ugly sweater

5 Unique Ways to Spend Your Winter Break

By Eliseé Browchuk
For Unwind magazine

ugly sweater
Photo courtesy of the Sweater Store.

For most, winter break means going home and spending time with family. However, it’s not uncommon for students to discover that there’s not much to do at home. Younger siblings go back to school shortly after the new year. Parents work. Instead of sitting around at home for a month, try these tips to break out of your winter break routine.

If you’re a snow bunny, try Wisp Resort.
Located 178 miles west of College Park, Wisp Resort offers more than 30 trails of freshly groomed terrain for skiers and snowboarders. Throughout December and January, Wisp is organizing a “Wine and Beer Tasting Tour” on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., which includes a guided visit and prepared tasting at four featured venues. Tune up your gear and hope for some powder this winter to make the most of all the attractions Wisp Resort has to offer.

If skiing or snowboarding doesn’t grab your attention, the resort also offers a range of winter activities including snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and the famous Mountain Coaster. Created as a hybrid ride by combining the technologies of an alpine slide and a roller coaster, the Mountain Coaster takes daring riders on a 3,500-foot downward thrill at approximately 28 miles per hour.

If you’re a city explorer, try Washington D.C.

Photo by Lauren Fuchs

In College Park’s backyard, downtown Washington D.C. is gearing up to celebrate the holiday season with activities and events. From Christmas tree lightings to ice skating in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. should not be forgotten this holiday season. The Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is by far the most popular for ice skating within the city limits. Large-scale sculptures surround skaters, who can enjoy a warm beverage at the Pavillion Café to warm frozen fingers. Campus may be closed, but concerts are still going full swing this winter. Tickets are already selling out for the “#iHeartRadioJingleBall 2017” with world touring artists including The Chainsmokers and Meghan Trainor headlining the highly anticipated evening at the Verizon Center Dec. 12.

If you’re a traveler, try TerpSki.
Enjoy a winter break on and off the slopes with the largest–and one of the most adventurous–student run organizations on campus. TerpSki is once again leaving College Park behind for three more getaways this winter break, with everything planned from lodging to bar tabs. First stop is Quebec City, Canada, on Dec. 27 to kick off a New Year’s weekend celebration. Next up on the schedule is Breckinridge, Colorado, home to some of the best slopes west of the Mississippi. The final stop on the skiing and snowboarding tour is Killington, Vermont. An annual trip for TerpSki, Killington is the last hurrah for students before the spring semester. The snowy mid-winter weather in New England keeps Killington’s mountain packed and downtown buzzing with visitors from across the county.

If you’re a philanthropist, try Students Helping Honduras.
Give back this holiday season in the heart of Central America. Every year, students around the world meet at various villages located throughout central Honduras to help make a change for the better. From teaching kids English to building environmentally friendly schools, every volunteer gains an invaluable experience with the SHH program. The organization offers four one-week trips throughout winter break, running from Dec. 29 until Jan. 21.

If you’re a bookworm, try a winter class.

Photo by Soula Christou

The best way to get ahead–or just make sure you’re on track–is to take a class over winter break. Many classes are offered online only, allowing students to work around their own schedule, from wherever they choose. This means that you don’t necessarily have to be on-campus to get the credits. Winter classes can also help you get a good grade in a class with which you would otherwise struggle. So, instead of binging Netflix for 18 hours everyday, you can mix it up with some class work, and reward yourself with a show or two. Check Testudo and talk to your advisor to see which class would be the most beneficial to your schedule!


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