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Time for a Winter Adventure

Have the snow flurries kept you inside this winter? Winter is too long to stay inside, and there are so many ways to enjoy the season. Time to embrace it, and we have events to help you do that!

Soar through the winter shivers with Outdoor UW Skate Nights

Starting on Jan. 19, 2024 (pending weather conditions), scamper down to Lake Mendota for “first-come, first-served” ice skating events and rentals. You can glide on the ice showing off your skills during the themed skate nights! You can descend through musical decades, around the world, and through different holidays. Groove to the blaring music by ABBA, Taylor Swift, and more this season.

If you’re a first-year student, plan to make your way down to the ice on Jan. 31 from 5 – 7 p.m.,  and skate for free. What could be a better way to begin the semester than twirling under the stars with friends at no cost? The answer is a second free skate night! Lucky for you, there is another free skate night for first-year students on Feb. 28.

If you’re concerned about a lack of ice-skating skills, don’t fret. Outdoor UW is partnering with University Recreation & Wellbeing to provide skating lessons throughout the winter. If you have been hoping to learn to skate or refresh some old skills, Lake Mendota is the perfect place to do so.

All Wisconsin Union members are welcome and encouraged to strap on some skates, and enjoy Lake Mendota all year round. Lifetime, annual and day memberships are available. UW–Madison students are temporary members while attending the University.

Saunter along Lakeshore Path for Snow & S’mores

Photo by Jeff Miller

Fasten on your snowshoes for a stroll to Picnic Point with Outdoor UW’s Snow & S’mores events this season. Warm up from the walk with a toasty campfire and gooey, chocolatey s’mores. Sit and chat with friends or family while enjoying the crackling sounds of the flames as they warm your chilled hands.

On Jan. 25 from 5-7 p.m., there will be a special Full Moon Snow & S’mores event you will not want to miss. Let the light of the full moon guide your way to and from Picnic Point, and enjoy the sights, company, and adventures under the moonlight.

Wander the Winter Wonderland, the Winter Carnival

Feb. 7-10 are arguably the best days of winter. According to Outdoor UW Program Manager Dan Dunne, if there is one time to visit the Wisconsin Union, it is this time. These days are the time of Winter Carnival, a jam-packed event series full of outdoor recreation and exploration opportunities (And most of them are free!).

One treasured, long-time tradition of the Carnival is that Lady Liberty makes an appearance on Lake Mendota! Seriously, you must experience this.

You can also watch talented skiers and snowboarders compete in our annual competition on the Memorial Union Terrace, called Rail Jam.

During this time, there are a plethora of games set up on the ice as well as the always exciting ice skating and snowshoeing events. The series of excitement would not be complete without a stunning fireworks display cascading over Lake Mendota.

Make sure to snap a picture with Lady Liberty and highlight your winter recreation talents under a sky full of fireworks at this season’s Winter Carnival.

Warm up with a treat from Peet’s Coffee

Recharge at Peet’s Coffee in Memorial Union. Peet’s offers a wide variety of coffee and tea drinks, along with fresh fruit and pastries.

After countless escapades, excursions, and adventures with Outdoor UW this winter, don’t forget to pop into Peet’s Coffee at Memorial Union for a warm treat. Nothing is better than warming your fingers from a day outside with a smooth hot chocolate. (Have you ever tried white hot chocolate? For those that like sweet beverages, this could be your new favorite winter drink!) You can also sip warm cider or try a seasonal tea. We have six other dining options right on-site at Memorial Union for you to enjoy.

Author: Shauna Breneman

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