According to Statista, the most commonly made New Year’s resolutions are eating healthier and losing weight. But it can be hard to stick to a resolution like this if you’re used to being a homebody in the winter. When January 1 comes around, it’s easy to choose a good book and crackling fire over bundling and braving the outdoors.
Winter Getaways & Workouts
Yet, as a destination built on the spirit of play, we know that outdoor experiences and experiential travel can prime your body and mind for the year ahead. So supply all the gear, guides and warmth necessary to enjoy winter to the fullest.
Winter getaways can also jumpstart your fitness goals. We’ve used our robust winter activities program and our own Montana winter experiences to inspire this blog. The Ranch at Rock Creek is a “choose your own adventure” of winter fun. We suggest guests channel their sense of childlike wonder and pick what suits their bodies and ambitions best—a heart-pumping workout or a serene, slow-paced wander.
Below is a list of our winter vacation activities in order of approximate calories burned per hour for a 150-pound person. If you can’t visit us at The Ranch, we hope they can inspire you to get out before it’s too late and these amazing workouts are gone again for another year.
1. Cross-Country Skiing | 450-1300 calories/hour
Cross-country skiing is best on peaceful terrain without large crowds. A person of 150 pounds can expect to burn about 450 calories per hour going at slow speeds on flat ground, and over 1,300 calories per hour on an uphill course. We love this activity because it allows you to cover the expanse of The Ranch using over 20 miles of converted hiking trails and requires very little training to get into the groove. It calls for balance, endurance and an adventurous spirit.
2. Winter Fat Biking | 600-1,000 calories/hour
In 2016, The Ranch began offering fat tire biking year-round. It gave us another great way to get out on 20+miles of trails in the snow. Where navigating these trails is near impossible in a regular mountain bike in the winter, it is possible on a fat tire bike. It takes a lot more energy to get over snowpack than dirt, meaning this is a bonafide calorie killer.
3. Snowshoe Trekking | 650 calories/hour
Akin to hiking, snowshoeing is another great way to be part of the wilderness, while shedding the pounds. State-of-the-art snowshoes no longer resemble tennis rackets. The lightweight frames and toe blade slide along the snow and allow you to climb hills quickly. Like many winter sports, you can add poles to engage your arms and make it a full-body workout. Add a 10 to 15 pound pack, such as a camera and tripod, for an additional 150+ calories per hour. Many locals keep a pair of snowshoes in the back of their car, in case they can find some time to fit in a little trek across a gorgeous expanse.
4. Ice Skating | 398-700 calories/hour
Don’t relegate this activity to a childhood hobby. There aren’t many activities that can develop your balance and coordination like ice skating. A few days of dedication will have you circling the pond with relative ease. Our Granite Lodge has an adjoining pond and warming shed, where the ice is alit for night-time skating and hockey games. An hour-long hockey game amps up the exertion, burning 500 to 700 calories. Every Wednesday, guests enjoy our Frost & Fire cocktail hour with skating on Bikini Pond.
5. Downhill Skiing or Snowboarding | 409-654 calories/hour
The belle of the snow ball, downhill skiing can be a family day or a solo sport. Although the force of gravity does some of the work, few skiers are likely to stay on the hill for a single hour. You might find yourself having burned upwards of 3,000 calories as you head out to an après-ski. The sport takes guidance, skill, balance and strong muscles. Our Ski Concierge takes visitors to Discovery Ski Area, just 25 miles away, with 67 runs and seven lifts. Thanks to its off-set location, Discovery skiers can expect to get a good workout enjoying the shortest lift lines in Montana. We include skiing and snowboarding for all winter guests.
6. Winter Horseback Riding | 204-740 calories/hour
Sure-footed horses can traverse large distances and steep, snowy terrain in no time. Meanwhile, there’s an emotional bond that forms when relying on an animal so fully. Horseback riding rides the line of hobby and sport, while being an excellent leg, hip and ab workout. An hour of galloping is likely to burn 740 calories per hour, but unless you are in our advanced equestrian program, learning pole bending or barrel racing, you’re unlikely to keep to that advanced pace throughout the ride. Surprisingly, even grooming a horse for an hour can burn around 490 calories.
For guests looking to channel their inner rancher, trapper or frontiersman, we’re offering the Indulgent Frontiersman special. Travelers can opt for a survival skills challenge, shooting and riding excursion, ice fishing adventure and more.
7. Sledding | 300-570 calories/hour
Sledding is a nostalgic activity for most adults. Enjoy the rush of hurtling down a hill on powdery snow. Our sledding excursions on Elk Ridge include a shuttle, but you can get your heart pumping more by climbing the hill between runs. Other calorie-melting winter family activities include making a snowman, which will shave off 285 calories per hour, and a snowball fight totalling 320 more calories per hour.
8. Snowmobiling | 286 calories/hour
If you’d rather have mechanical horsepower than horses, modern snowmobiles are equipped to offer a thrilling adventure. The sport requires deep, fresh snow, warm gear and acres of wilderness. Riding our hills and pastures gets the heart pumping quickly.
9. Ice Fishing | 250-320 calories/hour
Snow and ice can’t stop a fisherman from casting his line. During an ice fishing trip, you combine strategy with meditative concentration. This year, we’re offering ice fishing on Mallard Pond. This activity can be a half an hour or a full day, depending upon your preferences. For those who want to go a step further, we can arrange an off-Ranch excursion to picturesque Georgetown Lake to enjoy the local fly fishing mecca. In the spring, summer and fall, fishing continues to deliver valuable exercise. Wading into the river is a form of resistance training, burning 500 to 700 calories per hour.
Learning to shoot pistols, rifles or clay pigeons will raise your heart rate and improve hand-eye coordination. Anyone new to shooting should start with a seasoned instructor to learn proper form and safety. Our ranges come equipped with partially-enclosed shelters and heaters, so your arms will stay warm and strong as you hit your targets.
As with any sport, your pace and heart-rate are essential in calculating your final tally. Happy New Year! May it be filled with new, inspiring experiences.