Activities that Beat the Winter Blues
If your idea of a winter escape includes white sand instead of white snow, don’t let the cooler temps intimidate you. Sure, heading south this time of year is all fine and good, but you miss out on a pretty spectacular winter wonderland packed with some of the season’s most exciting, adrenaline-inducing activities. To help you break out of that wintertime rut, Opal offers a collection-wide Cabin Fever Cure package, where guests can save up to 20 percent on stays at participating resorts, including breakfast for two for the duration of the stay. Yes, the offer is also available at Opal’s Florida-based properties, but for those looking to brave the temps up here in the north, we’ve got seven active ways to warm your blood during a visit to Lake Placid Lodge, The Sagamore Resort, and Samoset Resort.
Take a Fat Bike Tour [Lake Placid, NY]
You may have noticed this peculiar bike niche gaining significant traction (pun intended) in the last few years. Fat bikes – with tires more than twice the width of normal mountain bike tires and a bigger frame – float on surfaces, like snow, where normal tires would sink. The result? Riders being able to venture out into a winter wonderland at full speed. Downtown Lake Placid–based High Peaks Cyclery offers three-hour tours for visitors looking to try this up-and-coming sport on the trails of Mt. Van Hoevenberg (which happens to be less than a mile from the store), complete with bike rental, helmet, hot cocoa, and snacks.
Tube Your Heart Out [Queensbury, NY]
Located roughly 10 miles south of Lake George, the little town bump of West Mountain is home to the best tubing experience in the region. Ten undulating lanes are serviced exclusively by its own magic carpet, so you don’t have to hoof it back up the hill after each run. For an even bigger thrill, try their night tubing and schuss under the stars.
Try Tobogganing [Camden, ME]
The Camden Snow Bowl is a community-owned ski area in Camden, Maine, offering 23 trails and breathtaking views of the ocean. But one of its most unique features is its wooden Toboggan Chute, the country’s first and only, open on winter weekends and school vacation weeks. For $5 per person per hour, the Camden Snow Bowl provides the toboggans – custom made locally by the Camden Toboggan Company – but you’ll need to supply the guts to go barreling down the 440-foot-long chute that ends with a slide across frozen Hosmer Pond.
Snowmobile to a Local Mountain Summit [Lake Luzerne, NY]
Located just five miles from Lake George, Lake Vanare Snowmobile Tours offers one-hour guided rides on the property’s own snow-crested trails and two-hour rides to the top of Prospect Mountain. Those looking for a more memorable experience should opt for the two-hour tour, which winds five miles through forest to the 2,000-foot summit. Three overlooks along the way give sneak peeks to views of Vermont’s Green Mountains, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and New York’s High Peaks, while the views at the top reach as far as 100 miles on a clear day.
Snowshoe Mount Battie [Camden, ME]
The 800-foot Mount Battie, which rises above the harbor town of Camden, is Camden Hills State Park’s most popular summit. Rent snowshoes from Maine Sport Outfitters and make your way up the 1.5-mile Mount Battie Trail, traveling the south-facing side of the mountain. At the top, you’ll be greeted by a picturesque stone tower (an old World War I memorial) and unparalleled panoramic views of Camden and seemingly countless Penobscot Bay islands.
Find Your Frozen Pitch [Keene, NY]
Ice climbing in the Adirondacks kicks into high gear from mid-December through mid-March, and some of the most accessible routes are found 20 minutes from Lake Placid at Pitchoff Mountain. Secure a guide through Eastern Mountain Sports’ Lake Placid Climbing School, park off Route 73, and take your pick of the single-pitch grade II and III ascents, like Bowser and Boozer, sprouting from the mountain’s ice-caked south face. As you swing your ax to climb as high as 60 feet, listen for the wind howling across Upper Cascade Lake, and gaze out at the snow-plastered, 4,098-foot peak of Cascade Mountain.
Luge Like the Best of Them [Lake Placid, NY]
Olympic mystique persists in the Adirondacks, thanks to Lake Placid hosting the games in 1932 and 1980. One unique Olympic experience that guests can try themselves today is bobsledding at Whiteface Mountain. The half-mile track takes up to three visitors on a ride that reaches 55 miles per hour. Don’t worry – there are experienced crewmembers (a driver and a brakeman) in the bobsled with you.