Winter Catalog from The Vermont Country StoreFor many, winter is long and dreary. In fact, every year people pray the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow just so the season will be six weeks shorter. However, despite the groundhog, winters here in Vermont last no less than 6 months. Therefore, instead of counting down the days until spring, we embrace winter and head outdoors for some cold weather fun.

What is there to do?

Sure, there’s the usual snowboarding and skiing, but they aren’t for everyone. So that means getting creative and pushing the envelope in search of other ways to have a good time. And while these activities may seem a little peculiar, they are every bit as exhilarating and enjoyable as any winter sport. Take shovel racing for instance. All you need is an ordinary metal scoop shovel. Just sit on the spade with your feet facing forward, grab hold of the handle, and zoom down the hill. You’ll be amazed at how fast you go once the snow is packed down in an icy track.

Vermont Country Store team at the Penguin PlungeCold weather fun that gives back…

Another way we fend off the onset of cabin fever is by taking the Penguin Plunge. It’s an annual charity event for the Special Olympics where participants raise funds by jumping into an arctic cold lake wearing nothing more than a swimsuit and a brave face. Some prefer to ease into the water while others dive right in. Either way…pass the hot chocolate…brrr!

New and old outdoor adventures…

Up next is skijoring. Think cross-country skiing with a team of one to three dogs attached to your waist with a harness. The dogs effortlessly pull you along as you glide over frozen lakes or through wooded trails for a refreshing afternoon in nature. Can you say “Mush?” Finally, for those looking for something a little tamer, there’s ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and winter carnivals galore.

As you can see, winter doesn’t have to be dreary. All it takes is a little creativity and determination to turn an otherwise challenging season into one filled with joy and excitement. So, what are you waiting for? Head outdoors and join in the fun!

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Gardner Orton for The Orton Family