The weather isn’t letting us forget that it is the holiday season. I’ve never been a fan of winter. I was born in and lived in Southern California until middle school and use that as my excuse. I have recently come to acknowledge that if I ever moved south again, I would miss the snowy winters and all of the fun things to do that surround it. For example, our area has a plethora of family winter activities such as sledding, ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
One of the most popular things for families to do, after any significant snowfall, is sledding at Krape Park. The hill is just steep enough in areas to pacify thrill-seeking older children but shallow enough for the elementary ages as well. The Freeport Park District sets up safety pads around the base of nearby trees. There is a sledding hotline to check on sledding conditions at 815-235-6114, Ext. 8. Anyone who participates is required to follow posted rules.
Something my family hasn’t tried, but wants to, is ice-skating. Several area towns offer it, like the Pearl City Park District. They turn their ball diamond, on the west edge of town, into a smooth ice rink for all ages. There is also an ice rink at Reed Park in Freeport. Future Ekaterina Gordeevas and Brian Boitanos will need to bring their own ice skates to either place and follow the posted rules there, too.
If scenery is more what you’re looking for this winter, and want to get a great workout at the same time, then cross-country skiing is a perfect option. Oakdale Nature Preserve nearby is a beautiful spot for the activity as well as the Jane Addams Trail. When there is 4 inches or more on the trail, it is open to snowmobilers as well.
Snowmobiling in our area is a serious sport. The Cedarville Snow Travelers is a club that maintains trails through county, private and town land. They follow a strict code of ethics and do a great job keeping snowmobile lovers informed and safe. You can visit their website for more information at cedarvillesnowtravelers.com.
If you don’t have equipment to enjoy winter activities, don’t worry! Some park districts offer rentals for things like skis and snowshoes. Reach out to them directly to learn more.
We really are lucky when it comes to family winter snow activities, so I’ll keep my complaining about the cold to a minimum from now on.
Danielle Rogers is a community volunteer and can be reached at email@example.com.