Bring It, Old Man Winter

December 11, 2014
Bring It, Old Man Winter

Wintertime Activities in Cleveland

By: Lexi Hotchkiss,

Did you know it snows an average of 56.9 inches a year in Cleveland? I know, I know. Big surprise.

But if you think the city shuts down or becomes immobile during snowfall, you'd be dead wrong.

Thanks to our snowy history, Cleveland, in fact, thrives during wintertime months. Besides the fact that the city keeps a healthy reserve of salt on hand at all times, snow boots and parkas are perfectly reasonable attire during the winter months.

So, let Cleveland rock your snow-filled world with these wintertime favorites.

Sledding & Tobogganing

Break Clark Griswold's "New Amateur Recreational Saucer-Sled Land-Speed Record" at one of more than a dozen designated sledding areas at the Cleveland Metroparks.

But, if sledding on a tiny plastic shield isn't your thing, try tobogganing. Yepirusky, my friend. This is good, ole fashioned tobogganing down a bonafide toboggan chute - well, a 700-foot tobogganing chute at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. It happens throughout the winter at the Chalet in the Cleveland Metroparks Mill Stream Run Reservation.

Snowboarding, Skiing & Tubing

Time to shred some fresh pow - or for our friends who speak English - go snowboarding on the recently snow-covered ground.

In Cleveland, the snow calls skiers to Boston Mills & Brandywine (two next-door resorts in the Akron area featuring 18 trails) and Alpine Valley Ski Resort (in the east side town of Chesterland featuring 8 trails).

All three destinations offer skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing - including lifts, rental equipment and lodges to keep warm.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a wildly popular wintertime activity here in CLE thanks to places like the Cleveland Metroparks. When there's more than four inches of solid ice, you can ice fish in eight of the park's fish-stocked waterways including Beyer's Pond, Hinckley Lake, Rocky River Lagoon, Ledges Lake, Judge's Lake, Ranger Lake, Wallace Lake and Shadow Lake.

Ice Skating

Looking to romance your sweetheart? Provide him or her that ultimate gee-golly, lovey-dovey experience of ice skating at the Rink at Wade Oval. This unique polymer-surfaced ice skating rink located in University Circle attracts tens of thousands of visitors ever year. Skate, hold hands, canoodle, share a hot chocolate and maybe even take-in a museum or two afterwards.

Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing

If you fancy yourself a bit of an outdoor enthusiast, we'd like to challenge you to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in CLE.

Get to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Winter Sports Center at the Kendall Lake Shelter and you'll be able to rent snowshoes and cross-country skis, as well as take workshops and learn about specialty trails.

The Cleveland Metroparks also offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at designated reservations and golf courses. The park conveniently offers rentals and guided snowshoe hikes.

Ice Hockey

Fair enough - you actually watch the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team compete INSIDE Quicken Loans Arena.  But, the playing field is technically icy and the games are played during the wintertime. So, yeah, it made its way onto our list.

A primary affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche in the American Hockey League (AHL), the Monsters are one of the most popular minor league hockey teams in the country. They draw everyone from night-on-the-town DINKs, to families with swaths of kids and even a couple of hockey-loving blue hairs.

Not-So-Normal Winter Activities

And, then there's the stuff you weren't expecting...

Lake Erie Surfing

While most folks would rather be running for the fireplace then taking a dip in the frigid lake, Lake Erie surfers know that winter is primetime for catching some serious wave action with the prevalence of intense winds from the region's strong winter storms. It's also becoming increasingly more popular as the lake is generally wide open in the winter, so surfers have the place to themselves - the most happening surf spot being Edgewater Park just west of downtown.

Hand Feed the Chickadees

Okay - this is bananas. You head to this little section of the Brecksville Reservation at the Cleveland Metroparks where you're provided some bird feed. You stand there in the woods, hand stretched out with bird feed and do not move whatsoever.  Within a few heart-stopping seconds, tiny birds land and begin to peck away at the bird your hand.  Yep, you're standing outside holding birds in your hands. Let that sink in for a moment. Or, check it out Dec. 20-24, 26-31, Jan. 2.

Ray's Indoor MTB Park

Open October through April, Ray's Indoor MTB Park offers MTB and MBX courses geared at all levels of difficulty. Worried you won't have a shred of dignity left after trying your hand at riding? Check out the "1st Timer Deals" or take advantage of the free intro lessons offered every Saturday morning. The helmet hair is totally worth it.

Winter Camping & Full Moon Hiking

If extreme is the name of your game, then perhaps try winter camping and full moon hikes within the perimeters of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. [No, we're not kidding.]

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