The snow is tapping on your window beckoning you to come out and embrace the cold and explore the tranquil beauty of the winter wonderland outside your back door. It’s tempting, but then again, the crackle of the fire (or the roar of the furnace) is pleading a much more appealing case.
Thus, the prevailing narrative of winter spells out hibernation year after year. Cozying up inside with family and friends and enjoying the slower pace of life the season brings is certainly wonderful, but it’s a wonder that fades with the glow of the holiday season. Come February, you’re left harboring a serious case of cabin fever.
The antidote: cold weather activities.
When temperatures dip below freezing, winter adventures flip the script and challenge hibernators to layer up, climb out of the winter doldrums and transform a season of dormancy into one of revelry.
Each winter, South Bend surprises visitors and locals alike with the abundance of cold weather activities offered in and around the city. Here are some of the best cold weather activities in South Bend that are so exhilarating they will take your breath away…or maybe that’s just the cold air.
A snap of cold weather is the perfect excuse for showing off your entry-level double axle (OK, figure eight) at the Ice Box in South Bend. Although first-time ice skaters may be intimidated by those whizzing laps around the rink with unparalleled grace, many find it only takes a little practice and a brush of bravery to achieve a similar finesse. No skates? No problem. The Ice Box not only offers skate rentals and public skating hours, but also figure skating lessons and broomball. And when it’s time for a break, you can indulge in a cup of hot cocoa and some memorable people watching.
Fat Tire Biking
Instead of hitting the gym for another spin class or logging a few uninspired miles on a stationary bike, you can float over plush, powdery terrain on a fat bike’s voluminous wheels, exploring South Bend’s frozen landscape. Fat tire biking is a wintry alternative for formerly locked indoors cyclists, but the appeal is broader than cycling, and even those who don’t ride much are discovering that fat tire bikes are great way to get a workout in winter. Rum Village Park offers miles of both groomed and ungroomed trails suitable for fat tire biking and Outpost Sports has a fleet of fat tire bikes available to rent.
Cross Country Skiing
With each mile charted on a pair of cross country skis, you will discover the hush of snow-covered landscapes that set the tone for a contemplative, yet invigorating winter pastime. There’s nothing quite as peaceful as gliding through snowy trails and taking in the sights and sounds of a brisk winter day in South Bend. St. Patrick’s County Park has everything you need to get started, including groomed trails, rentals and even lessons. Of course, seasoned skiers can always forge their own path through the rugged natural beauty on display in any of the St. Joe County Parks.
There’s something so very empowering about standing atop a crispy crunchy crust of snow and not sinking. Strap on a pair of snowshoes, and suddenly you’re walking on (frozen) water. And walk you can, just about anywhere. As the saying goes, “If you can walk, you can snowshoe.”
Groomed trails never fail to be the foundation of an idyllic outing, and those with an adventurous spirit are free to blaze a trail wherever Mother Nature has laid down a thick layer of white. At Ferritte-Baugo Creek County Park, you can pick up a map when you rent your snowshoes and try your hand at orienteering. Find all the checkpoints and turn it in when you are done for prize!