Bring It, Old Man Winter
Wintertime Activities in ClevelandBy: Lexi Hotchkiss, www.LexiHotchkiss.com
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 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.
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.
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...
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.
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 feed...in 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.
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.
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.]