Are you looking for things to do to shake off those winter blues? Ontario County’s playground has just what you need this season to put some fun and excitement in your life! So grab your mittens, your sense of wonder, and your friends and family—and play outside!
Skiing and Snowboarding
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, hit one of the 34 slopes at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort for your downhill skiing and snowboarding adventures. With a 1,200’ vertical and 138 skiable acres, plus lights on 96% of the trails, you can shred powder all day and into the evening! If you want to go skiing now, but don’t have your gear with you on vacation, don’t worry—Bristol Mountain offers equipment rentals, too.
Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Hiking!
Those of you looking to be active, but wanting a more relaxed pace, can try your feet at snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Plus, who said you have to stop hiking in the winter?! Ontario County has 44 miles of snowshoeing trails, 60 miles of groomed Nordic ski trails and 119 miles of hiking trails. At The Cumming Nature Center in Naples, breathe in the crisp, clean winter air and marvel at snow delicately blanketing the tree branches as you glide your way through 15 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. Cumming Nature Center also has a three-mile snowshoe trail loop. Or strap on those snowshoes and crunch your way to an incredible view of Honeoye Lake and the Rochester skyline at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Park.
Snowshoes, or Ga-Weh-Ga-A, have been used for hundreds of years by the Native people of North America, so it’s no surprise that Ganondagan State Historic Site has excellent snowshoeing. If you’ve never snowshoed before, but I’ve convinced you to try, stick to a flat trail like the Trail of Peace for a serene experience.
For the kids! (Including the “grown-up” ones)
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about sledding and snow-tubing that no matter what age I am, I feel about 8 years old when I start down that hill. And don’t kid yourself, so do you. (Psst. See what I did there? Kid. Fool. Clever, wasn’t it?) So bundle up your kids, or “adult” friends, and grab your red flyer, sled, tube, saucer- or whatever fancy new thing they make now and check out Dryer Road Park in Victor. With a wide hill free from trees and fences, it’s the perfect place to make lifelong family memories.For a very family-friendly spot, you can also check out Mertensia Park in Farmington- the park is smaller, as is the hill. But that just means more trips down- and a shorter walk back up. Double bonus!
Get out on the (frozen) water!
… Sometimes referred to as “ice.” You can still access our beautiful namesake lakes and enjoy the Finger Lakes from the water in the winter. Especially if you like to fish. Ice fishing is most popular on Canandaigua, Honeoye and Canadice lakes, with proper licensing. Just make sure to check the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for rules and regulations before you load up your ice auger. Thin ice should be taken very seriously—make sure you’re prepared and check out the DEC’s website for ice fishing here.
You never have to worry about the ice being too thin at the Geneva Recreation Complex and the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center, where you can bring your own skates or rent some. Either way lace up and start practicing your triple axles … or at least you can pretend to.
Time to warm up!
So you’ve spent a glorious day outside, and maybe your nose is getting a little pink. Don’t worry, your mom’s not calling you inside just yet. Your winter adventure isn’t over until you head to Belhurst Castle for a hot cocoa, or better yet, a glass of red wine by the outdoor fire pit.
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