Trade the winter blues for winter magic

Trade the winter blues for winter magic. From forest ziplines to snowshoeing, there’s plenty to do during the frosty months.

Above-the-ground enchantment

Frosted boughs, sugared undergrowth, silent, crisp air— a snowy forest is like something from a fairytale. And in the New River Gorge, two resorts let you fly above the pines.

Your flight starts with Adventures on the Gorge. The Lansing-based resort is known for its outstanding— and imaginative— recreation. One such highlight is the Treetops Zip Line Canopy Tour. Open all year, the ride features 10 speedy zips, 5 sky bridges, and a rappel.

As if that’s not enough, it crosses through an ancient hemlock forest. These magnificent evergreens can live for centuries; some reach heights of 100 feet or more, too. Imagine soaring above them! Well, that’s what makes the Treetops Zip Line so unique. Half adventure, half biology lesson, it’s an unusual chance to admire the forest and native wildlife.

ACE Adventure Resort in Oak Hill keeps the airways open, too. Its Zip-Line Canopy Tour features 9 zips, 2 aerial bridges, and a drop tower. These rides are pretty inventive. Some, like “Boulderdash,” have blind endings— that is, you can’t see the finish until the last moment. Others are really swift and high. “Terminal Velocity,” for example, is 800 feet long and 120 feet above the ground. But if one thing connects them all, it’s sheer fun.

Saddle up

Horseback riding carries you away from the modern world and deep into the woods. It’sone of the few frontier experiences left in America.

Fayetteville’s Equestrian Adventures has outings for folks of all levels. If you’re experienced, request a private ride; it’s for anybody who wants to go faster than a walk. Prefer to go slow n’ steady? There are family beginner rides, sunset rides, and scenic excursions aplenty.

Winter walks

Ever tried snowshoeing? It’s an old-fashioned experience that you mostly see on vintage postcards nowadays. But every winter, New and Gauley River Adventures in Lansing has rentals for anybody who’s interested.

Getting the hang of it is easy. After a few minutes’ worth of practice, you’ll be ready to go. Snowshoeing burns calories as well— another perk. It’s also easy on your body. All you need to do beforehand is wear removable layers; you’ll get warm while cruising around, but quickly cool down during breathers. So don’t wait for the snow to melt; try this unusual sport before spring arrives!

What’s your favorite winter activity?