Don’t let winter weather ruin your weekend

It’s winter in Pittsburgh, and that means that the ground is covered in snow and ice, effectively shutting up most of Carnegie Mellon’s student body inside until the spring thaw. Instead of hibernating for the rest of winter, try one of these snow-friendly activities that can be found around the city.

Take a glide on the wild side

Well, maybe not the “wild side,” exactly, but gliding around the ice rinks at nearby Schenley Park or downtown Pittsburgh’s PPG Plaza is a perfect activity for a snowy night. Skating can be a great way to bond with your friends, especially if you need to hold onto them to stay upright. This also makes it a great spot for a date. Schenley Park offers several college ID nights throughout the week, giving students a small discount and making the price of admission $3 (at all other times, the cost for adults is $4). With the cost of renting skates ($2.50), this is an affordable activity that’s great for winter — especially since it leaves enough money leftover to buy a steamy cup of cocoa and still stay under $10 total. For more information on ice skating in Pittsburgh, visit www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/parks/schenleyskatingrink.htm or www.ppgplace.com/rink.

Get away for the weekend — on skis

Pittsburgh itself isn’t a great area for skiing or snowboarding, but going on a weekend trip to ski proves to be easy and affordable, as there are many ski slopes within about two hours of the city. The closest, Boyce Park, is located about 20 minutes away in nearby Monroeville. The rates are fairly low, especially since its proximity to Carnegie Mellon does not include the cost of a pricey hotel. The downside? The snow isn’t always great, and it may lack excitement for more experienced skiers. For anyone looking to actually get away, Blue Knob Ski Resort is about a two-hour drive away and is home to the highest skiable mountain in the state according to the resort’s website, www.blueknob.com. Rates are reasonable and vary depending on time (the resort offers both four-hour and full-day passes). This could be either a weekend trip or a day trip, but either way, it’s a great way to enjoy the snow. As another option, Seven Springs Mountain Resort boasts the largest skiing area in the state. As an added bonus, this resort has other activities on site like bowling, indoor swimming, shopping, and nightclubs (for guests over 21, of course) as well as a few different kinds of lodging, including hotels and cabins. All three locations offer ski school for beginners, so even if you’ve never skied, this is still a great option while the snow lasts.

Take a sleigh ride with your sweetie

Nothing beats cuddling up with your significant other when it’s cold outside, but instead of hiding from the snow, take advantage of it! Horse-drawn sleigh rides are only available in the winter, and now is the perfect time to take one. Most of the sleigh rides nearby are still a bit of a drive away, but this romantic activity will be much more impressive than studying each other’s chemistry notes. Seven Springs (see above) offers sleigh rides in addition to skiing and snowboarding. Most sleigh ride operations stopped at the start of the new year, which makes this activity even more special now.

Snowless activities for snowphobics

Sick of the cold and hate the snow? That doesn’t mean that you should stay in your room until Carnival. There are plenty of fun indoor activities around Pittsburgh, many of which are free or discounted for students. Pittsburgh is home to numerous art and history museums, all of which provide the opportunity for a relaxing day out. Phipps Conservatory, which is located on the other side of Flagstaff Hill, will help you forget that it’s snowy outside with its tropical plants and warm temperatures. On campus and off, there are indoor sports and fitness activities, like indoor tennis, basketball, and yoga, as well as opportunities to watch sporting events. Try attending a Carnegie Mellon athletic event on campus or a Penguins game at the Mellon Arena. Student tickets are available during the pre-game student rush, cutting the ticket cost to $20.