Country comfort in the Berkshires
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Winter in New England

Winter at Jericho Valley Inn

Winter in New England. Don’t you feel sorry for those poor folks who think they have to head to Florida to enjoy winter? They miss out on all the skiing, skating, sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice boating, ice climbing, mountaineering, winter camping, surfing, and under-ice scuba diving. Whew! There’s a lot to do outdoors in New England in the winter!

Winter Scene

No matter what winter sport entices you outdoors, having fun in the winter starts with staying warm and we provide some timely tips to help you stay warm and comfortable no matter what the thermometer says.

Snow Berkshires Church

The Currier & Ives view of New England in winter always includes happy skaters on a frozen pond or sledding on a sloping field. Most New England communities have a traditional skating pond and sledding hill somewhere.

For the skating, all you need is a pair of skates and a snow-free frozen surface. Adults should buy the best skates they can afford — they’ll last most people a lifetime, even with regular resharpening. Kids need good skates, too, but they outgrow them so fast that you’ll rarely get more than one season of use. If there’s a skating pond nearby, chances are there’s a network of families trading hand-me-down skates. Or you can check with thrift and second-hand stores. Start early — skate bargains are a lot easier to find in October than December. Just remember to follow the few ice safety tips to have a fun family outing.

Likewise, sledding is a traditional part of a New England winter. All you need is warm clothes, a hill (common everywhere in New England), some snow (ditto, at least in January, February, and early March), and a sled you can purchase for a couple of bucks at the local hardware or discount store. If you don’t have kids of your own to make you go sledding, borrow some. Sledding can be as much of an aerobic activity as you want to make it — it just depends on how many times and how fast you want to climb that hill.

Talk about traditional: The native New Englanders who greeted the Pilgrims so hospitably used snowshoes to get around our winter wonderlands, and you can, too. Snowshoeing has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years. It’s as easy as walking, safe, and can be enjoyed at a sane pace. If you don’t own snowshoes, check with your local outdoor shop about rental programs. Some ski areas, notably Jiminy Peak and Butternut, offer rentals, instruction, and guided snowshoe hikes.