Weathering Winter - Snow Trails

Snow Trails’ Ski Carnival offers two days packed full excitement for everyone.

Though recently the weather’s turned warm, February means we’re in the thick of winter.

But according to Punxsutawney Phil’s declaration this past Sunday, winter is on its way out. While that might elicit cheers and the unpacking of spring clothes, don’t be so quick to wish away the cold season. With winter, comes an outdoor wonderland.

Even if the perfect coating of fluffy snow doesn’t fall, local parks and outdoor areas offer more than enough reason to get outside and beat cabin fever during cold days with a wealth of events going on throughout February and into the cold weeks of March. 

We’ve rounded up the best excuses to don your layers and make the most of the last fleeting days of winter that Richland County has to offer:

February 8

Big Air Competition (Snow Trails): For those more adventurously inclined—or those who like to watch a little adventure—local ski resort Snow Trails hosts its annual Big Air Competition. Enjoy an Olympics-esque competition with this display of large jumps and complicated tricks. Its free to the public to speculate and open for entries from skilled novices and expert skiers and snowboarders alike. 

6 p.m. Free to watch, $15 to enter. 

Snow Trails, 3100 Possum Run Rd., Mansfield 

For more information: 800-6446-754, snowtrails.com

Love Is in the Air (Ohio Bird Sanctuary): Celebrating Valentine’s Day’s coinciding with owl mating season, the event will be owl-themed. “This is owl nesting and breeding season right now, so we kind of mixed the two with Valentine’s Day,” explains Emily Smith, education program coordinator for the Sanctuary. Expect stations and activities to learn more about owls as well as the Sanctuary’s own owls out to say hello. Plus, you’ll get some crisp winter air while on either the owl-scouting adventurous hike or the family-friendly stroll to the visit some of the sanctuary’s avian residents. Weather permitting, there will also be a bonfire and s’mores to conclude the evening. 

5:30 p.m., Hikes at 6 and 7 p.m. Member Pricing: $5 per car or $3 per individual; Non-Member Pricing: $10 per car or $5 individual

Ohio Bird Sanctuary, 3774 Orweiler Rd., Mansfield 

For more information: 419-884-4295, ohiobirdsanctuary.com

Winter Hike for Health: This destination hiking event is put on by Richland Public Health and will take place at both Malabar State Park as well as Gorman Nature Center. The event encourages people to stay active and healthy in the winter months by getting outdoors for a hike. Hikes are self-guided except for a 10 a.m., 3-mile guided hike at Malabar Farms. Sign in at the Visitor’s Center, where there will be refreshments and maps, and pick the trail that works best for you or your friends or family or pets. Enjoy the scenery–and the movement! 

9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Free.

Malabar State Park, 4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas 

Gorman Nature Center, 2295 Lexington Ave., Mansfield

For more information: 419-774-4761, richlandhealth.org

February 14–16

Valentine’s Bash (Malabar Farms): Fall in love with historic Malabar at this annual fundraising event put on by the park’s nonprofit organization, the Malabar Farm Foundation. “It’s one of their biggest fundraisers of the year,” Lori Morey, tour guide at Malabar, said. “They’re basing it around Valentine’s Day and having a meal in the home.” Indeed, tickets will include a guided a five-course meal accompanied by live music from the band Just Jazz as well as a tour of the historic Big House before the dinner.

6 p.m. Friday, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $50 per person.

Malabar State Park, 4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas 

To register, call 419-892-2929; malabarfarm.org

February 22–23

Ski Carnival (Snow Trails): Celebrated since 1961, Snow Trails’ Ski Carnival offers two days packed full excitement for everyone. “This is our 59th annual Ski Carnival…so it’s been happening since our very first season,” said Nate Wollenson, marketing manager for Snow Trails. Events abound between the two days, and it’ll surely be hard to pick between them all; signature events include the Nesquik Kids Challenge, the Cardboard Creation Race and Bikini and Chippendale Slalom races. A full schedule of events is forthcoming.

Times and prices vary by event. 

Snow Trails, 3100 Possum Run Rd., Mansfield 

For more information: 800-6446-754, snowtrails.com

March 7–8 (& 14–15)

Annual Maple Syrup Festival (Malabar Farms): Maple is in your backyard, and Malabar is here to celebrate it with this staple event showcasing the maple production past and present. Beyond shopping and sampling maple products, visitors an have a picture-perfect winter experience complete with horse drawn carriage rides, live historical demonstrations, a reprieve from the cold with walk-through tours of the Big House and plenty of other activities throughout the park.

Noon–4 p.m. Free, donations for carriage rides appreciated.

Malabar State Park, 4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas 

For more information: 419-892-2784, malabarfarm.org

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