It’s the holiday season, not really the best time to travel: the shopping, the tree, the merrymaking with friends and family. I get it. But that doesn’t mean I agree with the stay-at-home mentality. Sure two weeks in Samoa might be overkill, but what about an active weekend get-away with the girls? Friday night to Sunday afternoon—I’m talking 40 out of the 700,000 hours you’re going to live (hopefully), just .005% of your total existence. Surely you can spare it.
And if you can’t, well, consider this: a recent study demonstrated that exercise was just as effective in combating major depression as taking an anti-depressant. Even more compelling, a follow-up study proved that exercise not only nipped depression in the bud, but also kept it from ever coming back. So don’t tell me you’re too busy decking the halls and making Toys-R-Us runs to come play in the mountains this month . . . it will actually make you a jollier person, now, and in the future.
In that sprit, I headed to Breckenridge last weekend, a ski town less than two hours from my home in Boulder. Eleven other gals make the same decision. Most drove from other places in Colorado, a few flew from places like Washington and Nevada. We shared a big house in town, and spent our days on the mountain and our evenings in the hot tub, drinking wine, and cooking fabulous dinners (okay, so one night we ordered pizza . . . but we made the salad).
And we had a goal: Learn how to randonee ski, also called ski mountaineering.
We were all either learning, or supporting others in the group learning. Take it from me, as one of the learners, nothing takes your mind off the stress of the holiday season like trying to ski UP a mountain. I could barely breathe, let alone obsess over who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. On Sunday, when we all parted ways, there was not one gal who regretted taking those 40 hours away, to experience a new outdoor activity, and a different side of winter.
Feeling inspired? Here’s my checklist for your own DIY winter getaway:
- Recruit a group of fun and adventurous women
- Pick a new outdoor winter activity that a few of the gals already do and are up for teaching the rest of the group: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, winter camping.
- Pick a location. Something close to home is easiest to coordinate. And somebody’s kid-free house helps keep costs down.
- Talk to local gear outfitters in your area, see if any of them are up for providing demo gear for the day for free, or at a discounted price.
- Stock up on red wine and gelato.
- Bring cameras and post everything (okay, not everything) on Facebook. You may just inspire a ripple effect of winter girl’s weekend getaways.
Jayme Otto is a travel blogger and contributing editor for Women’s Adventure and a freelancer at large. Look for her regular blogs on www.womensadventuremedia.com.