Skip to main content

Sacramento Boomer

Work It Out(side): 5 Winter Sports to Try This Season

Dec 26, 2019 04:18PM

Even if the temperature is low, you don’t have to move your workout indoors. Whether you stay in town or drive to the mountains, our area offers an array of fun winter activities that double as great workouts, from skiing and sledding to ice-skating and snowshoeing.

Jason Collin, a physical therapist at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness as well as a winter sports enthusiast, says: “Studies show that spending time outside, in nature, reduces stress levels, helps balance metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and creates a better workout.” Collin adds, “For all activities, remember that cold temperatures can cause your body to lose heat faster than your body can produce it. As you head outside, always dress properly, stay hydrated, know your surroundings, and use common sense.” Grab your skies, ice skates, or a sled, and have a (snow)ball this season!

Folsom Historic District Ice Rink


1) Ice-Skating

BENEFITS/CALORIES BURNED: Brian Jackson, owner of the Folsom Historic District Ice Rink, says you can burn 250-670 calories ice-skating for 30 minutes, though it depends on how much you weigh and how fast you’re skating. “Ice-skating is a great way to increase your cardio while having fun gliding on the ice and listening to music,” he says. “You’ll improve your balance as well, so don’t be surprised if you feel it in your thighs, lower back, and stomach muscles.”

TRY IT: Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink (7th & K Streets, 916-442-8575, godowntownsac.com/icerink); Folsom Historic District Ice Rink (200 Wool Street, Folsom, 916-936-4410, folsomicerink.com); Heavenly Village Ice Rink (1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, 530-542-4230, theshopsatheavenly.com/activities); Northstar Village Ice Skating Rink (100 Northstar Drive, Truckee, 888-367-5257, northstarcalifornia.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/village-activities); Skatetown Ice Arena (1009 Orlando Avenue, Roseville, 916-783-8550, skatetown.biz)

BEGINNER TIP: “If you’re a beginner, there are some balance techniques that can be practiced at home, such as standing on one foot while doing tasks such as preparing dinner or talking to your friends. Do this for as long as you can before switching feet and as often as you can before skating. While you might look a little silly, who will have the last laugh when skating?” Jackson says. 


2) Cross-Country Skiing

BENEFITS/CALORIES BURNED: Alpenglow Sports staffer Janice Pilkington says cross-country skiing (also known as Nordic skiing) is one of the best aerobic activities you can do. It’s an endurance sport that’s good for the heart and lungs, similar to running or cycling. It can burn 500-1,000 calories per hour, depending on whether the trail is flat or uphill.

TRY IT: Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area (925 Country Club Drive, Tahoe City, 530-583-5475, tahoexc.org); Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort (9411 Pahatsi Road, Soda Springs, 530-426-3871, royalgorge.com)

BEGINNER TIP: “Even if you’re an avid downhill skier, don’t expect to be a great cross-country skier. Soft boots and edgeless skis provide a challenge for all first-timers. When in doubt, hire an instructor,” says Sean Kristl, director of sales and marketing at Alpenglow Expeditions.

Downhill Skiing at Heavenly Mountain


3) Downhill Skiing

BENEFITS/CALORIES BURNED: Skiing improves your strength and balance, Pilkington says. “When you do longer runs without stopping, you’ll also notice that you’re a bit out of breath,” she says. “If you choose to be really adventurous and go backcountry skiing—where you put climbing skins on your skis and go uphill outside the resorts under your own power—you’ll get a great aerobic workout.” Kristl adds that downhill skiing builds leg muscles and core strength, and you can burn 300-500 calories in an hour, depending on the intensity. “Powder-skiing will burn more calories; groomed skiing will burn less,” he says.

TRY IT: Sierra-at-Tahoe (1111 Sierra-at-Tahoe Road, Twin Bridges, 530-659-7453, sierraattahoe.com); Sugar Bowl Resort (629 Sugar Bowl Road, Norden, 530-426-9000, sugarbowl.com); Northstar California (5001 Northstar Drive, Truckee, 530-562-2267, northstarcalifornia.com); Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows (1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 800-403-0206, squawalpine.com); Heavenly Mountain Resort (4080 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, 775-586-7000, skiheavenly.com); Kirkwood Mountain Resort (1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive, Kirkwood, 209-258-6000, kirkwood.com)

BEGINNER TIP: Pilkington recommends newcomers take advantage of [a resort's] packages that [typically] include lift tickets with rentals and lessons. “The resorts offer them at discounts because they want you to come back and know your experience will be better if you take a lesson and have good equipment.”

Snowshoeing


4) Snowshoeing 

BENEFITS/CALORIES BURNED: “Similar to hiking or running, snowshoeing is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. Deeper snow makes it more difficult and a harder workout, while sturdy snow underfoot makes it drastically easier,” Kristl says. Depending on pace and snow type, a snowshoer can burn between 500-1,000 calories per hour. 

TRY IT: California Sno-Parks, including Donner Summit (near Truckee off I-80), Blackwood Canyon (near Tahoe City off Highway 89), Carson Pass (off Highway 88), Echo Lake (off Highway 50), Iron Mountain (off Highway 88 near Kirkwood ski area), Lake Alpine (off Highway 4), Meiss Meadow (off Highway 88 near Carson Pass), Spicer Reservoir (off Highway 4), Taylor Creek (off Highway 89 near Fallen Leaf Lake), and Yuba Pass (off Highway 49)

BEGINNER TIP: “Hiking boots with a pair of warm wool socks work well for footwear. Snowshoes come in a variety of sizes and materials. The bigger you are, the bigger the surface area you need to keep you from sinking. Also, deeper/softer snow requires a bigger snowshoe,” Pilkington says. “Going out in deep, untracked snow is very physically demanding. Most people try to find a trail that’s been groomed at a Nordic skiing center or a packed snowmobile trail.”

sledding


5) Sledding

BENEFITS/CALORIES BURNED: “Sledding is fun,” Collin says. “It doesn’t require fancy or expensive equipment, making it more accessible and affordable. Plus, the walk up that hill each time is good for your legs and your heart.” Sledding for 30 minutes on a medium-sized hill burns about 240 calories.

TRY IT: California Sno-Parks, including Donner Summit (near Truckee off I-80), Blackwood Canyon (near Tahoe City off Highway 89), Carson Pass (off Highway 88), Echo Lake (off Highway 50), Iron Mountain (off Highway 88 near Kirkwood ski area), Lake Alpine (off Highway 4), Meiss Meadow (off Highway 88 near Carson Pass), Spicer Reservoir (off Highway 4), Taylor Creek (off Highway 89 near Fallen Leaf Lake), and Yuba Pass (off Highway 49)

BEGINNER TIP: “Sledding has risks that aren’t always obvious,” he warns. “It’s important to check out the environment before sledding, because sleds pick up speed quickly and don’t steer well. Look for any obstacles, such as trees, rocks, and people. If possible, sled at a resort where an appropriate sledding slope has been identified.”  


By Kourtney Jason