Top 5 things to do at a backcountry lodge in the winter

Happily arriving at Skoki Lodge all in one piece the intrepid snowshoe adventurers – that would be Jill and myself – now had two days to kill.  Sounds terrible when it’s put that way, but given that the journey was indeed the destination, there was now the matter of entertaining oneself in the backcountry.

I hadn’t really given it much thought as to what we’d get up to.  Summer would be easy – there are dozens of day hikes and places to explore.  Winter?  Hmmmm.  Despite my efforts to be healthy and outdoorsy, I’m not sure if I wanted to see my snowshoes again after the 11 km, 2 pass crossing endeavour to get there.

Luckily, R&R comes in a variety of forms in the backcountry.  Here are the top five:

5. Day tripping.  Put those snowshoes or skis back on and explore the area.  Skoki staff spend time each morning with guests offering suggestions or directions on where to go depending on skill, ability and time you’d want to spend out in the backcountry that day. Admittedly, we took a short venture out to the meadows chasing the winter sun for tanning opportunities but ended up drinking Baileys in the shade and sinking up to our waists when we went off-trail.

4. Add a friend.  You’re bound to have one or two things in common with your fellow inmates at the lodge.  Start with, “So, you like to ski…”  Break open the whiskey, rustle up a board game (being completely unplugged from mobile devices and the Internet, it’s time to go back to your roots.  Scrabble, Monopoly, Charades, strip Poker, etc.), read some of the ancient novels left behind by other hikers, or tickle the ivories on the old piano.

3. Stargazing.  The unbelievably clear night skies offer up stunning views of the constellations and the Milky Way.  Bundle up with a blanket outside or at least take a quick glance upwards on way to the outhouse in the middle of the night.

2. Napping.  There is nothing sweeter than an afternoon nap, unfettered by duty, chore or responsibility.  Slide under the feather duvet and drift into another world. It’s like getting your life back. Should you be travelling with a significant other, napping could take on a whole other slant.

1. Eating & drinking.  No need for dehydrated food or protein bars on this holiday… backcountry chefs create the most delicious fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Don’t count the calories, you’ll be burning off that beef tenderloin, mushroom risotto and gingerbread cake & toffee sauce when you’re…stargazing.

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