Perhaps one of the greatest things about winter is the plethora of snow activities to choose from on a daily basis. As much as we all thrive off of great days skiing or riding, sometimes it's a welcomed change to do something different. Here are some other activities to try while enjoying the elements and getting some great exercise.

Take 10 minutes to warm up and stretch before beginning any exercise. Get the muscles loose, the blood pumping, and the rest of your body and mind prepared for physical exertion.

Hiking in the snow is a little bit like walking in the sand. The extra effort put into each step really adds up. Not only does it challenge your calves, but also the rest of your leg muscles and core. For added support try the Yaktrax. Strap on a pair of snowshoes for an additional huff. Most outdoor shops have rental snowshoes available. Hiking or snowshoeing is a great way to spend an afternoon, evening, or full moon during the winter months.

Skinning is like climbing for winter enthusiasts. Although the setup involves expensive equipment, there are less expensive ways to try out Alpine Touring. Rent the skis, boots, and skins at an outdoor store or borrow a friend's equipment. Make sure that the boots are the right size and are comfortable for your foot. Wrong boots are a little bit like wrong hikers that will leave you with nothing but blisters and misery. Also make sure the boots fit into the bindings properly.

Getting all the way up and not being able to come down is not our kind of fun. Before heading out on the trail, go through the process of putting the skins on your skis and taking them off. You want to make sure they are long enough for the skis as well as staying stuck to the bases. Your effort uphill will become a lot harder for a lot less vertical gain without good skins. Skinning is all up hill from there,once you are dialed in. The reward of earning your every turn is an incredible feeling, all the while getting in a great day's exercise.

Traditional cross-country or skate skiing are two more options to enjoy a beautiful winter's day. Almost all ski resorts have a Nordic center nearby. Bring your own equipment or rent everything there. Take in the views and enjoy the relation you share with nature. Skate skiing can be an incredible calorie burn.

"I grew up cross-country skiing, so that's all I knew," says Jess Aldighieri. As a former collegiate competitor in the sport, her fitness is still in top condition. Since retiring from the event she's since become an avid alpine skier. "I can't believe what a strong overall physical base Nordic skiing has given me. Now I go Alpine skiing for fun, then come home, change, and hit the trails for a couple of hours to get a good workout."

Remember to wear appropriate clothing for each exercise. Thermal layers are always the way to go for sweat wicking and warmth. It's better to have to take clothes off rather than not have enough to put on. Wool ski socks, a hat that covers your ears, appropriate gloves, and sensible eye wear are all vital necessities for winter elements. Keep extra dry clothes in a backpack or your car to be able to change into once you're finished.

Water and snacks are just as important. Keep a water bottle accessible at all times. Snacks should be just as readily available.

A cool down is as important as your warm up. Stretch your tired muscles. Let your heart rate come back to a normal beat before jumping in the car or plopping down on the couch.

More information: Yaktrax.