It’s fairly common for people to to have a hard time being as happy in the winter. Especially in January and February. A quick google search suggested that .5-3% of people have seasonal depression and 10% struggle with it in Utah. I think there are several factors leading to this problem.
- It’s cold.
- The days are shorter.
- With the inversion we don’t see the sun nearly as much as other months.
- There are less breaks from work/school for holidays.
There are probably other reasons, but those are a few that I know a lot of people dislike. I have found a few solutions that help me stay happy in the winter, but the easiest is missile sledding.
What is missile sledding? A missile sled is a brand, it’s an excellent type of sled that is just big enough for your bum. You sit on it and slide down feet first. It has handles on both sides and it’s lightweight, so it’s easy to carry up. The sled also has several lines bulging down the bottom which give you traction and the ability to turn, without sacrificing speed. And the best part is that rather than go to your local sledding hill, you sled down trails. In Utah County the best options are Rock Canyon, and Dry Creek (in Alpine). In SLC Porter Fork up Millcreek Canyon is a blast. So you hike up as far as you want to and then sled down for 15+ minutes. It’s one of the most fun things you can do. It’s as though Mario Kart comes to life as you rip the descents with your friends while racing and sometimes shoving each other off the sleds.
The reason why I say it’s the easiest way is because anyone can do it. There isn’t a learning curve like there is with skiing. It’s also a lot cheaper than a lot of other snow sports. The sleds are $50-75 dollars. It’s also great to do with the whole family, my little brother who’s 9 can absolutely fly and he’s able to hike really far because he knows it’s going to be a super fun descent. When he was younger I would carry him on my lap which was also super fun.
I haven’t tried any of the other sleds that are similar to the Meridian Missile, but they might work okay too. I’ve heard descent things about the sleds with the handle coming up the middle between your legs, but my concern is just that that’s a dangerous spot to have a handle, and I think it’d be harder to carry up.
It’s arguably more fun than skiing and is an excellent way to combat all of the things mentioned at the beginning. It gets you out in the sun, you’re almost always warm when you’re hiking, and it feels like an excellent break in the day.