A power activity that helps improve muscle strength and endurance through high-intensity exercise, downhill skiing burns about 300 calories an hour and targets every muscle from your abs down. It’s a lot of fun, but pricier than most winter sports: lift ticket ($35-$55), boots ($200-$400), poles ($50) and skis with bindings ($400-$600). You’d be wise to rent equipment to start, and most hills offer daily rentals for all sizes. If you do decide to buy, check with used sports equipment stores. Ski fanatics often sell their equipment after only a year, so you can get the-almost-latest models at slashed prices.
With almost 5.9 million participants, this hybrid of running and cross-country skiing is one of the fastest growing winter sports! Exercisers of all fitness levels can work at their own intensity level, increasing stamina and toning leg muscles. There was a time when snowshoes looked like big tennis rackets, but times have changed. Easy to transport, the shoes pack away in much less space than skis or sleds, and provide a great aerobic workout — burning anywhere from 360 to 860 calories an hour, depending on your speed and the depth and packing of the snow.
Snowshoeing is a great way to condition for running. These movements are similar. Snowshoes add resistance, yet there is less impact on joints. In fact, research shows that runners who substitute snowshoeing for winter training improve their running fitness over those who choose running as their primary winter activity.
Other than the snowshoes themselves and a pair of waterproof hiking boots, no special equipment is necessary. You can rent snowshoes for around $20-$30 a day, or buy your own from about $100 to $260. If you expect to be a fairly regular user, it may be worth your while to invest in a pair.
Cross Country Skiing
Like snowshoeing, cross country skiing is an aerobic sport that works all body parts (especially your biceps, glutes, hamstrings, triceps and quads) without stressing your joints. Burn 560 calories hour or more with a brisk cross country ski excursion. You can ski almost anywhere: a trail, conservation area, local park, or even a farmer's field. As with snowshoeing, you can make your workout gentle or vigorous, and you can rent equipment for less money until you’re sure you want to purchase (new skis, boots and poles average about $250).