Park Place: Snow Days

We know, you don't want to think about it. But there are great ways to make the most of winter in the park. 

Hit the Trails ... On Skis » Cross-country skiing is a cool way to cover some ground, and you don't even have to own skis to give it a try. When snow depths are 6 inches or greater, you can rent skis at the park's Winter Sports Center at Kendall Lake Shelter for $15 per day or $7.50 for three hours. A limited number of children's skis are available, as is instruction (advanced registration is required). "It's a sport that's easy to do but involves a certain technique," says interpretive ranger Paul Motts. The park website provides a list of trails, ranging from less than 2 miles in length to just under 20. Kendall Lake Shelter, Kendall Park Road (1.6 miles west of Akron Cleveland Road), Boston Heights

... Or Snowshoes » When snowfall tops 4 inches, visitors can strap on snowshoes for a $5 rental fee. Rentals are available at both the Winter Sports Center and Boston Store, and you can snowshoe on all park trails except the Ritchie Ledges and Brandywine Falls trail routes. "[It's] a unique experience because it's quiet and peaceful, and you make almost no noise," Motts says. "You can hear all the sounds that nature provides." Kendall Lake Shelter, Kendall Park Road (1.6 miles west of Akron Cleveland Road), Boston Heights; 1548 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula

Go Sledding » For those who live in the flatter parts of our region, places to sled can be difficult to find. And even if there are some near you, they may not measure up to the rolling Kendall Hills. The parking area at the Pine Hollow Trailhead off Quick Road is huge, but the best part about Kendall Hills may be the variety of sledding options in one spot. "There's a nice mixture of hills," Mott says, "from long ones to shorter ones good for small children." 5465 Quick Road, Peninsula

Hit the Slopes » Between the Cuyahoga Valley's twin ski resorts of Boston Mills and Brandywine, there's a total of 88 acres of slopes. If skiing isn't your style, you can always go tubing at Brandywine. "We have a •magic carpet," ... which is a conveyer belt that carries you up so you don't have to walk up the hill, and you can maximize your time tubing," says marketing and public relations director Steve Mackle. Both resorts offer equipment rentals, lessons and food. If you want a quieter experience, Mackle advises heading down on a weekday morning. "It's nice getting up early and getting those first tracks on the slope." Boston Mills Ski Resort, 7100 Riverview Road, Peninsula; Brandywine, 1146 W. Highland Road, Sagamore Hills,

Cut Down your own Christmas Tree » Don't pull that fake pine out again this year. Take the family and go cut one down yourself. The privately owned Heritage Farms in Peninsula grows trees for just the occasion. "They are pretty much an establishment in Peninsula," says Diane Seskes, president of the Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce. "It's a tradition. There are families that have gone there to get their trees for years." Of course, if you'd rather not cut it down yourself, there are precut ones available, too. If you don't want to wait until winter, Pumpkin Pandemonium kicks up at the farm once October rolls around. "There are games and mazes," Seskes says. "They've been known to sell out of their pumpkins two weeks before Halloween." 6050 Riverview Road, Peninsula, 330-657-2330

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