As a child, do you recall what you did when witer arrived and snow blanketed the ground? 

Nowadays, for many children and adults, winter often means staying inside playing video games which trumps the desire to go outside and play – snow or no snow. More sedentary lifestyles usually lead to weight gain, a situation that statistics show contributes to childhood obesity.

FREE Snowboarding & snowshoeing at over 100 locations on January 12, 2008

The 13th annual Winter Trails® event offers children and adults new to snow sports the chance to try snowshoeing and/ or cross-country skiing free at more than 100 locations in 25 states and four Canadian provinces. Through these easy-to-learn activities, participants can have fun and discover the health and fitness benefits of snow sports. Most Winter Trails venues are located at Nordic Centers while others are on National Forest and Park Service land and at snow resorts. Equipment is provided free by venue or product suppliers.  Many venues offer educational programs, lessons, clinics and guided tours.
Winter Feels Good, a national consumer awareness initiative showcasing the health and fitness benefits of winter sports, has launched a new fun interactive tool kit for winter 2007-2008 designed to excite and introduce children to snow sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.   It also teaches elementary-level children best practices for snow sports and how to dress properly for a winter outdoor experience.
The Winter Feels Good toolkit is a great learning tool that features animated characters called Snow Monsters (Snowball the Tiger, Snowboard Beaver, X-Wolf and Snowshoe Roo) and is an easy introduction to experiencing Mother Nature’s winter playground.  Initially developed for use by teachers, recreation professionals and scout leaders, many portions of the tool kit can be enjoyed at home by children and their families. More than 16 million people participate in snow sports activities and gain a multitude of fitness benefits, such as weight loss, a healthy heart, and improved muscle tone.
The tool kit provides eight learning modules that appeal to elementary school children because of its flash, bright colors and sound effects.  Children and adults will learn:

  • how to dress for snow sports
  • basic conditioning exercises that improve agility, muscle strength and balance
  • moves to learn before getting on snow
  • basic equipment information for alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing

For teachers, there are incentives, such as:

  • lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms and gyms
  • flyers for children to take how to parents
  • motivational and safety videos

Families can apply some of what they learn on Saturday, January 12, 2008 at the 13th annual Winter Trails event that offers free snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing at more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada. For a complete list of Winter Trails venues at Nordic centers, National Forest and Park Service sites and snow resorts, visit
To download the online interactive toolkit, simply visit A special version of the tool kit is being distributed this winter via CD-ROM as a beta test to schools in New England, portions of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado and Utah. Winter Trails Day takes place at more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada. 



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