by Dave Salter
Northern News Services
NNSL (NOV 18/96) - OK, the reality of winter has finally set in. Get ready for another seven -- or more -- months of snow and darkness.
But it doesn't have to be all bad. Without winter we'd never have hockey, or skiing or snowball fights.
So get out there and participate or participact -- or whatever that fitness couple on TV tells us to do.
Here's a guide to some winter sports you can choose from. So you have no more excuses for just sitting around the house watching NFL football -- except that it's relaxing.
For those who play their hockey on Northern ponds, I'd advise wearing long underwear, two pairs of wool socks, snow pants, a sweater (or three), turtleneck, a toque, scarves and plenty of lip balm. Oh, and an extra large Montreal Canadiens jersey over your top for looks.
My cross-country expert tells me snow is essential when competing in this sport.
He also informs me the best conditions are a 1.25 centimetres of powder over 18 cm of medium-packed snow, unless there's a crust. So bring your ruler along -- just in case.
For those who are too lazy to ski, snowshoeing affords one the luxury of a leisurely walk through the Northern wilderness -- or down the street to the corner convenience store.
Just don't try running in these things -- they're kind of clunky and you'll probably land face-first in a snowdrift.
Northerners and Quebecers are quite adept at this combination sport.
Some rural communities allow rock-throwing in lieu of guns.
He tells me curved sticks are not allowed.
Some skips are known to yell "hurry" when ordering up a cold one.
But seriously, at the elite level, Canadian curlers are among the best in the world.
We're are among the world's best.
Not surprisingly, sales of Dog Chow in the North are among the highest in the world.
I no longer compete in this sport but I do enjoy watching the competitions on TV.