment and lesson packages to encourage newcomers to try skiing or snowboarding.

So if you are a downhill demon -- and I admit that I am -- this is an ideal day to encourage your significant other or favorite aunt or uncle to join you on the slopes.

Let's give credit to some of the sponsors of Winter Trails Day -- it's a long list that includes --

Cross Country Ski Areas Association and American Hiking Society; equipment manufacturers Alpina, Atlas Snow-Shoes, Atomic, Exel, Fischer, Rossignol, Salomon, Tubbs and Karhu. And outdoor clothing manufacturers Columbia, Turtle Fur and Sorel.

See you on the snow on Jan. 12th?