1. Geocaching: In many places, the GPS-enabled treasure hunts are abandoned during the winter months. If the cache you seek is buried in snow and ice, the fun was over before it begun. But for the passionate, winter just adds a new challenge. Wisconsin is home to the geocaching capital of the Midwest, the town of West Bend and the reported 1,200 caches hidden within a 10-mile radius of the city. Many of these are considered “winter-friendly,” meaning they should be accessible to seekers regardless of ice and snow. The town is full of well-maintained trails, so strap on your skis or snowshoes and start searching.
2. Winter Mountaineering Clinic: Die-hard hikers can expand their season into the winter months with a winter mountaineering course designed to hone their outdoor skills. In California,SWS Mountain Guides teaches participants the basics of winter climbing, camping, rescue, andsurvival skills. Snowshoers, hikers, climbers, skiers, and snow boarders are all welcome, provided they’re up to the challenge, which culminates in an attempt to scale Lassen Peak. Find a similar course near you, and sign up while you can — SWS says the course is the most popular they offer, and already seats are scarce.
3. Ice Diving: Back in the Midwest again, test your mettle with an ice dive in one of the country’s frozen lakes. Divers suit up, slide through a hole in the ice, and watch the small circle of light recede as they sink deep into the freezing waters. Needless to say, this one isn’t for the faint of heart, nor the reckless. The sport is a dangerous one, and again, beginners should seek out instruction before taking the plunge. If you’re committed enough to make it under the ice, the 40-60 feet of visibility is said to be well worth the frigid temperature.