National Parks: Winter Sport Picks

Badger Pass skiing made a national mitten-up list.

DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite

HOLIDAY TRAVEL... has a tendency to be very much about, well, the holidays. We plan our plane trips around Thanksgiving, and when our relatives are arriving (lest our parents make numerous trips to the airport). Our drive home to make the first night of Hanukkah, or our train trip to our best friend's town on New Year's Eve, are very much built around the festivity that awaits us later that day. But after January 1 wraps up, journeys to other places become less about the occasion and more about the season. Winter comes into full view during the first and second months of the year, and all of its frosty, mitten-up, brave-the-flakes pleasures. Many of those pleasures occur in the national parks, which can, it might be said, see their share of snow over the first third of the year (and sometimes into April and May). To spotlight this not-so-subtle shift in post-holiday travel, when holiday travelers transform into outdoorsy adventurers, the National Park Foundation has created a list of winter sports found within the vast and destination-awesome system. And if you're wondering if the Golden State is well-represented among the picks, take heart because...

IT SO IS: Look to Yosemite National Park, and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, and Lassen Volcanic National Park, too, a group of West Coast stalwarts that stand proud on the icon-packed roster (Glacier and Yellowstone are two of the other picks). The cross-country skiing at Yosemite's Badger Pass got the shout-out love from the foundation, as did the sledding among the sequoias and wintry camping at Lassen, a place known for its burbling, steaming, geothermal features. It's a dynamic trio for Californians, and visitors from all over, to enjoy come January and February and even March, as long as warm clothing and tire chains and weather reports and a sense of the cold's power all come into play pre-trip. Sporting in the winter is quite different from any other time of year, not because it takes less or more exertion, but because heading into a quieter national park -- and they're all a bit quieter come winter, for the most part -- leads to a more peace-centered ski day or trek or overnight. Tempted after the nonstopness of the holidays? The NPF has your picks, so tie your scarf on and peruse all. 

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