Winter Fun: Go play in the snow

Written by Rachel HoskinsDangerHouse Media

Go play in the snow. Even if it's not the mother-nature kind.

An unseasonably warm winter with scattered snow storms at best followed by rain at worst has left many wondering if winter-time sports are passing us by in Northeast Ohio. Not so, say local opportunists.

“I'd of course rather just have a cold, snowy season,” said avid Ohio skier Morgan Mecaskey of Cleveland Heights.

But cold and snowy or not, she's been hitting the slopes anyway.

“Last Friday it was amazing,” she said of her recent venture to Boston Mills Ski Resort in Peninsula.“It was cold and it snowed. They had a bunch of jumps built up and were in the process of making moguls on the hills.”

But regardless of the weather, “You can still have an enjoyable and worthwhile experience,” on the slopes she said, so long as there is a good base of snow, machine-generated or otherwise.

If you're not the skiing type, don't rule out other options—After all, we do live in lake-effect territory. The snow will come, even if it's in short, two-day bursts.

So get ready. Check our handy list below for some of the best locations to play outside. Pull on your boots, grab a sled, strap on some skis, or skates and watch the skies.

Good times are waiting outside.



Boston Mills/ Brandywine—7100 Riverview Rd., Peninsula Ohio 44264-0175, (800) U-SKI-241. Take a snow day and get to the slopes. These two ski resorts are a convenient, five-minute drive from each other and are owned by the same management, so your lift ticket gets you passes to both!  Boarders enjoy the freestyle parks at Brandywine and Boston Mills with features for all skill levels.



Snow Tubing at Polar Blast, Brandywine—1146 West Highland Rd., Sagamore Hills, Ohio 44067, (800) U-SKI-241. With up to 20 tubing lanes at more than three football fields in length you’re sure to have a good time with the whole family. A full-service snack bar in the new lodge will keep you toasty inside and out. Three hour tubing passes are $25 during regular hours.



Alpine Valley— 10620 Mayfield Rd., Chesterland, Ohio 44026, (440) 285-2211. Open for 50 years and running, this ski resort also boasts a terrain park for boarders with over 15 features including rails, boxes and tabletops.

Alpine Valley Tube Park—Enjoy an afternoon tubing without the exhaustion. Hop on the tube lift and be transported to the top of the ridge. Two hour tubing passes are $15. Open daily.




Cleveland Metropark’s Chalet–16200 Valley Parkway, Strongsville, Ohio 44136, (440) 572-9990. Two 1,000 foot-long refrigerated ice shoots deck the hillside of this Metropark location, which means that snow or no snow, you're in for a ride. Be prepared to haul your toboggan (provided with your pass) up several flights of wooden stairs to get to the top. Between rides step inside the lodge, grab a snack and warm up next to one of the fireplaces. Adult all-day passes are $8. Kids (ages 11 and younger) all-day passes are $6.

Open Thur.-Sun. through mid March.




Lock 3 Ice Rink — 200 South Main Street, Akron, Ohio 44308, (330) 375-2877. Ohio's largest seasonal skating rink features 10,000 square-feet of ice skating fun in Downtown Akron. Skate rental is $3. Open at11am daily, Jan. 26-29 until Thur. at 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. at 11p.m. and Sun. at 6 p.m.



The Ice Rink at Falls River Square—At Broad Blvd. & Riverfront Pkwy., Cuyahoga Falls, (330) 971-8135. Skate next to the river at this outdoor rink complete with on-site concessions. Call for hockey and ice skating lesson information. Admission is Free for residents and $3 for non-residents. Skate rental is $3. Open Thur.-Fri. 3-9 p.m., Sat. 12-9 p.m., Sun. 12-8 p.m. through Feb. 20.




The Rink at Wade Oval, 10820 East Boulevard Cleveland, OH 44106, (216) 707-5033. Try out the faux ice that makes this rink an all-weather surface. Made of a silicone-based polymer (otherwise known as fancy plastic), The Rink features Free admission, festive lights strung around the rink and nearby concessions. Skate rental is $3. Open Fri. & Sat., 12-7 p.m., and Sun. 12-5 p.m. through Jan. 29.




Snow Shoeing at The Cleveland Metroparks—Various locations, (216) 341-1704. Take a hike in a pair of fancy, tennis-racket-looking shoes in January and February at one of two Cleveland Metropark locations.

Friendly staff members will get you into the right size, give you a brief walking demo and then set you loose to navigate the marked course at your own pace. Shoe rental is $10.

Locations & Dates: Squires Castle at North Chagrin Reservation, Jan. 28 & 29 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The Sledding hill at South Chagrin Reservation (located at the intersection of Sulphur Springs Drive and Chagrin River Road), Sat. & Sun. in Feb. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. except Feb. 4.


Snow Shoe Night Hikes at The Cleveland Metroparks—Various locations, (216) 341-1704. Trek the woods at night with a blanket of snow at your feet. Head lamps and snow shoes along with hot cocoa and an indoor location to warm up in afterwards will be provided on these guided group hikes. Cost is $15.

Wednesdays in February from 7-9 p.m. Locations vary. Some dates require pre-registration.



Snow Shoeing & Cross Country Skiing at Big Met Golf Course at Rocky River Reservation—4811 Valley Parkway, Fairview Park, Ohio 44126, (440) 331-1070.  New this year at The Cleveland Metroparks, rent cross country skis or snow shoes and take an adventure off-road and off-slope.




Any bump in the horizon can be used for sledding and sliding purposes. Kids know this best, using even the smallest of mounds in the front yard as a sledding attraction. But what about the grown-up sized hills (or at least teen-sized) for the rest of us? We’ll let you be the judge. Here's a list of swells hills from The Cleveland Metroparks to get you started.