Sports, Winter Sports

Enjoying exercise in the winter

Snowboarding: A way to get through the dreaded McGill winter

The winter season for McGill students can be extremely mentally taxing, from academic burnout to the sun setting before five in the afternoon to your coffee becoming cold by the time you get to the library. One way to break out of the monotonous cycle of gloom is by taking advantage of the snow and cold temperatures to do something you enjoy—for me, that activity is snowboarding. 

Being outside and breathing in the crisp mountain air, looking out at the sparkling snow-covered landscape, feeling that good burn in the legs and then getting a good night’s deep sleep are just some of the ways that snowboarding has and continues to help me get through the long McGill winter. 

Snowboarding has proven to be vital for my mental health, helping to relieve stress that has built up throughout the week and allowing me the freedom of getting out of the city for a while. When public health policies allow, there are many ways for McGill students who are interested in snowboarding and skiing to connect and take weekend trips together. 

One way is by joining one of the various clubs at McGill such as SSMUski and the McGill Outdoors Club (MOC). Both groups are a great way to meet fellow riders and skiers of all skill levels who also want to plan trips. Other ways to find fellow skiers or snowboarders include joining McGill groups on social media such as the SSMUski or MOC Facebook pages, or even your entering class group chat. Having access to a car can be a bonus in terms of convenience, but it’s not a necessity as there are daily buses that service Sommet Saint-Sauveur, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, and Mont Tremblant. 

Overall, taking weekend trips can serve as a nice reward for getting through another tough week while also allowing you to meet and befriend fellow McGillians. If you’re looking for a way to have fun and make some good memories this winter, I highly recommend giving the mountain slopes a try!

Winter running: The cold doesn’t have to be your enemy

Hear me out—there is no minimum temperature for running. While many runners take to the treadmill or other forms of exercise during the winter, if you are dressed properly and have the right mindset, running can be a year-round activity. 

A major difference between running in the summer and running in the winter is the air (duh): Colder air is harder to breathe. This, in combination with the more precarious sidewalk conditions that accompany Montreal winters simply means one thing: Slow down! And maybe invest in some Yaktrax.

As a former competitive runner, running slowly always made me feel inadequate. Even well after the days where my times actually mattered, I felt pressured to run quick splits and post my accomplishments on Strava for all three of my followers to see. The winter is a perfect excuse, or reminder, that going slow is not only allowed, but required. Take time to slow down, be in the moment, and try your damndest not to wipe out in the middle of the Y-intersection. 

The McGill running community is vast: With both organized groups like McRun and casual groups of friends or classmates, it is easy for runners of any level to find buddies. And even if you are like me and prefer the meditative effects of running alone, McRun posts challenges on Strava to keep the community feeling alive. 

While Montreal boasts a plethora of activities to help one take full advantage of the winter season, snowboarding and running are two great ways to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and relieve yourself of some academic stress!

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