Outdoor activites in the cold – Minneapolis perspective


I grew up in California. So people here say ‘up North’  and it confuses me because I didn’t know I could get more north ex (Ely or Hallock, Minnesota…which in my mind are deep into Canada). Even though I’m ‘down in the cities’ it gets cold here. How cold?

I don’t go running when it’s this cold. I have gone running in weather down to 0F.2014-01-27-07-33-40

What can you do outside? Pretty much everything.

1. Running – one of my basic exercises.
What to wear: tights, nylon running shorts
neck gator or scarf (you’re only allowed to cover your face up if it’s in the teens)
drifit type longsleeve and t-shirt. If it’s really cold or windy put on a windbreaker instead of a t-shirt. If it’s colder than that, a fleece vest or light fleece.
I just wear normal socks and shoes. Be careful wearing really thick socks that they don’t cut off your circulation.
Gloves – cheap running gloves or fabric gloves work. When it was close to zero I switched to mittens.

But I don’t want to go outside because it’s cold.
For motivation, I thought about how much I would rather have trouble running now, than struggle on a big hiking trip I was planning with a friend. I think long term thinking is the only way that running makes sense for mos people. It’s a great cardiovascular exercise.

2. Biking – I’m nervous as hell to try this outside. Mainly because of the cars. The salt can destroy and rust out a bike too. I’m hesitant to risk that on my road bike because it’s my only personal form of transportation besides the bus. Excuses, I know. Next winter, I’m shipping back a junker mountain bike from my parent’s house and outfitting for biking in the snow (studded or wide tires, fixed gear). AF went out to a @Midwest Mountaineering seminar and the person that led it emphasized, whatever you do, if you bike during the winter, you are going to fall. Fat tire bikes seem sweet too. Surly for example.

3. Rock climbing – haha cop-out because you are not outside, but it is something I do during the winter.The local university has a small wall, with an awesome cost per semester.

4. Classic cross country skiing – I hated it, but what a workout. Try and get someone that knows what they’re doing when you get them fitted. When you put all your weight on one ski, you want to have the center of the ski touch down. When it’s 50/50 weight distribution, there should be a big swath off the ground. I learned these from a xc skier.

5. Skate cross country skiing – So fun. Get on that. You can likely find somewhere that rents skate skis for a reasonable price. Again the university came to the rescue with $10 per day rentals including skis, boots, and poles. Why I liked it? It’s a lot faster and the move more natural than classic skiing. It’s closer to ice skating or roller blading. Did I mention you can go fast? It took me about an hour to get into, but man it was worth it.


Here’s a day out on the lake.105_0838Theodore Wirth Park has some of the best trails in the country. You can travel around three or more lakes. Otherwise any lake or snowed on trail will do. Como park for example.

Get out and have some fun!


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