Each winter an estimated 60 to 100 million people around the World enjoy skiing and snowboarding, and more people choose to ski and snowboard in Colorado than anywhere else in the United States. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, called Colorado the Switzerland of America.
Indeed, what the President recognized more than 100 years ago, is that Colorado offers the perfect landscape for outdoor winter enthusiasts. Here are five top reasons to embrace ole Jack Frost this winter and enjoy Colorado Ski Countrys astounding snow-covered playground by learning to ski or snowboard.
Stay Healthy with an Active Outdoor Winter Lifestyle
Winter weight gain is a well-documented phenomenon, and studies suggest that on average we gain as much as five pounds during the winter months. Of course the most obvious culprit of the added pounds is the slew of indulgences that were presented with during the holidays.
Yet studies also show that because of shorter days and longer nights, we get less exposure to Vitamin D. In extreme cases, this can cause us to become more lethargic, crave sweets and starchy comfort foods, and even lead to depression. Its also a natural tendency to become less active when the thermometer readings begin to drop.
Nevertheless, we dont have to passively succumb to the effects of winter weight gain. By remaining active in the winter months, we can stay fit and lead a healthy outdoor lifestyle all year round. In fact, skiing burns considerable calories. According to Harvard Medical School, a person who weighs 155 pounds burns 223 calories in half an hour of downhill skiing. Someone who weighs 185 pounds burns 266 calories while skiing in the same amount of time.
Downhill skiing incorporates both aerobic and anaerobic activity, according to published research in the journal Sports Medicine. Skiing not only burns many calories, it also improves strength, flexibility, balance, endurance and agility. When you learn to ski and snowboard, you can indulge on Holiday treats and still maintain your overall physique and healthy lifestyle.
Fun the Whole Family Can Enjoy Together
Skiing and snowboarding are activities that the entire family can enjoy. In fact, it has increasingly become a three-generation sport, as the large Baby Boom generation continues to hit the slopes while their children and grandchildren also take up skiing and snowboarding.
Have you ever tried to play soccer with grandpa and grandma? How about taking them to the skate park? Skiing and snowboarding are unique in that you can enjoy a great day on the mountain together as a family and return home with shared memories to treasure for a lifetime.
A Character Building Exercise
Ask any passionate skier or snowboarder and they will tell you that learning to slide on snow is a character-building endeavor. The people that first invented the sport are known to have had a certain level of brassiness, and that quality continues today. When the temperature is freezing and snow is piling up, skiing and snowboarding can help instill familiar adages such as mind over matter or hard work pays off or nothing worth doing ever comes easily.
Another fitting term is the Yiddish word chutzpah, which Merriam-Webster defines as personal confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others. Learning to ski or snowboard is more difficult than staying inside and playing a video game, but the rewards of sliding on snow far eclipse passive activities, just ask the 60 to 100 million skiers and snowboarders who hit the slopes each winter.
A Gravity-Powered Sport Like No Other
Its difficult to near impossible to find a suitable comparison to skiing and snowboarding. Surfing, water skiing, and skateboarding come close, but with each you are either bound to the wave, or the tow rope, or the skate park. With skiing and snowboarding you are free to roam wherever the slopes and your ability may take you.
Its true that there are inherent risks to skiing and snowboarding, and you can pay the price for being inattentive or skiing or snowboarding down a run that is beyond your ability level. These risks are greatly reduced by taking lessons from professional instructors employed by the ski areas. Your lesson will include important tips for enjoying a safe day on the slopes while you tap into an incomparable sense of freedom of sliding on snow.
Few sporting venues are as beautiful as the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the winter time. Gymnasiums, hockey arenas, swimming pools, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds are incredibly bland and boring in comparison. The breathtaking venues of Colorado Ski Country cannot be compared, but dont take our word for it, heres what President Roosevelt said in an address he delivered on May 8, 1905, in Canyon City, Colorado:
It is a great pleasure to greet you here. I cannot say how glad I am to see you all, men and women of Coloradoand say how pleased I am to go through your state and see its resources, not only in your mines, your fruit, all its products, but I want to say you have got a wonderful asset in your scenery, in the natural beauties of this state.
Passing through your wonderful mountains and canyons, I realize more and more that this is the playground for the entire republic. Not only have you serious work to do, but you will have to provide for a little of the rest of us from the East and West who will come here to see your magnificent landscapes, to enjoy holidays that can be fully enjoyed among your mountains.
I have been more and more impressed with that as I have been through your state, and you will see this, the real Switzerland of America, made as much a holiday place as Switzerland is in Europe.
Roosevelt was chums with fellow naturalist John Muir. So if the Presidents words arent enough, heres what Muir says of enjoying an active lifestyle in the mountains.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
We simply cannot state it any better. Make this the winter that you and your family learn to ski and snowboard.