There’s no denying that winter is here in full force. There’s already been at least two days in January where the windchill was -15 or less, and the forecast doesn’t look much warmer for the rest of January. But that’s part of the fun of living in Illinois in the winter. But there’s more fun to Illinois winters than just freezing; there’s activities, too.
Most people have fond, cold memories of sledding as a kid. And while it’s sometimes not as fun when you’re in college, it’s still a thrill. Acting like a kid sometimes is the best stress-reliever. But as you grow older you need to find different hills than those from your childhood – unless you used to sled at Camden Park in Milan. Camden Park used to be a ski hill called Mount Camden back in the day, but then the rope-tow was removed so you could go down the hill, but walking back up was a little tougher. Camden Park has tall, steep slopes, perfect for zooming down on a toboggan and losing your toque on the way.
Snowstar in Andalusia also offers a great place to ski, snowboard, and go tubing. They offer lessons for first-time skiers and boarders for low rates, as well as lessons to fine tune your skills. You can find out their hours of operation and the conditions at the park at skisnowstar.com.
Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island is open for winter golf if you prefer a more Scottish winter past-time for only $10 a game. However, sometimes the course is closed due to weather or snow. When there’s three or more inches of snow on the ground, a person can cross-country ski at Saukie Golf Course.
And of course there’s the classic ice skating, whether inside or outside. The River’s Edge in Davenport has public skate a few days a week for only $5 a session. You can also rent skates for $3. Or if you’d rather be outside to do your skating, there are several ponds around here on which you can skate for free providing the ice is thick enough, including Riverside Pond in Moline, Vanderveer Park on Brady Street in Davenport, or the volleyball pit in Longview Park in Rock Island. Or for another Scottish-Canadian past-time, you can try playing hockey on the pond. While hockey became what it is today in Canada, it had its beginnings in the United Kingdom. Hockey has evolved from being “ice polo” to the international sport which has claimed the hearts of millions.
So this winter, between the classes and the homework and the work, take time to enjoy the weather. You don’t know when you won’t get any more.
Written by Anna Headley