Winter hobbies for paddlers?

What do you do to pass the short , cold days?
I read . In winters past , I hiked and built boats.
Still plan trips for next season and the annual early spring escape to Florida.

I don’t do anything much different in the “winter” than what I do year round. I bike commute to work five times a week. I hit the kickboxing gym 3-4 times a week. I go out for hikes on the weekend in the fall and winter and then switch to mostly kayak fishing and/or flyfishing rivers in the spring/summer and early fall. I chase and paddle surf waves whenever these come rolling in (paddle surfing gives me added incentive to stay in shape, less I want to get my a$$ kicked more on bigger wave days). I kayak camp/fish the Boston Harbor Islands for one week each summer.

I repair my waveskis, kayaks and paddles as needed. Not a hobby, more a necessity that I have learned to take care of (just finished glassing one waveski and have another waiting with punctures from hitting rocks/boulders at the “homebreak”). I read novels and catch up on movies when I am on vacation, which I am in the 2nd week of now.

Look forward to another year of the same, grace willing.




Ride the bike where I can not paddle

1 Like

Unlike sing I’m an inland freshwater Midwestern person. I get a little more disciplined in my modest exercise routine in the winter…swam a mile at the YMCA today and it felt great. I’m learning to teach swim lessons and taught some preschoolers for the first time recently. What a riot. I also take the coonhound on 1-2 adventures per day. It was 65 two days ago but snowed last night and we saw a whole lot of footprints in our local farmer’s field today…mostly deer but maybe some turkey too. If/when winter gets harsh we may pop down to the Carolinas and maybe Nashville for a break.

1 Like

Now that winter isn’t as reliable for skiing as in years past, I’ve taken up fat bike riding when the skiing conditions are pretty marginal. I got some studded snow tires this year and have been having a blast riding out on the trails after an ice storm. :slight_smile:


I read all year but more so in winter. Last couple of winters were consumed by house-related projects, and there is still more. I am kind of burned out on those, because the rest of the year was also dominated by property projects. Those are the not-hobbies I should be doing.

Walking at least 7 miles happens almost daily, only broken up when shoveling snow preempts it. Don’t think you’ve lived till you shovel snow for 6 hrs in one day! Followed by 3 or 4 hrs per day for another couple of days. Yes, it makes a fine workout. I am not kidding.

run when conditions permit, walk or hike when they don’t, cross country ski condition permitting. Daily weider or bowflex workout, one indoors, one outdoors, kettleball, free weights, floor exercise. Cut wood, haul wood, split wood. Still working 12 hour days 5 days a week, including travel time. Some projects, mechanical in nature.
@TomL I used to teach swimming/life guard training etc…yeah, the wee tykes are the best, for sure.


I built a paddling ergometer out of an old Nordic Track ski exerciser. It’s quite possibly the best feeling cardio workout for me. Since I primary paddle surfskis, it also helps to learn a better stroke technique in a controlled environment. The feel I get on it is suprisingly close to the real thing.

Here’s a YouTube video walkthrough of the machine:

I should have kept ours.

Archery (Indoor for the winter), bikes when possible, XC Skiing, and the gym.

roll practice in a pool, I still boat on “warmer” days on easy low volume streams, day hike, treadmill, recumbent stationary bike, catch up on all the errands/cleaning I skipped (so I could go boating) during the warm months

Here in Sandpoint, Idaho we ski in the winter, alpine and Nordic. Our ski area covers about 3000 acres. There is also an additional Nordic area, but there are also Nordic areas at lower elevation.

I maintain my kayak equipment toward Spring and also do some trip planning. Our lake is drawn down by ~10 feet in winter and will ice at least along the edges, making winter launching awkward in most places. The lake circumference is ~110 miles.

Happy New Year!

I used to paddle a lot on the nicer days of the winter. My current situation doesn’t allow for this until (if) I finally get my TRAK 2.0. Until then, I try to get my exercise through hiking. Lots of hiking. Hiking past water that makes me want to go kayaking…

Metal detecting, if weather co operates; I do NOT like to suffer needlessly.
Archery (indoor range) with longbow.
Target shooting with pistols (indoor range)
Motorcycling, if weather co operates; I do NOT like to suffer needlessly.

Did a 100 miler today; temp was a nice 54 degrees & sunny.
Wood working projects. Based on my skill level I sometimes refer to what I do as “wood destruction projects”.
Canoeing. See above relating to suffering needlessly.


I can no longer hike. I also do some," intricate "woodworking. I just made the younger grandsons wood swords. Took an hour.
And have the blank for another GP in the garage.
And shoot at indoor ranges when I can find someone for friendly competition.

Road bike. Birding hikes. Target shooting (outdoor). Movies & TV. Books when I find a good one. I have this bad habit of very slowly reading mediocre books instead of putting them down and going on to a good one. Gotta fix that.


Used to be cross country skiing. I am as Luddite a traditionalist with that as I am with kayaking and prefer ultra light waxable wooden skis and Tonkin bamboo poles. For anyone curious the pair in the pics is vintage early 1970’s Bonna 2400’s from Norway with a cracked steel mid edge. Those are my heavy duty utility pair I used to use for winter ski-packing. My favorites are a light and fast high cambered pair of birch-topped Latu light touring 195’s with a gorgeous oiled finish.

Guess I am not all that true of a Luddite since I’ve retrofitted all my wooden skis with modern Salomon Profil bindings and boots. But I still prep the bases with pine tar and a torch. (If anybody is interested, I have been purging the ski stash and have several pairs for sale including 190 cm Madshus Birkebeiners which some previous owner stupidly varnished over the classic oil finish.)

But we have not had sufficient snow cover locally often enough in the past few years to enable much skiing. When we do I am only about 10 minutes from a 600 acre wooded park with lots of good trails and less than an hour’s drive from mountains with many miles of set tracks.

XC is a fabulous workout but I am wondering how long I can continue to safely enjoy it with the diagnosis this past year of osteoporosis. So far I have not changed my pretty active lifestyle and have even fallen off a ladder and taken some dives while hiking without any of my infrastructure crumbling but there is that looming Sword of Damocles. XC is low impact and wonderfully aerobic, but crashes into trees and faceplants on hills can be pretty hard on the body.

1 Like

I put on a jacket and skins and do the things I did in summer.

Coastal dunes lake, Lake “Western” at Grayton Beach, Fl

1 Like

I got over that bad reading habit. If it hasn’t gotten me in a chapter or 2, I’m on to the next one. Luckily, the library is a 5 minute drive.


I skied my knees out over a decade ago so I left that behind as my Winter passion and paddle year round. Seattle seldom gets that cold in the Winter but it does get wet so I just dress for it and enjoy. Right now I’m looking at over a seven day stretch of rain but paddling is still decent.

Put-ins for fresh or salt water are both 15 to 20 minutes away from my house so urban paddling is the norm this time of year. Nearby, there is point with a spit that sticks out into Puget Sound and gets active with wind, particularly when the wind is opposing the current. This time of year it can be a lot of fun.

When I’m not paddling I like to write about paddling, skiing, childhood and local history.

1 Like