Adventures in the Blizzard: How to make the Most of Juno

A man cross-country skis outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 3, 2014 after an early morning snow storm.
A man cross-country skis outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 3, 2014 after an early morning snow storm. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

Chances are you didn't know what "bombogenesis" meant a few days ago, but now you're probably aware it's the phenomenon of a storm rapidly intensifying and the pressure dropping out like a sack of frozen potatoes. And in this case, it means anywhere from six inches to three feet of snow for just about the entirety of the Mid-Atlantic. For many, it will be a headache of plowed-in cars and cancelled flights, but for the more resourceful athlete, it could mean riding a dog sled through Brooklyn or making a snow-covered city their snowshoe playground. Here are a few other adventurous ways to make the most of the big dump.

Take Advantage of the Powder
The most obvious choice is to head for the ski slopes. If you booked a weeklong trip to the Rockies, you'd be thrilled with this kind of snowfall forecast. So we may be talking hundreds of feet of vertical drop instead of thousands, and you are far more susceptible to windburn than sunburn, but the powder days on the East Coast are still coveted. Southern New England is poised to get the most out of this particular tempest and Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass with it's 1,150 feet of vertical and 45 trails is steep enough when it's deep enough. Plus, it's in close proximity to all the metropolitan areas to make a tactical strike mission.

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Surf the Storm
This may take a bit more commitment — and is not for amateurs — but blizzards produce some of the best surf the East Coast has to offer. "I think a good blizzard swell trumps even the best hurricane swells as far as wave quality. Those 50 mph-plus winds produce big long lefts everywhere from Long Island to Cape May," says Billabong's Rob Kelly, of Ocean City, New Jersey. "The cold is obviously a big factor and the wind blows right threw your wetsuit. I remember going to a ski shop the day before a blizzard and buying a neoprene ski masks to cover our faces. Everyone else was panicking, thinking about shoveling out, and my brother and I are just thinking about the waves we're going to score." This one should offer up overhead treats. Think hard offshore winds, heavy wetsuits and heavier waves. Not recommended to anyone but the most committed year-round surfers.

Cross Country Ski in Central Park
Cross country skiing may not have the same kind of allure as it's downhill cousin, but you're not likely to find many glades in New York City. However, there is a hearty crew of Nordic enthusiasts in either city. And while they may travel to groomed trails in the Hudson Valley or upstate on winter weekends, on storms like this, Central Park is wide open. For those that own their own skis, mid-Park's Sheep Meadow and The Great Lawn are favorite spots.

Fat Tire Biking Around Town
There's a huge crossover between winter sports and cycling. Cross-country skiers on road bikes, snowboarders on mountain bikes, it just fits. Fat tire bikes, or simply fat bikes, are reinforced mountain bike frames with tires up to five-inches wide for frozen winter terrain. Winter playgrounds like Rochester, New York have become hubs of fat tire biking, with trails, thriving communities, and races.


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Snowshoeing in Boston
There's a certain New England charm to snowshoeing, especially the vintage wood and weave ones on the wall of a chalet. But the crew at Weston Ski Track makes it plenty accessible. From Boston, it's just 20 minutes west on the Mass Pike. "People like it because it's super convenient. They come after work for a quick hike and they can be back home or still go out to the bar right after," says Event Coordinator Kathleen Russell, "We're on a golf course, so we have rolling hills, trails along the river and some trees." They have 13 of 15 kilometers of trails open even before the blizzard. And while it may not exactly be a winter wilderness, with this possibly historic storm, the backcountry may come to Beantown.

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