Walking in a Winter Wonderland (literally)

WTD 13This Saturday, January 12th, is Winter Trails Day 2013.  This special day is a national event hosted at hundreds of resorts and nordic centers across the US.  The purpose of the event is to introduce people to the winter sports of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  Last year over 10,000 people participated in Winter Trails Day 2012.  The great part about the event is that it’s free!  Each site will have the experts and equipment on hand to help you get started on your new winter activity. Follow the links at www.wintertrails.org to find out all the information you need to get started.

CC skisThe closest location to Frederick is Liberty Mountain Resort in nearby Carroll Valley, PA.  The events at Liberty run from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm.  No registration is required, although pre-registration will save time when you arrive.  Liberty only offers snowshoeing, no cross-country skiing.  They will have 6 educational stations for you to visit as you take a walk on the snow.  Check out www.libertymountainresort.com for all the details.  They also have a great listing of all the fitness benefits of snowshoeing.  If you want to try the cross-country skiing, you can drive a little further to the west to McHenry, MD.  Wisp Resort will offer both activities on Saturday from 9:00 am- 5:00 pm.  You are limited to a 2-hour time to try things out.  They have some fun activities like a kids snowshoe race, a cross-country skiing scavenger hunt, and a bonfire.  For all the specifics on the day head to www.wispresort.com.

SnowshoesSome quick facts before you head out for your first experience:  Anyone can snowshoe.  There is no fancy equipment or techniques to learn, you can start immediately.  You burn 45% more calories snowshoeing than walking or running at the same speed, 46% of snowshoers are women, 12% are ages 7-17, 55% are under 45 years old, and over 1.4 million participate in the activity annually in the US.   It is a peaceful and serene activity- perfect for the mind, body and soul!

If you always wanted to find a fun winter activity that the whole family could do, this is it (and generally no ski lifts).  All ages can participate and it’s a great workout.  It could also be the start to a great Christmas idea for 2013.  New, or slightly used, equipment and gear can be picked up fairly cheap at an end of season sale or swap this spring.  You can plan now for some travel or outings in winter 2013.  Think of the smiles when the gifts are unwrapped and everyone has a ticket to or a coupon for a family winter fun weekend with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing!


Rockettes Christmas Spectacular – There’s a hole in my bucket

RockettesBack in July, when Christmas was but a dream, Jeremy and I spelled out our bucket lists.  Curiously, both of us wanted to go to Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes. I have always loved the larger-than-life dancing choruses that were first made popular by the Ziegfeld Follies in the early 1900’s.  The first Rockettes show was in 1933, and it continues to sell out the eight week run.  According to the Rockettes.com website, the dancers train six hours a day, six days a week to prepare for 210 Christmas performances. There’s also a national touring show that appears in four major cities, including Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago and Dallas.  I’m missing those, too.

In addition to Radio City’s website, the Rockettes have their own site that gives a lot of detail and history about the lives of the dancers, how to become a Rockette, fashion, and more.  There is a series of videos demonstrating the Rockettes’ timeline from the 1920’s to now, including a video about opening night 2012.

Tradition dictates a toy soldier routine, 12 days of Rockettes Christmas, dancing Santas, and a live nativity. Here’s a video of this year’s “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

This year is their 85th season, and although I won’t be going to see them, there’s no reason why someone can’t purchase the 75th anniversary DVD for me.  Here’s the link on Amazon.

Countdown Podcast #6- 328 Days to Go!

Donkey Time– Click to hear this week’s Podcast.

This week Natalie & Jeremy planned to talk all about snowflakes.  Since it is unseasonably warm and it’s supposed to be over 60 the next two days, they weren’t in that mood at all.  So a last minute change was made and a new show created (much to their assistant Hildy’s dismay).  Today’s topics include more on Donkeys at Christmas- they show up in a number of songs.  Discussion also begins on Candlemas coming up on February 2nd.  Listen in to hear Nat’s review of Christmas Jars and their rough idea for a new holiday song classic.

Football at Christmas

Seems that the next big American holiday is upon us.  Hours of TV specials, decorations, parties, great food, and time with family and friends.  That’s right the Super Bowl is next Sunday!  What does Christmas have to do with football you might be wondering.  Usually football is not a part of Christmas celebrations.  Football is connected more to Thanksgiving.  Traditional NFL games are hosted by certain teams annually.  Families flock to the backyard for annual bragging rights in “flag” football domination.  2011 was one of those years that Christmas fell on a Sunday.  Sundays in December are prime football territory.  Teams are vying for playoff spots and millions tune in to see the story of the week.  So what happens when the two meet?  Usually there are 14 games on a Sunday in late December.  How is it decided what happens?  Believe it or not, the NFL has guidelines/rules about football and Christmas.

The NFL has only played Christmas games since 1989.  There have been 17 games played on Christmas day and only 16 teams have participated.  Here’s how it’s all figured out.  When Christmas is on a Sunday, most of the games are moved to the 24th, Christmas Eve, and one game will be played on Christmas night.  This was the case in 2011.  The games moved to Christmas Eve must be played before 9 PM local time. This is due to the guideline that no games be played from 9 PM local time on the 24th until 5 PM Eastern Standard Time on the 25th. They even have it covered in case Christmas Eve is a Monday.  When this happens they make sure to schedule West coast teams for Monday Night Football.  This fits within the rules.

2011’s Christmas game was played in Green Bay at Lambeau field.  The Packers beat the Chicago Bears 35-21.  This is the second time the two teams met in Green Bay for a Christmas contest.  In 2005 the visiting Bears were victorious.  If it all seems a little complicated to you, don’t fear.  You have until 2016 before the NFL will have another Christmas Sunday.  

TRIVIA QUESTION:  Which NFL team has played the most Christmas games at five?  Post your response in the comments section. Correct responses will get some recognition from us here at The Yule Log.