25 ways to love North Idaho’s winter, even if you dislike it

By Shane Richard Bell

Staff writer/Coeur d’Alene Press

1. WRITE A LETTER. Take a moment and write an old friend or relative a hand-written letter. Tap into history and impress. Maybe even purchase some unique stationery. Be really fancy and try your hand at quill and ink. Intentionally reconnecting through letters is bound to improve intelligence, open your mind, and touch someone in a sincere way.

2. BUILD A SNOWMAN. Think outside of coal and carrots, if you will. Maybe your “snowman” is your pet, favorite actor, or ex father-in-law (just don’t let him see it). It’s your choice, your masterpiece. Snow is an abundant art supply, so take advantage of it. Involve the family. Document it. Make a memory, and or a Christmas card.

3. SLEDDING. If you’re a kid, go sledding. If you’re an adult, go sledding. It’s that simple. Sledding equals unadulterated and affordable winter fun.

4.  VOLUNTEER WITH YOUR DOWN TIME. Serving at a soup kitchen when you were 12 does not count. Non-profits and churches are ubiquitous in Cd’A. We undoubtedly live in a giving community, so find an outlet you want to champion and take the plunge. Volunteers make missions successful. Even serving once or a twice a month will get you out of yourself and curb winter blues.

5. ENROLL IN QUILITING. If you love to sew, quilting is an outstanding and gratifying challenge. It’s practical and crafty. Make a handmade quilt for yourself or for someone you love as a Christmas gift; it’s a present someone will never forget. Fear not, no one has ever rightfully re-gifted a quilt.

6. TAKE A COOKING CLASS. Bring a friend, significant other, or spouse. Add some flare and fare to your winter. Surely you can expand your palate and learn some new techniques, dishes and styles. Bake your own bread, or prepare a savory stew or soup. Make a meal and invite family and friends over. They’ll appreciate the gesture.

7. GO ICE FISHING. You don’t have to live in Nome, Alaska to go ice fishing. You can ice fish right here for some of Idaho’s finest fish. Ice fishermen flock to Fernan Lake, only minutes from downtown Cd’A, for a variety of fish and thick ice depending on the month and the weather conditions. Please check for details. Benewah Lake and Koocanusa Lake are other great ice-fishing hotspots within a day’s drive from Coeur d’Alene.

8. TRY ICE SKATING, again. Traumatic childhood experience? Clumsy? Intimidated by world-class Russian skaters? Cast off your fear and try one of winter’s most exhilarating activities. Once you’ve gained your bearings, blood rushing to your head and rosy cheeks, you’ll be making laps in no time. Ice-skating is fun for all ages, and is terrific exercise.  Note to self: ice-skating rinks are notoriously romantic. Think “Happy Gilmore” or “Serendipity.”

9. MAKE ART. Build a birdhouse. Cut out and design your own bookmarks. Make jewelry. Dig out your paints and canvases and finish that painting at the back of your closet. Hang your creation up in your house, marvel at your artistic talent. Save money on expensive decorations. Make a Christmas gift. Foster another person’s artistic talent. Let go, and use your own creative license!

10. CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING or SNOWSHOEING. Dismantle the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing decorations and put them to use. Every one is tired of looking at them on the wall instead of on your feet. Trek through rugged North Idaho scenery. Experience the outdoors in winter. Find a mountain stream and let the snowflakes fall upon your tongue. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are phenomenal ways to see nature, exercise, and spend quality time with those whom you love most.

11. LITERARY LINES. Poetry reading? Book signing? Lecture? Learn something you’re unfamiliar with and support local talent.

12. SING. Organize a group of friends from your church, job, or social circle to devote one night to caroling in your neighborhood or nearby assisted living home. Exercise your singing skills and good will by blessing someone who might find the holidays lonely and sad with the warmth and reminiscence of music.

13. BELLY LAUGH. Make a splurge and buy tickets to a comedy show.

14. SWIM. Warm up at a local indoor water park. Zip around a slide. Be a kid, or take your kids. Organize a human train. Lighten up. Forget the chatter in your worrisome mind.

15. LOOSEN UP.  Chances are you’re ignoring your body. Between scraping ice sheets off your windshield, rushing off to work late, and spilling coffee on your starched collared shirt, you’ve most likely managed to neglect your body. Rest. Indulge in a massage. Loosen up with a pedicure. Relax with a manicure.

16. SIGN UP. North Idaho has a plethora of gyms for every person’s needs. Committing to a gym membership and carving out time in your schedule for physical exercise will enhance mental and physical health, boost your self-esteem, improve your immune system from winter sickness, and give you a leg up on that swimsuit body displayed on the magazine rack at the grocery store that continually haunts you.

17. BIRDING. Be an eyewitness to North Idaho’s most majestic raptors. Spot an osprey nest or an eagle diving into frigid waters for a slithery fish. Take a shot at wildlife photography. Sport your film camera. Be a tourist for a day and participate in a local bird watching group at one of the nation’s most prized lakes, Lake Coeur d’Alene.

18. SNOWMOBILING. Bundle up for a blast. Mobilize the family. Snowmobiling is like a never-ending ride through a natural theme park. Fly off a jump, scale a peak, dart through a powdery chute lined with jutting rock faces and snow-caked trees. Packed with adrenaline and fueled with excitement, snowmobiling in North Idaho is one of winter’s most thrilling activities.

19. SKIING. Ski and snowboard North Idaho’s best resorts: Lookout, Silver, and Schweitzer.

20. FESTIVITIES.  Festival of Trees; Coeur d’Alene Holiday Light Show and cruises; plan your own holiday party. Collectively partake in our community’s holiday events.

21. HUNT ZOMBIES- Did you know that you can hunt real-life zombie actors with a simulated weapon downtown Cd’A? I didn’t. But it’s true, at the Shoot House at 403 North 2nd Street, about three blocks from downtown Cd’A, you can be right in the middle of your own zombie apocalypse. Find out more, the zombies are waiting for you. The Shoot House also offers one-on-one firearms training courses and a specialty firearms store next door, Downtown Guns and Ammo.

22. POLAR BEAR PLUNGE AND HANGOVER HANDICAP- Yes, it’s what you think it is. Join a moment of temporary insanity, of free will in full force, and dive into Lake Coeur d’Alene with 500 other locals on New Year’s Day at noon on Sanders Beach. And, don’t forget the same day, the infamous Hangover Handicap 5-mile fun run. Sweat out holiday impurities and run around Fernan Lake at 9am. The roads are quiet, and the spirits high. You can do both wacky activities the same day.

23. GET OUT OF DODGE- Take a respite from gray skies and dwindling daylight. Take a trip to a different hemisphere; explore a world you’ve never known. Make your life the story you’ve always dreamed of. Warm up your bones and brighten your spirit at a Mexican resort, a cruise through the Caribbean, or a vacation to Hawaii.

24. WINE and DINE- New Year’s is coming, and you’re in dire need of trying something new. Enjoy an exquisite bottle of wine at the Coeur d’Alene Cellars. Relish in one of the Satay Bistro’s American fusion dishes. Feel the rhythm of live jazz at The Cellar downtown.

25. SPIRIT OF LIFE- Act out the true meaning of Christmas and pause from the cacophony of consumerism. Embody authenticity. Blow away someone with genuine generosity. Give without payment. You know best what those around you need. Pay for everyone’s lunch. Bring an acquaintance his or her favorite coffee and breakfast. Go deeper. Deliver groceries to your neighbor who recently got laid off. Compliment someone. Smile. Say phrases with the words “love,” “appreciate,” and “genuine.” Hug someone; kiss them on both cheeks like the Italians, OK maybe be careful with that one. The point is, give with the spirit of life by giving freely and liberally.
By Shane Richard Bell

1. WRITE A LETTER. Take a moment and write an old friend or relative a hand-written letter. Tap into history and impress. Maybe even purchase some unique stationery. Be really fancy and try your hand at quill and ink. Intentionally reconnecting through letters is bound to improve intelligence, open your mind, and touch someone in a sincere way.

2. BUILD A SNOWMAN. Think outside of coal and carrots, if you will. Maybe your “snowman” is your pet, favorite actor, or ex father-in-law (just don’t let him see it). It’s your choice, your masterpiece. Snow is an abundant art supply, so take advantage of it. Involve the family. Document it. Make a memory, and or a Christmas card.

3. SLEDDING. If you’re a kid, go sledding. If you’re an adult, go sledding. It’s that simple. Sledding equals unadulterated and affordable winter fun.

4.  VOLUNTEER WITH YOUR DOWN TIME. Serving at a soup kitchen when you were 12 does not count. Non-profits and churches are ubiquitous in Cd’A. We undoubtedly live in a giving community, so find an outlet you want to champion and take the plunge. Volunteers make missions successful. Even serving once or a twice a month will get you out of yourself and curb winter blues.

5. ENROLL IN QUILITING. If you love to sew, quilting is an outstanding and gratifying challenge. It’s practical and crafty. Make a handmade quilt for yourself or for someone you love as a Christmas gift; it’s a present someone will never forget. Fear not, no one has ever rightfully re-gifted a quilt.

6. TAKE A COOKING CLASS. Bring a friend, significant other, or spouse. Add some flare and fare to your winter. Surely you can expand your palate and learn some new techniques, dishes and styles. Bake your own bread, or prepare a savory stew or soup. Make a meal and invite family and friends over. They’ll appreciate the gesture.

7. GO ICE FISHING. You don’t have to live in Nome, Alaska to go ice fishing. You can ice fish right here for some of Idaho’s finest fish. Ice fishermen flock to Fernan Lake, only minutes from downtown Cd’A, for a variety of fish and thick ice depending on the month and the weather conditions. Please check for details. Benewah Lake and Koocanusa Lake are other great ice-fishing hotspots within a day’s drive from Coeur d’Alene.

8. TRY ICE SKATING, again. Traumatic childhood experience? Clumsy? Intimidated by world-class Russian skaters? Cast off your fear and try one of winter’s most exhilarating activities. Once you’ve gained your bearings, blood rushing to your head and rosy cheeks, you’ll be making laps in no time. Ice-skating is fun for all ages, and is terrific exercise.  Note to self: ice-skating rinks are notoriously romantic. Think “Happy Gilmore” or “Serendipity.”

9. MAKE ART. Build a birdhouse. Cut out and design your own bookmarks. Make jewelry. Dig out your paints and canvases and finish that painting at the back of your closet. Hang your creation up in your house, marvel at your artistic talent. Save money on expensive decorations. Make a Christmas gift. Foster another person’s artistic talent. Let go, and use your own creative license!

10. CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING or SNOWSHOEING. Dismantle the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing decorations and put them to use. Every one is tired of looking at them on the wall instead of on your feet. Trek through rugged North Idaho scenery. Experience the outdoors in winter. Find a mountain stream and let the snowflakes fall upon your tongue. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are phenomenal ways to see nature, exercise, and spend quality time with those whom you love most.

11. LITERARY LINES. Poetry reading? Book signing? Lecture? Learn something you’re unfamiliar with and support local talent.

12. SING. Organize a group of friends from your church, job, or social circle to devote one night to caroling in your neighborhood or nearby assisted living home. Exercise your singing skills and good will by blessing someone who might find the holidays lonely and sad with the warmth and reminiscence of music.

13. BELLY LAUGH. Make a splurge and buy tickets to a comedy show.

14. SWIM. Warm up at a local indoor water park. Zip around a slide. Be a kid, or take your kids. Organize a human train. Lighten up. Forget the chatter in your worrisome mind.

15. LOOSEN UP.  Chances are you’re ignoring your body. Between scraping ice sheets off your windshield, rushing off to work late, and spilling coffee on your starched collared shirt, you’ve most likely managed to neglect your body. Rest. Indulge in a massage. Loosen up with a pedicure. Relax with a manicure.

16. SIGN UP. North Idaho has a plethora of gyms for every person’s needs. Committing to a gym membership and carving out time in your schedule for physical exercise will enhance mental and physical health, boost your self-esteem, improve your immune system from winter sickness, and give you a leg up on that swimsuit body displayed on the magazine rack at the grocery store that continually haunts you.

17. BIRDING. Be an eyewitness to North Idaho’s most majestic raptors. Spot an osprey nest or an eagle diving into frigid waters for a slithery fish. Take a shot at wildlife photography. Sport your film camera. Be a tourist for a day and participate in a local bird watching group at one of the nation’s most prized lakes, Lake Coeur d’Alene.

18. SNOWMOBILING. Bundle up for a blast. Mobilize the family. Snowmobiling is like a never-ending ride through a natural theme park. Fly off a jump, scale a peak, dart through a powdery chute lined with jutting rock faces and snow-caked trees. Packed with adrenaline and fueled with excitement, snowmobiling in North Idaho is one of winter’s most thrilling activities.

19. SKIING. Ski and snowboard North Idaho’s best resorts: Lookout, Silver, and Schweitzer.

20. FESTIVITIES.  Festival of Trees; Coeur d’Alene Holiday Light Show and cruises; plan your own holiday party. Collectively partake in our community’s holiday events.

21. HUNT ZOMBIES- Did you know that you can hunt real-life zombie actors with a simulated weapon downtown Cd’A? I didn’t. But it’s true, at the Shoot House at 403 North 2nd Street, about three blocks from downtown Cd’A, you can be right in the middle of your own zombie apocalypse. Find out more, the zombies are waiting for you. The Shoot House also offers one-on-one firearms training courses and a specialty firearms store next door, Downtown Guns and Ammo.

22. POLAR BEAR PLUNGE AND HANGOVER HANDICAP- Yes, it’s what you think it is. Join a moment of temporary insanity, of free will in full force, and dive into Lake Coeur d’Alene with 500 other locals on New Year’s Day at noon on Sanders Beach. And, don’t forget the same day, the infamous Hangover Handicap 5-mile fun run. Sweat out holiday impurities and run around Fernan Lake at 9am. The roads are quiet, and the spirits high. You can do both wacky activities the same day.

23. GET OUT OF DODGE- Take a respite from gray skies and dwindling daylight. Take a trip to a different hemisphere; explore a world you’ve never known. Make your life the story you’ve always dreamed of. Warm up your bones and brighten your spirit at a Mexican resort, a cruise through the Caribbean, or a vacation to Hawaii.

24. WINE and DINE- New Year’s is coming, and you’re in dire need of trying something new. Enjoy an exquisite bottle of wine at the Coeur d’Alene Cellars. Relish in one of the Satay Bistro’s American fusion dishes. Feel the rhythm of live jazz at The Cellar downtown.

25. SPIRIT OF LIFE- Act out the true meaning of Christmas and pause from the cacophony of consumerism. Embody authenticity. Blow away someone with genuine generosity. Give without payment. You know best what those around you need. Pay for everyone’s lunch. Bring an acquaintance his or her favorite coffee and breakfast. Go deeper. Deliver groceries to your neighbor who recently got laid off. Compliment someone. Smile. Say phrases with the words “love,” “appreciate,” and “genuine.” Hug someone; kiss them on both cheeks like the Italians, OK maybe be careful with that one. The point is, give with the spirit of life by giving freely and liberally.

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