It will happen over night. The apple blossoms will start to unfurl, the sun will chisel through the grey and spring in Seattle will suddenly be in full swing. But before you and your kids get ahead of yourselves, take full advantage of the lingering winter and everything it has to offer. Here are six easy (and fun!) winter activities to try with the fam.
photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via flickr
It may not be as fast-paced as some of the other winter activities, but that’s the beauty of snowshoeing. You and your crew can to take in the sights and sounds of winter all without breaking the bank (or a limb!). The best part? Kids don’t need much instruction to do it successfully and wee ones can be pulled in a sled behind you.
For newbies, a good way to try snowshoeing is through the guided tours offered at many national parks. At Mount Rainier National Park, kids ages 8 and up can take part in the ranger-guided snowshoe walks every weekend until March 26, 2017. The two-hour long walk is free and snowshoes are just a $5 donation to borrow. If you and the munchkins would like to forge your own trail, stop at the charming Longmire General Store and rent a pair of snowshoes and then check out the list of snowshoeing trails at the park.
In addition to the national forests, many ski resorts including Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort offer snowshoeing trails and rentals. And for those who may like something a little more off the beaten path, check out the Washington Trail Association’s list of beginner backcountry snowshoe trails in our area.
photo: Lisa Rauliuk
We Seattleites know that we’re lucky for a lot of things and we can add another item to the list: We’re home to Washington’s only curling club. Slide into Granite Curling Club to learn more about this surprisingly fun and family-friendly activity played on the ice. Granite Curling Club offers Juniors Learn to Curl for newbie curlers ages 7–21. They’re also test piloting a new Kids Curl program in their spring session, designed specifically for kids 7-10 who are just learning how to curl. During the three-week session, kids will learn the basics of curling, work on skill development and gain an introduction into the strategy and etiquette of curling. Upcoming sessions take place April 23, 30 and May 13, 2017 from 10 a.m.–noon. Cost is $45.
Good to Know: The Club is hosting an open house on March 11, 2017 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For $25 per person or $60/family, you can learn how to throw and sweep the shiny stones just like the athletes in the Olympics. Sign up online. Adults and kids ages 7 & up are welcome. Note: All participants under the age of 12 must bring and wear a helmet while on the ice.
Granite Curling Club
1440 N. 128th St.
Seattle, Wa 98133
photo: Christine Roulston
There’s perhaps no winter activity that stirs up as much nostalgia as ice skating. And lucky for you, there’s still time to take a glide down memory lane with the little ones this season. An added bonus: This time of year, public skating and lessons are much less busy than they were mid-winter.
We’ve gathered a list of the skating facilities still offering lessons and public skating. Psst! Be sure to check their website for the cheap skate and family skate times. No skates? No problem. Skates are included in the price of admission or available to rent for $3–$4. And for the wobbly tots, most rinks rent walkers for $3–$4. If your kiddos are looking for more formal instruction, each of these rinks also offer lessons starting at age 3 or 4.
Kingsgate Ice Arena – Kirkland
14326 124th Ave. N.E.
Kirkland, Wa 98034
Lynnwood Ice Center
19803 68th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, Wa 98036
Kent Valley Ice Centre
6015 S. 240 St.
Kent, Wa 98032
photo: Andrea LaCross Dickerson
While Seattle has been getting a lot of the wet stuff, in the mountains that translates into, you got it: the white stuff! So round-up your little ski bunnies and hit the slopes at one of our area’s nearby resorts.
If you want a mountain for kids that’s a quick jaunt (about an hour) from central Seattle, the Summit at Snoqualmie can’t be beat. The resort offers affordable ski and snowboard lessons for ages 4–12. Psst! For kids’ half-day group lessons, book online to receive a $20 discount. Check online for more info on lessons and rentals.
Drive just two hours south of Seattle and you and your crew can shred (or snowplow, whatever your style!) the pow pow at Crystal Mountain—the largest ski resort in the state. Day passes for adults are more pricey at this resort, but two kids 10 & under ski free for every adult ticket purchased. Of course, in addition to skiing, one of the highlights of this resort is taking the Mt. Rainier Gondola up Crystal Mountain. Psst! The resort offers ski lessons for ages 4 & up and snowboard lessons starting at age 7. Click here to plan your trip.
If you’re looking for a mountain with extreme pow pow, head to Stevens Pass, located at the crest of the Cascade Range, which is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours from downtown Seattle. This ski resort is a popular one with Seattle families because of its abundant and frequent snowfall that is usually light and dry. The hill receives an average of 460″ of snowfall each year, covering 1,125 acres of skiable terrain, including 52 major runs and numerous bowls, glades and faces. And added bonus: Stevens Pass and Carter Subaru have teamed up to offer free season passes to all Washington state 5th graders. Participants must be between the ages of 9 and 11 as of December 31 to qualify and must have proof of 5th grade enrollment. To save additional money on lift tickets for the rest of the fam, purchase your tickets online two days prior to your visit.
photo: Mini Mountain
If you really want to take the pampered route, drop into Mini Mountain in Bellevue which offers indoor lessons for kids ages 2 & up. While the lessons definitely aren’t the cheapest route, they can be a great option because there’s no driving to the mountains, waiting in line and whining about cold hands and toes involved.
photo: Pennuja via flickr
Tubing and Sledding and Sleigh Rides. Oh My!
For an activity that’s big on fun and low on cost, it doesn’t get much better than tubing or sledding. Choices for settings range from the more rustic national park hills to the luxuries of tubing centers, many with snacks, warmth and the all-important potty on hand! Two of our favorite choices include the Summit Tubing Center at Snoqualmie, which boasts 12 lanes of groomed snow and Hyak Sno-Park, where sledding is free with a Sno-Park day permit.
For a double dose of good old-fashioned fun, be sure to check out Happy Trails in Easton, Washington. Here you can start the day dashing through the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh and then wrap it up on their sledding hill. And if your family is looking for a full on winter fun experience be sure to hit the White Pass Winter Carnival set for March 4-5, 2017. Sledding, a frozen castle and fireworks are just some of the activities planned. Check out more Red Tricycle recommendations for sledding here and sleigh rides here.
Does your family have a favorite winter activity? Tell us in the Comments below!
— Christine Roulston
Feature photo courtesy of Natalia Dotto Photography.