Winter sports are something special, especially if you live in a place where winter snow is slim to nonexistent. You need to make the most of those few short weeks—or days—whether that depends on heavy snowfall near your home, an extended trip to snow or ice elsewhere, or something in-between. Clearly, not everyone can hit the slopes or ice rink every day. However, we can draw inspiration from those who do and set reasonable goals for ourselves. Here’s how to set and meet your winter sports goals and have fun doing it!
Pick a Sport and Stick With It
Strike a balance when you create your goals. Setting too many big ones can mean satisfying none. On the other hand, choosing several too-small objectives leads to similar dissatisfaction. Consider what brings you the most satisfaction. Stick with a favorite sport, but find variations to keep it interesting. Skiing, for example, comes in many forms, from downhill and cross-country to backcountry, alpine, and freestyle. Choose one that feels right for you.
Remember the Olympic motto: faster, higher, stronger. You can keep a goal more consistently if you stay specific about that goal. Set an achievable personal best for a future date and smaller marks along the way. Be ready to adjust them as the weather and seasons change. Add a mile to your cross-country run or snowshoe hike, or aim for a specific jump or routine in ice skating. Find a friend to join you, and challenge each other to do better.
Take (More) Lessons
Even the experts know there’s always more to learn. If you’re new to a sport, sign up for lessons through a local school or park district. Even if you’ve been doing it for years, find an advanced class to polish your skills—they may be able to teach you a technique or talent you’re not aware of yet. Classes also provide structure and a regular schedule, forcing you to commit to the sport and your goals.
It might seem obvious—and you might be doing it already—but if you can’t meet your goals for the season, extend the season! Search for a nearby indoor ice sports arena. You can enjoy hockey, ice skating, speed skating, curling, and more there all year round. Also, if you can believe it, there are indoor ski areas in some cities or, more commonly, ski simulators with monitors that provide the feel of skiing without the cold or potential for injury.
Aim for a Grand Finale
When deciding how to set and meet your winter sports goals, it’s always good to have an aspiration that’s also a reward. A weekly visit to the local ice rink or cross-country skiing in the forest preserves is lovely, but imagine your final goal being a trip to a ski lodge or similar Olympic-grade area. After a day of sports, enjoy your “victory” by relaxing in front of a roaring fire.