January is here and that means snow and snow sports galore. Operations at the local ski resorts are in full swing and people are hitting the slopes and having fun. Johnstown area residents are taking advantage of special deals for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. But the Johnstown has so much more outdoor recreation to offer, even in winter.
This Saturday, January 12, 2013 is Winter Trails Day. Winter Trails Day was developed to help introduce children and adults alike to some great snow sports on the trails. It is a day dedicated to helping people learn about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. These two activities are easy to learn and are also a great way to get outdoors during the winter. This will be the 18th year for the event and will involve about 100 resorts and nordic ski centers throughout the country. This includes 10 Pennsylvania State Parks. Four of those state parks are located in the Johnstown area. Here in the Johnstown area we have many trails that are great for these activities. Most of the programs provided for the day are free. There are several opportunities around the Johnstown area.
Here are a few places where you can take advantage of Winter Trails Day activities in the Johnstown area.
Keystone State Park is offering the Snowshoe Shuffle on Saturday. The program takes place at the park from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. You will learn about snow shoeing and enjoy a short hike to enjoy the wintertime nature in the park. Bring a mug and enjoy some coffee and cookies after the program. There is no cost for the program, but pre-registration is required. You can register by calling 724-668-2566 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keystone is located about fifty-five minutes west of Johnstown in Westmoreland County.
Ohiopyle State Park is also celebrating Winter Trails Day with a program. They will be presenting a chance to try out Snowshoeing on Saturday. The event takes place at the Meadow Run Slides Parking Lot. Come out from 10:00 a.m. until noon for to receive a lesson on snowshoeing and getting a chance to try them out. No pre-registration is required but equipment is available on a first come basis. For more information call the park at 724-329-0986. Ohiopyle is located about an hour and thirty minutes southwest of Johnstown.
If you don’t mind a little longer trip, Jennings Environmental Education Center has both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing programs planned for Saturday. They have a snowshoeing and cross-country skiing program in the morning from 10:00 a.m. until noon and then again in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Equipment for the cross-country skiing is not provided, but snowshoeing equipment is provided. Registration is required for all programs. You can register by calling the center at 724-794-6011 or by clicking on one of the links provided below. For the snowshoeing programs, you must register by Wednesday, January 9 at 4:00 p.m. Jennings is located about an hour and fifty-five minutes northwest of Johnstown near Slippery Rock.
- Cross-country skiing morning session
- Snowshoeing morning session
- Cross-country skiing afternoon session
- Snowshoeing afternoon session
One other event takes place on Saturday is at Kooser State Park. Venture Outdoors will be offering the Level I Cross-country Skiing course at the park from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. This program will help beginners learn to cross-country ski. This program does have a cost of $24 for non-members and $18 for members and does not include equipment. You can make arrangements to rent equipment for the program if needed. To register for this program, contact Venture Outdoors directly by calling 412-255-0564. Kooser is located about fifty-five minutes southwest of Johnstown near Seven Springs and Hidden Valley.
So join in Winter Trails Day on Saturday and learn to cross-country ski or snowshoe. These programs are dependent on the weather, so check it out before you go. Snow conditions could change quickly on Friday and Saturday with temperatures expected to be near 50 on Friday and near 60 on Saturday.