Left out of the ski & ride crowd? Five ways to stay active during winter

By Melanie Roberge

Staff Writer

Stuck in a snow rut? Not sure you’re a winter person? As the snow creeps in it’s easy to lock yourself inside to escape the cold. But even if you don’t know how to ski or snowboard, there are plenty of fun, outdoor activities to stay physically and mentally healthy during these colder months. Here are five ways you can get outdoors and moving this winter season.

“We do ice climbing, mountaineering, and snowshoe trips for the spring season,” said Adventure Sports Center student-instructor Stephen Higgins ‘20, emphasizing that you don’t have to have any experience to go on these trips. “You come in, you pay anywhere between 5 and 15 bucks depending on which trip you go on and that gets you all the gear.” 

“If you can walk, you can snowshoe,” said Eben Widlund, the assistant director of the Adventure Sports Center. “Ice climbing and mountaineering are a little more technical but not any more physically challenging.”

The Adventure Sports Center has a variety of equipment for every outing, always included in the single outing fee. “If people are interested in getting out on their own, most of the equipment you would need to go out snowshoeing is available for rental,” Widlund said.

Demery Coppola ’21 repels down a steep slope in Smuggler’s Notch last March. Mountaineering trips with the Adventure Sports Center are only $15 and provide all technical gear necessary
(Photo by Matt Heller)

It’s really important to find something to do during the winter here if you don’t ski or snowboard. The three winters before this year have been filled with me learning how to ice climb and getting to the point where I can teach other people how to ice climb,” Higgins said. “We live in Vermont and it’s a really beautiful place.”

For only $65, students get access to Petra Cliffs Climbing Center in Burlington as well as two guest passes a month to try it with a friend during the academic year. The Learn to Ski and Ride program is an affordable option for those students who wish to join the ski and snowboard community. For only $50, this Sugarbush program includes two full-day lessons, rentals, lift tickets, and (at the end of the program) a free season pass.

Anna Tuttle ’20 climbs in Smuggler’s Notch last February. Ice climbing trips with the Adventure Sports Center are only $15 and provide all technical gear necessary
(Photo by Matt Heller)

Ice Skating: $5

Local ice arenas also offer public skating hours for a low price. The C. Douglas Cairns Recreation Arena in South Burlington and Leddy Park Arena in Burlington both offer public skating for only $5 and $3 for rentals.


For students who don’t or can’t ski or snowboard and feel trapped in snow and homework, they have to be creative when pondering activities to do outside. “I had knee surgery my Freshmen year and couldn’t snowboard for a few years,” said Kenzie Day ‘21. “Me and my friends bought really cheap sleds at Walmart and went sledding a few times at the huge hill at the Burlington Country Club. It was wicked fun.”

Indoor Sports:

SMC Intramurals plans to offer Wally Ball, Basketball, Soccer, and Floor Hockey for the upcoming Spring semester. Sign-ups begin in January. The link to sign up is on the SMC Athletics website under Intramurals. Join as an individual or with friends to make a team!