As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into New Hampshire’s long and cold winter, it is important to find activities that bring you joy. While it may not always seem like it, there are plenty of things to do to keep yourself busy and break the winter blues. You just have to know where to find them! Here is a guide on six ways to make the most of winter, pandemic-style.
Go Skiing or Snowboarding
If you don’t already know how to ski or board, now is the perfect time to learn! Hitting the slopes may just be exactly what you need as a break from your online class routine. Head to Cannon for a $5 lift ticket and $16 ski or snowboard rentals. Just remember to bring a ski-savvy friend with you, as lessons are not being offered this year due to the pandemic. For an even better deal, book a free lesson (rentals included) at Ragged Mountain on any Monday – Thursday through March 11: A perfect activity for PSU’s weekday campus holiday coming up on March 9.
Hiking is another great way to experience the beauty of our area. If you’re looking for something within walking distance, there is a nice path behind the dirt lot along the Baker River. A car gets you more places, but you won’t have to drive far: there are some great hikes all within about 20 minutes of PSU. I recommend the quick and easy trek into Rainbow Falls, an attraction within the Walter Newton Natural Area. The preserve is only a seven-minute drive from campus. Other popular and nearby intermediate options are Plymouth Mountain (12 mins away), Stinson Mountain (18 mins away), and West Rattlesnake Mountain via the Old Bridle Path (21 mins away).
Go Cross-Country Skiing
It’s easy to forget about cross-country skiing while being offered $5 lift tickets to Cannon and being surrounded by the biggest mountains in the Northeast. However, the Plymouth area has no shortage of beautiful places to ski on flat ground, too. Head down to the Outdoor Center and they can set you up with cross country boots, skis, and poles for free, and they are yours for up to two weeks. You won’t have to go far to use them, either. The forest behind Langdon Woods has a big network of trails. If you are looking for even more, you can take a 25-minute drive to Green Woodlands, a family foundation that maintains over 50 km of cross-country ski trails that are free for public use.
Utilize PSU Campus Recreation
On cold days, there are still ways to stay active indoors through PSU Campus Recreation. The gym is open, but space is available on a lottery basis. Students are randomly selected after signing up on a link from @plymstaterec on Instagram. In addition, the popular intramural basketball season will be underway soon. Teams will play in smaller bubbles with less competition between different groups. Those who didn’t get a gym spot or wish to be active in the comfort of their home are not out of luck. PSU is proud to be a member of the National Recreation Movement, an online platform where hundreds of universities offer Zoom classes on yoga, cardio, Pilates, dance, and even meditation. Be sure to connect with PSU Campus Recreation on Instagram and Facebook for more information.
Give Back at the Office of Community Impact
In difficult times like this, it is important to help each other out, and remember Plymouth State’s motto: Ut Prosim: That I May Serve. Students looking for service opportunities during the pandemic can attend one of the many initiatives offered by the Office of Community Impact (OCI). There are opportunities to work in-person or virtually with community partners like Ladders Thrift Store, The Pemi Youth Center, Plymouth Parks & Recreation, and others. Additionally, students can always be on the lookout for ways to serve through community cleanups, Project Linus blanket making, book drives, the Give it Forward project, and more. There are also online ways to stay engaged through the Coffee and Community Zoom sessions every other Wednesday at 10:00 am, and Let’s Talk Tuesdays once a month. If you are looking to get involved, stop by HUB Room 039 or learn more from OCI’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Join a Club
If you aren’t already involved in a club on campus, I highly recommend it. Depending on the size of the club, meetings may be in-person or on Zoom. While I’m sure we are all growing tired of seeing each other in little squares, joining virtual club meetings is still a way to meet new people, build your résumé, and keep yourself busy. However, with no club fair this semester, students may not know how to join. Luckily, there is a comprehensive list of PSU’s 100+ clubs and organizations. Just click on the club that interests you, and then contact them via the form provided. It’s that easy!
Pandemic or not, we are lucky as PSU students to be offered ways to stay active, new activities to try, and organizations to join. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities and make the most of a tough time.
Reed Silvers ‘23 is an Environmental Planning major with minors in Expository Writing and Political Science from Portland, ME. Reed is the treasurer of the PSU Geography Club, a writer for The Clock, and a member of the French Club. When he’s not in class or at a club meeting, you can find him giving a tour of campus to a prospective family, playing frisbee on the Mary Lyon Lawn, or enjoying the White Mountains.