Outdoor Winter Activities

Who says winter is for hibernating? Sure, it’s cold but this is Chicago and this is how we roll, and we all know cold weather builds character. From tubing to dog-sledding, from your neighborhood ice rink to the mountains of Michigan, here are a few ideas to get you out and about this winter.

Outdoor ice skating rinks around the Chicago area

Sledding is fun and all, but living in the flattest swath of thecountry means a lot of dragging kids around, and, well, our legsget tired fast. Try this ideas instead for a romp in the snow thatwon’t have you reaching for the ibuprofen.

5 things to do outside this winter that aren’t sledding

Sledding is fun and all, but living in the flattest swath of the country means a lot of dragging kids around, and, well, our legs get tired fast. So try these non-sledding ideas for a romp in the snow.

Best outdoor events in Chicago this winter

Snowmen and snow angels are plenty of fun, but nothing lets yourkids rule the block like a snow castle. We’ve got four pieces ofarchitectural advice to get you on your way.

How to build a snow castle

Architectural advice: Start by placing larger snow blocksat the bottom, making them smaller as you build. This makes thetowers sturdy and helps prevent your castle from collapsing. Ifyou’re a more advanced builder, you can experiment with placinglarger shapes on top of smaller ones to createoverhangs.

  • Pick a flat piece of land where you want tosituate your castle. Use three different sizes of molds. Thebiggest should be a plastic storage box of about 5 gallons, themiddle one a 2.5-gallon bucket, and the smallest a plasticsnow-brick maker (you could use an empty ice cream tub).
  • Use a shovel to fill the molds with snow,compress the snow tightly, then turn out the blocks. Repeat theprocess to make several blocks. To build the main tower, stack snowblocks of different shapes on top of one another: for instance,three large blocks made in the large bucket, and then a block madefrom the mid-size bucket on top.
  • Build many smaller towers in a circle around themain structure by stacking snow blocks of various sizes and shapesto the height you want. Make the towers gradually smaller as youmove away from the main tower.
  • Smooth out the towers with your hands. Use ahand shovel to carve details such as spires and parapets in thetower tops. Make little snowballs and place them as decorations onthe towers.

Family ski deals make a winter trip affordable

Taking a family to the slopes can be a pricey endeavor. We’verounded up some of the best deals from around the country,including stops in California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico,Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Idaho.

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