A fun day on the slopes can burn up to 3,000 calories. Do the math and you can lose about five pounds of weight a week.

In addition, you get to enjoy the great outdoors while you re at it. Skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing can also help relive depression, tone muscles and boost the immune system.

In the Washington s Methow Valley, there are more than 120 miles of snowy, scenic trails to navigate on cross country skis.

Of all winter activities, cross country skiing is one of the best for burning calories. But for those wishing to ramp up the adrenaline and shred a shack booter, try tackling terrain parks throughout the Northwest.

For safety sake, remember the golden rule before going for big air: scope out the landing.

As the saying goes, check yourself before you wreck yourself; otherwise, you destroy all the healthy benefits of an Insane Ollie.

Another option for daredevils or experienced cruisers is sno-cat skiing at Sun Peaks in Canada.

No lifts or rope tows - instead, a driver takes you up while a guide safely navigates the way down.

Avoiding crowds gives skiers more time on the mountain and more time working the cardiovascular system. It s why skiers and snowboarders gather in Whistler, B.C., at the gondola, before the crack of dawn.

The reward for early-risers is a mountain-sized breakfast buffet at the top followed by fresh tracks.

What better way to cure cabin fever than surrounding yourself in a blanket of untouched snow?

Of course, you can intensify the benefits of skiing by forgetting the chairlift or rope tow and walking up the slope. It really gets the heart and lungs working.

But, before starting any new, strenuous activity, consult your doctor first.

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