Are you looking to embrace a winter style? Perhaps you want to really indulge with the dichotomy of hot and cold. This is a brief guide to getting started and we even delve into a bit of fashion at the end.
Please be aware of the dangers of cold climates. Hypothermia, frostbite, frostnip, snow blindness, and other issues are very real. Be safe, be prepared.
Cold Water Bathing & Hot Water Bathing
I know. Cold water bathing sounds like a nightmare, but it can really help with circulation. In fact, it's referred to as cryotherapy. It can also help with muscle recovery, pain relief, and boosting your mood. A cold water bath isn't done for very long, only 10-15 minutes max - most people start out with very brief dips that only last a few seconds.
In some northern regions, ice bathing or cold water bathing is completely normal. People go for a short swim in a frozen lake or in the icy ocean or simply rub themselves down with snow before/after hitting the sauna.
You may find a location that offers a Polar Bear Plunge. This is an opportunity to jump into some freezing water while having a group of people around to watch and assist if needed. Also, you get to tell people you participated in the plunge.
A few tips if you want to start taking dips in cold water:
Wear water shoes. Ice can be very sharp.
Do it with a friend or at least have someone nearby in case you need assistance.
People often wear winter gloves and hats while doing this outside.
You can always try this out by filling a bathtub with ice and cold water.
Have an "after cold plunge" plan.
After you take your cold plunge, you will either want to warm up wet or dry. The wet method is to step into a sauna. The dry method is to take a rinsing shower, then put on comfortable dry clothing and enjoy a hot beverage.
For most, the overall goal is to feel happy and invigorated!
Hot water bathing can happen with saunas or with natural hot springs. People who live near a natural hot springs will often avoid them in the summer (unless its raining) and mainly visit in the cold winter months.
If you do visit a hot springs in the winter, have some sort of shoe to get you to and from the warm water. Your feet will thank you. You may also want to have a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
Links, so you don't think I'm nuts:
Cross Country Skiing (aka Nordic Skiing)
Cross Country Skiing is not downhill skiing. Instead, this style can take you on trails through the forests and across the landscape. There are 2 main styles: classic and skate. It deals with ski types and technique. If you've never been cross country skiing, just opt for classic to start with.
Cross country skiing often has a cutoff temperature of -20F because it becomes fairly unpleasant to ski in temperatures colder than that.
This style of skiing will really work your legs and butt. It's cardio and natural resistance because of the snow. The best thing about this style is that you can venture out with friends and you can even have your dog join you. Kids can do this, adults can do this, and elderly people can do this (as long as they can walk).
If you really get into this style of skiing, in the summer months you can try roller skiing!
Tips for getting started:
You may want a pair of lobster ski gloves.
You will need a hat, gloves, winter socks, winter activewear jacket, insulated tights or lightweight winter pants rated for outdoor activity, possibly a scarf or neck gaiter.
Before you purchase a pair of skis and poles, find a rental spot first!
You may want to carry an emergency light if the daylight hours are short.
Be aware that local wildlife might cross your path and it may not always be in your favor.
Wear layers!!! Wear layers!!! Wear layers!!!
On a bright day, wear sunglasses!
Links for Cross Country Skiing:
Where ever you go, you can usually find a spa or various locations that could make up a spa. Body work is pretty essential to this, so find and book yourself a massage, a facial, reflexology (feet), a body wrap, and whatever else you want to have done. You may also want to get your hair and nails done, which may be a separate venue. You may want to end your day with time in a sauna + a cold water dip or access to snow, which may be another separate venue. Mix in some delicious meals and perhaps sharing a bottle of wine with some friends in the evening.
If you live in a northern climate, you may want to add a trip to the tanning salon to the list for a little vitamin D. In higher latitude locations, tanning salons are often recommended by doctors to offset the lack of sunlight and low vitamin D levels people suffer from.
Other Winter Things
The cold can be harsh. As an Alaskan, I know that to be completely true. How do we get around it? There are 2 big dichotomies to consider with winter: hot and cold; light and dark. We like hot beverages in cold temperatures and we like ice cream while we warm up inside. The days grow short, the nights get longer. We can stay warm and have a good time in buildings constructed of ice. We appreciate ice carving and well lit paths. We enjoy a hot sauna, followed by standing outside in the brisk air.
How else can you appreciate the winter?
Winter photography - There is a lot of things to photograph in the winter, more than just the northern lights.
Ice art - Ice carving art is a big deal in northern regions. It is especially worth it to go in the darker hours when the ice carvings are all lit up. Just dress warmly.
Other winter sporting activities - You can try snowshoeing, snowboarding, downhill skiing, winter running, winter fat-tire biking, or simply go on a winter walk. Yes, there are year-round races for all of these things.
Hot Beverages & Food - Indulge in hot beverages, soups, and hearty comfort foods. Spicy foods can also help heat you up!
Local arts and crafts - There are a high number of people in cold climate locations who do arts and crafts. This means you'll find art shows, music gigs, performance art, and craft bazaars. Visit to find local flair.
Local food and drink - Another thing you'll find in cold weather climates are a number of breweries, distilleries, meaderies, and the occassional winery. There is also usually a number of local production of foods. Venture out for a tour of locally produced foods and drink.
Winter Stylings & Themes
You'll notice that there are various layers being worn by people in the following photos. Also, there are a lot of warm textiles being utilized. You don't see anyone wearing cold fabrics like chiffon or satin.