A fun winter workout in NH's Lakes Region

NH’s Lakes Region offers enough winter sports and recreation opportunities to keep everyone busy this season. What cold weather activities is your family curious to try? Whether it’s skiing, skating, snowshoeing, sledding, or something else, jump in the car and come along for the ride.

Traveling north on I-93 to exit 20, then following Routes 3/11 east/northeast to Route 11A, leads to our first destination, Gunstock Mountain (www.gunstock.com) in Gilford. This popular ski resort really does have a slope or trail for everyone, including absolute beginners. To make first-time skiers and snowboarders (age 6 or older) feel welcome, Gunstock offers Mountain Magic, its nationally recognized and award-winning learn to ski or ride program.

What if downhill skiing or riding is just not your thing? No worries. The mountain also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and the longest snow tubing run in New Hampshire.

When you finish up on the slopes, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to Laconia, where it’s time to lace up your skates and get ready to a twirl around the ice at the Saturday Night Skate Meltdown, held indoors at the Laconia Ice Arena (www.laconiaicearena.com). Each week, all ages are invited to rock around the rink with music, face painting, games, and prizes keeping it fun on and off the ice.

Need to warm up? Laconia has no shortage of places to grab a cup of hot cocoa, including the family-friendly My Coffee House located on Court Street. Hungry? Try Fratello’s Ristorante Italiano (www.fratellos.com) for wood-fired pizza and other Italian specialties.

Once you’re rested and ready, drive a few more miles north on Route 106 to Meredith and the frozen shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. You might be lucky enough to catch a pick-up game of pond hockey. Or if you time your trip right, your family might be on hand to watch the puck drop for 2014’s New England Pond Hockey Classic, held in Meredith from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 (www.pondhockeyclassic.com). Teams fly in from around the country to take part in this growing resurgence of outdoor hockey on the wild frozen lakes and rivers of winter.

From skiing to sledding to skating, if this year’s New Year’s resolution is to be more physically active, consider it mission accomplished.

More fun things to do this winter

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NH State Parks is once again hosting First Day hikes for families

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