A major drawback of skiing is its seasonal nature. I suppose, I could continue skiing throughout the summer by traveling to Chile, Argentina, or Australia; but for a variety of reasons that is not happening (if I was in a position to ski in the southern hemisphere, then I’ld be on the mountains of Colorado, Utah, California, Washington, Canada, Vermont, etc on regular basis). So, in order to keep myself active I have to find other things to do in the off season.
What are those activities? What are your off-ski-season activities?
Biking is one activity I participate in. Years ago I bought a Trek cross bike. For years it sat up north only getting taken out occasionally. Last summer, though, I used it much more frequently as our house is near the Wiouwash Trail and we live on quiet farm roads so I can do a fair amount of biking. Also, I do take the bike up north and pedal up there, which I enjoy more as the terrain up there is varied. The Wiouwash trail is one gradual slope down to Lake Winnebago with very little variation in terms of direction and elevation. The scenery is pretty much blah too lets face it one farmfield looks pretty much like the next one and how much variation is there in barn architecture? The trail does go through a swamp though, and around that swamp you can see sandhill cranes and other neat birds, plus the chance to see mink, muskrats, deer, and other such minor creatures.
Golf is a sport I am slowly getting back into. I golfed a lot when I was fresh out of college and then I just stopped. I was making progress on my game getting better and better, as I was golfing with a buddy who was good at the game and was giving me lots of good coaching (thanks Trapper!). When I returned from the UAE I decided to get back into it. I am not an avid golfer but I golf enough I do see encouraging signs in my game. I play it shot by shot. Last summer I replaced my old and ratty golf bag with a used one (in good shape), and bought a new (again used) driver. I took the driver out to the test range and the person working the sale noted I was swinging down on the ball a critique I heard before. I immediately asked him what that meant, he told me, I adjusted my stance & swing, and WHACK I crushed the ball and it flew off the tee! I had not hit a drive like that in years! I am looking to get back on the links soon maybe I will golf six times or so this summer.
We have enough land we can have a large sized garden. We have tomatoes (ronma & brandywine), beans, peas, peppers (sweet and hot), egg plants, watermelon, and herbs. I will spend time working that and other flower beds around the yard. The yard too, gets a fair amount of my attention, usually I cut it once/week or perhaps twice in three weeks. I enjoy doing that as we have a rider with a beer holder in the lawnmower, but I rarely put my beer down as the engine’s vibration makes the beer go flat quickly.
We have a Kozy Heat fireplace and it burns wood. I am constantly on the lookout for sources of good wood and not so good wood. I end up having to make a fair amount of it myself or with the assistance of others. Last summer a guy in my family network bought a semi-load of white oak. I went over there and cut up about 3 cord worth into pieces and split it all (chain saws and a tractor driven splitter made the job quick) and I helped cut my buddy’s wood up too (though his needs were simpler 4′ round pieces for his outdoor burner). Dave helped me haul the wood to my house where I stacked and stockaded it. Another family member dropped off some mixed wood too. I hand split the lot of it, using my 6# splitter for the bigger pieces and my hatchet for kindling class wood. The small kindling class wood proved valuable in helping to start fires.
Going up north
The happy carving ground turn into the happy fishing grounds, the happy woodmaking grounds, the happy visiting friends ground, the happy water-skiing grounds and other such things. Even if I do none of that stuff, it is nice to get up north and pretend we are in the wilderness. Lake country is beautiful and the semi-wild nature of the land up there allows me to pretend I am a wildlife photographer, which I hope to get back into.
Hiking in the grouse and deer woods
. Yeah, I am euphemistically stating that! I like to grouse and deer hunt. Nothing like strolling in the woods on a fall day with the shotgun in hand. The goal is to shoot a grouse or two (yummy!) but if we do not see any or miss our shots so what? Any day walking in the woods is a successful day. Deer hunting again is primarily an activity to sit in the woods alone and to take periodic scouting and warming hikes. Nothing warms you up like walking through a snow covered wooded creek bottom. Plus, I take reading material into the woods with me and think about things as varied as the looming NCAA basketball season, politics, religion, skiing, travel, cooking, etc.
One time after engaging in one of these activities we were wrapping up and it was my uncle who said “well, back home and back to work and reality”. I had to laugh, and I corrected him stating this was reality and what we do in the week is geared to allowing us this reality.
The only time I am looking for things to do outside is immediately after ski season closes.