Whether you like it or not, winter is coming. You might as well make the most of it. The snow falling and the holiday season unlock a whole new realm of possibilities in the Louisville area, or just a short drive away.
Just because we’re in Kentucky in the kind-of-Midwest-maybe-South-does-anybody-really-know, doesn’t mean we don’t know how to live it up during the winter here at home. We don’t need any mountains for extreme winter activities.
1. Take A Winter Trip Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge is a beautiful getaway just a little under two hours away, near Lexington. The winter season offers the lowest rates of the year, half the price of what it would cost to rent a cabin in the summer. The Gorge is no less gorgeous in the winter. In fact, it’s the Kentucky countryside up-close-and-personal in a way you’ve never seen it before. The Gorge in the winter is like experiencing a whole new Gorge.
So, drive out to the country and cozy up by the fireside in a cabin in the woods. Many of them are equipped with a hot tub, pool table, and some of them even have bunk beds, so there’s plenty of room for activities.
2. Tubing, Skiing And Snowboarding At Perfect North
Just about 90 minutes north of Louisville lies Perfect North (go figure). Perfect North is known for its beautifully groomed runs. From the bunny hills to the double diamonds, this place can offer a challenge to any skill level. Okay, most skill levels. This isn’t Lake Tahoe, but for Kentuckiana, it suits us just fine.
The slopes can stay open ’til 1:00 AM on the weekends. Take the “Magic Carpet” back up to the top of the hill. What is the Magic Carpet, you ask? It’s a giant, people-sized conveyor belt (God Bless America), so you don’t have to strain yourself if you want to take the less-extreme route. However, you get out there on those ski slopes if you’re feeling athletic. There is not one, but two, terrain parks.
3. Sledding At Dog Hill In Cherokee Park
You’re never too old for sledding. As soon as the first snowflake hits the ground, Louisvillians either go one of two places: Kroger, to load up on all of the bread, milk and eggs they can afford to bunker down and make French Toast until the snow melts, or to Dog Hill to YOLO.
Sure, it can get crowded, but there are a few advantages to this: all of the most fun people in the city are going to be there, and once enough people have gone down the hill, it gets packed into a sheet of ice, thus enabling you to break the sound barrier by the time you hit the slopes. We’re not saying it’s a good idea to take a page out of Out Cold’s book and chug a beer on the race to the bottom, but we’re not saying it’s a bad idea, either.
If you’re not from around here, the Scenic Loop in Cherokee Park is a one-way road. Just follow head to the park and follow the road until you get to the top of a hill with a bunch of people sledding down it. You can’t miss it.
From November 21st through January 4th, one of Louisville’s greatest holiday light shows is actually underground. The Louisville Mega Cavern is transformed into a winter wonderland for the winter, presenting a self-guided holiday light show. This is the only holiday light show of its kind on the planet. It’s a 30 minute tour with 850 illuminated characters and over 2,000,000 lights.
Drive your own car through festive underground corridors to get into the holiday spirit. The Mega Cavern is 17 miles of man-made underground passages, which features underground ziplining and aerial ropes courses during the warmer months. But once the snow starts falling, it’s light show time.
5. Sledding At Tyler Park
If Cherokee Park is too crowded and the roads to windy for your liking, head on over to Tyler Park. It’s more off-the-beaten-path, so you may have a better time with parking, sledding, not mowing down children with your sled, etc. The hill may not be as steep, but it’s steep enough, and it has a longer area that levels out to decelerate before you run into the treeline, so, the pros and cons balance each other out.
Tyler Park also happens to be conveniently located behind Mid-City mall, so once you’ve had your fill of sledding, you can mosey on over to The Back Door and warm up with some cold beers and deliciously greasy bar food. The Back Door has killer chili, by the way.
6. Skiing, Tubing And Snowboarding At Paoli Peaks
The closest slopes to Louisville are actually in Indiana. Sure, it isn’t Reno, but for Kentuckiana, it does just fine. Paoli is 45,000 square feet of extreme winter wonderland. Paoli is about 90 minutes north of Louisville, which isn’t exactly a skip and a holler, but these are winter ADVENTURES, right? Head up north for tubing, skiing, snowboarding, and ski-lodge-hanging.
Feel free to hit the bunny slopes or go HAM on the Black Diamond trails, if you can handle that. There’s a Terrain Park, as well, for those of you who actually know what you’re doing. Friday and Saturday night, the slopes are open until 3:00 AM, so you can expect to make a night of it. There’s a full bar, and lodging nearby. It’s better than sitting at home and watching A Christmas Story for the fourth time in a row.
Featured Image Credit: Sari