Winter camping is serious business. You know the routine: Dress properly, build the right kind of shelter (or buy the right kind of tent), eat the right kind of food and drink plenty of water.
Dress in layers, watch your buddies for frostbite, don’t leave your water bottle in the snow overnight, and, whatever you do, do NOT allow yourself to get wet. If you do, change into dry clothes immediately!
Yes, there are a lot of rules, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some serious fun, too. Snow camping provides a good opportunity for activities unique to this time of the year.
Here are a few activities we came up with. Can you think of more?
TUG OF WAR
Try a tug of war with a twist — the losing team crashes through a wall of snow.
It’s easy enough to execute. Build a wall of snow at least chest high, split into two teams with hands on opposite ends of a rope and start pulling.
Overachievers will build a taller wall, get it nice and compact, then carve out a hold through which the rope can run.
Set up a baseball diamond with a mound of snow representing home plate and first, second and third bases. Place an empty water bottle on the top of each mound.
The “pitcher” stands in the middle of the diamond and hurls snowballs first a home plate, then around the bases. Whoever knocks down the bottles with the fewest pitches wins.
It’s one of the oldest sports of all time, but snow adds a whole new element. In the snow, you don’t race on your feet. Instead, try scooting on cross-country skis, sleds, skates and, if you’re really cool, your belly.
You can also try sliding down a slight incline on garbage-can lids, inner tubes, plastic flying disks or heavy cardboard.
Take some time to smooth out a “fairway” and a “green.” Take an open can and plant it in the snow—this is the hole.
For golf balls, use hockey pucks. For clubs, use hockey sticks or real golf clubs.
ALASKA SERUM RACE
The doctor needs this serum in order to save the patient, and time is running out.
Split into patrols of two or more Scouts. Each patrol gets a sled with a rope tied to the front.
All patrols must transport the “serum” to the doctor by crossing four stations (landmarks spread across the campsite). Each patrol starts with one Scout pulling the rest on the sled. At each station, the Scouts rotate so a different one is doing the pulling.
First patrol to reach the doctor wins.
For an added twist, compete as individuals, and make the serum a cup of water filled to the brim that sits on the sled. If the serum spills, you’re done.
The snowmen you built as kids aren’t good enough anymore. We demand a masterpiece.
Split into patrols and compete in a snow-carving competition. Out of a mound of snow, create a work of art. (Hint: It doesn’t have to be a sculpture of a person.)
The patrol with the most creative snow sculpture (as judged by the unbiased adult leaders) wins the competition.