Happy Winter Trails Month

Strap on the snowshoes or try out cross country at a Januarytime happening.

THE SNOWIEST SPORTS... are, of course, quite spectacular and powerful and full of cold-breathed vim. But just because you long to try out a mountain-based pursuit, or a calling at a higher elevation, doesn't mean that you need to take zooming down a pro-level slope from the get-go. There are other ways to connect with the snowflake-laden larks of wintertime, ways that also involve poles and gear and bundling up against the elements. One only need visit a popular trail to see all manner of cross country skier and snowshoe-rockin' adventurer to understand that the byways of the coldest season aren't just about the boards and alpine skis.

WINTER TRAILS MONTH: If you long to try your hand at the vigorous, cheek-warming, and spirit-lifting trail sports of cross country and snowshoeing, a fine first place to start is the online center for Winter Trails Day, and Winter Trails Month, which encourages those who dig the outdoors to give a hearty, frosty-landscaped adventure a try. And, no surprise, Winter Trails Month coincides with...

JANUARY 2017, the first full month of winter. A number of states have participating locales, but if you're sticking close to California, look to Kirkwood or Eldorado County, which will both honor the invigorating day out. Even if you can't make either location (and check the specific dates), learning to snowshoe, or try cross country skiing, can be done at a number of mountain resorts around the Golden State. Check with the ski center at your favorite destination and see if there is an instructor-led intro, or guided walk/outing, that'll help you safely try a trail that's at its snowiest, winteriest best.

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