Some of us are winter babies who’d rather bask in frosty sunlight and adjust our clothing layers based on our cold toleration. We look forward to Christmas season not because of the gifts, but because of the skiing opportunities, abundance of hot chocolates, rosy cheeks and snow. Lots of it.
Whether you’re looking to avoid summer or just want to experience Christmas in June, here are some places to enjoy winter activities all year long:
From December to March, Japan offers many opportunities that can only be enjoyed during winter time like hot spring baths, hot pots, or a visit to a village made entirely out of ice.
Temperatures during Japanese winters tend to fall below 10℃ (50°F), so keep yourself warm. Looking kawaii isn’t really necessary, but you can try using disposable heating pads to protect your feet from the cold without the need for bulky footwear. There are a handful of ski resorts to choose from that are just a few hours away from Tokyo.
Picturesque Niagara Falls is even more scenic when its waters are frozen and glazed over. Go skating in Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, which freezes over in the months of January and February. The world-renown 7.8 kilometer-long skate way is equivalent to 90 Olympic-sized rinks.
Your definition of “freezing” will completely melt away (pun intended) once you experience a Canadian winter, since temperatures tend to remain at subzero, even reaching -20°C. Indoor hockey is the country’s number one sport; treat yourself to tickets to a live game and cheer along with fellow local supporters.
It typically feels like winter all year long in Alaska, but popular to contrary belief, they get summers WITHOUT snow, too. Since the sun doesn’t set until midnight, your days feel much longer.
If you’re patient enough, you’ll even be able to see an Aurora Borealis without the need to travel to faraway winter wonderlands like Iceland or Russia. Other typical winter action include ice skating, winter biking (using studded tires or fatbikes), snowmobiling, or snowshoeing. Try extreme sports like heli-skiing or watch dog sleds slide along in a race if you prefer adrenaline boosting activities.
Tourism has increased in Iceland in the past year. Don’t be fooled by its name and presumed temperature – it gets just as cold as New York, sometimes even colder.
Taking a dip in the therapeutically healing waters of the geothermal Blue Lagoon during winter is perfectly normal. Go ice caving, glacier hiking, ride a snowmobile or walk along black sand beaches.
Plan your tours ahead of time, especially if the northern lights is part of your itinerary. This activity requires a rather dark accommodation due to the light pollution in the main cities.
Home to one of the more kid-friendly slopes, Tahoe offers family-packages that include going on a sleigh ride (while pretending you’re part of Disney’s Frozen cast). I know for a fact that my definition of “fun” during winter also included sledding and tubing, which are also a must in Tahoe. This was always followed by a warm cup of hot cocoa indoors, complete with marshmallows on top.
Adults have the option of going to the winery if they’re in no mood to hit the slopes or gamble at a casino.
6. New Zealand
There’s snow from the months of June to September for those trying to escape the sweltering American summer. Trek like a hobbit thru their snow-capped mountains and green fields as these were also major filming locations for The Lord of the Rings movies. Go whale watching around their migration period around June or July.
Like Iceland, New Zealand also offers dips in their geothermal hot springs.
Winter lovers, rejoice! You finally have year-round destinations to choose from that doesn’t necessarily fall in December. Dressing comfortably will determine how much you’ll enjoy your excursions. Aside from saving money on electricity, living in these cold temperatures means no more excessive sweating, easily adjustable clothing layers (rather than stripping down during summer).
Catching a late sunrise in any of these places is worth it. And anything that includes a fluffy blanket and a warm cup of coffee or tea is always a good idea.
Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via pexels.com