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Winter Activities

Ready or not?

Face it, whether you are someone that loves snow or not, winter can sometimes be a little ___ (fill in the blank with your adjective of choice: long, cold, wearing, dismal). 

Insider’s tip to surviving winter

I will admit that my relationship with winter has been a little rocky over the years. For the most part, I relish in the fun of winter and find that I’m actually a little sad to see the first signs of spring. However, during other years, I’ve been cranky and irritable from the first snowflake to the last (and trust me, there are a lot). The contributing factor for where I fall within this love/hate relationship simply comes from whether I’ve chosen to hunker down and hide, or decided to jump in and enjoy every ounce of snow. 

So here is my advice to those who may not be excited about winter: Embrace it! Take advantage of it! But most of all, get out there and try something new!

6 budget-friendly activities to try this winter

When thinking of new activities to recommend trying this winter, I started with a very long list of possibilities. From there I decided it was important to narrow it down to six activities that can get you out fast and easy, and most importantly without breaking the bank. But this comes with a warning — these are activities you can try without purchasing a ton of gear up front, but I can't guarantee that you won't get hooked and take the plunge into purchasing some new gear in the coming months.

1. Sledding — or is it sliding?

Let's start with sledding, because really, can you think of a more iconic winter activity than that? In our house, we debate long and hard over whether it is "sledding" or "sliding" and we each have our own reason for whichever term we use. The one thing we all agree on is it can be a whole lot of fun.

Odds are, unless you have young children, you probably have not hit a hill in quite some time! When you are in Tupper Lake this winter, make sure to check out the groomed sledding hill at the Tupper Lake Golf Course and relive what was most likely one of your favorite childhood memories. Trust me, by the time you finish your first run you will be asking yourself why it's been so many years. To find the sledding hill, simply follow the herd paths straight from the parking lot the short distance to the 10th fairway.

Insider's tip: Ever try green sledding? No need to go out and purchase a fancy or expensive sled. Try repurposing items such as a cardboard shipping box, an old broken hamper, or a cookie sheet. Trust me, finding or building the sled can be just as much fun as the ride itself.

2. Ice skating

Learning to skate on the outdoor rink at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park.
Learning to skate on the outdoor rink at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park.

Prefer staying on your feet? Skating might be the childhood activity you need to resurrect. Between public skating at the Tupper Lake Memorial Civic Center, and outdoor rinks at Tupper Lake Municipal Park and the Piercefield baseball field, there is plenty of free ice to dig your blades into. So pull the old skates out of the attic and come visit!

Insider's tip: Unfortunately, at this time, there are no rental skates available in Tupper Lake. However, used skates for the occasional skater are very easy to find at affordable prices online or at your local used sporting goods store.

3. Snowshoeing

Love hiking? Ever tried it in the winter? Whether it is a leisurely stroll along groomed trails, a backcountry jaunt, or a mountain climb that you crave, snowshoeing is a great alternative during the winter months. From the free and snowshoe-friendly Groomed XC Ski Center to forgiving small peaks of the Tupper Lake Triad — Arab, Coney, and Goodman mountains — Tupper Lake is a great place to give snowshoeing a try.

Insider's tip: Did you know that along with your admission pass to The Wild Center, you can explore their nature trails using their complimentary snowshoes? Seriously, can you think of a better and more affordable way to try out a new winter sport? It's also good to know that if you visit The Wild Center for two consecutive days, the second day is free. 

4. Stargazing

Stargaze at Adirondack Public Observatory.
Stargaze at Adirondack Public Observatory.

If you find yourself looking up to admire the stars, then Tupper Lake has the kind of dark skies you'll love. The Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory is an ever-growing, state-of-the-art facility that's perfect for satisfying your stargazing itch.

Situated on the dark hillside adjacent to the Little Wolf Beach & Campground, the observatory's 3,000 pound roof rolls away, exposing the nighttime sky in all its glory. Within the APO’s walls, four mounted telescopes, including the award-winning, beautifully restored 1925 Everest “Old Town Pump” Telescope, are waiting to help you gaze at all of the wonderful sights above. Accompanying the mounted scopes are a variety of smaller telescopes, astronomy accessories, and equipment for astrophotography.

Insider's tip: You can stargaze at the Adirondack Public Observatory's roll-off roof observatory for free the first and third Friday of every month.

5. Ice fishing

Setting up during the Norther Challenge Ice Fishing Derby.
Setting up during the Norther Challenge Ice Fishing Derby.

Love warm weather fishing? Ever wonder what it is like during hard water season? Then it's time to try ice fishing!

To anglers, Tupper Lake is a Mecca of Adirondack ice fishing. Between Raquette, Simon, and Horseshoe ponds you are sitting on top of prime walleye, perch, and northern pike territory. Yes, ice fishing can get a little pricey if you start thinking powered auger, ice shanty, etc. But if you are just going out to try it, it really doesn't need to be. One of the best ways to try ice fishing for the first time is to find a friend who likes to ice fish and see if you can tag along. Believe it or not, most anglers love any excuse to get out on the ice and enjoy a little company. If that doesn't work, some of the lodging in Tupper Lake has equipment you can rent, or you can purchase an affordable hand auger. 

Insider's tip: The annual Northern Challenge Ice Fishing Derby on Simon Pond is an awesome time to get out and try ice fishing. Yes, I know what you're thinking... I've never ice fished in my life and now you want me to enter a derby? No, I'm not crazy, this is seriously a great time to learn the sport, and whether you walk away having caught a fish or not, you will (a.) have the chance to win some stellar door prizes, (b.) probably learn a thing or two about ice fishing, and (c.) create lasting memories.

6. Cross-country skiing

It's fun, it's easy, and once you have the gear, it's free! There are a lot of places to cross-country ski in Tupper Lake, but the best place to start is the Groomed XC Ski Center, located at the Tupper Lake Golf Course. Your entire family, including the dog, will love the rolling hills, wooded paths, and mountain views here!

Insider's tip: Try the Cranberry Pond Loop. It leads you to amazing views of Big Tupper! 

Come play with us!

So there you have it, a quick and fun bucket list of activities to try out this winter. Remember, winter can be a lot of things. Don't let it get the best of you! Book a getaway to Tupper Lake where you can explore and experience some of the different outdoor opportunities that winter brings. Then after a day of fun on the snow and ice, enjoy a great meal followed by a night on the town before you turn into your cozy Adirondack lodging. 

Still want more? 

Check out this list!