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Five ways to enjoy the snow in Ottawa

When even your Netflix account wants to know if you're still alive, it's probably time to get outside - even if it's snowing.

The Rink of Dreams at Ottawa city hall is open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Haley Ritchie/Metro

The Rink of Dreams at Ottawa city hall is open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Love it or hate it, winter has finally arrived in the capital. You’ve no doubt already had your fill of shovelling, scraping, salting and trudging, but don’t go into hibernation just yet. Here are five things to do when you tire of binge-watching Netflix:

1. Tobogganing: Whether you’re rocking a vintage wooden sled or steaming down the hill on a GT Racer, there’s no more Canadian way to end up with a whole lot of snow down your neck. The city of Ottawa maintains 59 sledding hills across the capital, including the ever-popular mound at Mooney’s Bay. At the moment they’re all closed, but that may change as snowfall continues to blanket the city. The NCC also offers hills at Bruce Pit, Conroy Pit and Green’s Creek, with the latter two lit in the evenings for fun after sundown.

2. Snowbiking: Cant wait till spring to take your bike for a spin? New this winter, Gatineau Park is allowing “fat bikes” to ride on 10 kilometres of its snowshoe trails when there’s more than five cm of snow on the ground. If you’ve got a $7 day pass and tires thicker than 9.4 cm, head to trails 64, 65, 66 and 67 for a winter thrill on rough terrain. Just make sure you yield to snowshoers – after all, they were there first.

3. Cross-country skiing: If you can’t face Camp Fortune’s bunny hill, maybe a turn on a pair of Nordic skis is more up your alley. There are more than 150 km of marked ski trails in the greenbelt – 40 of them groomed – and lots of opportunity to ski on all those multi-use pathways the city doesn’t plow. Beginners should head to Mooney’s Bay, where rentals and lessons abound and the trail is invitingly easy.

4. Snow sculptures: Do you want to build a snowman? Do you want to go and play? … With that unforgettable song now in your head, get outside and make yourself a friendly snowperson. Gave all your carrots to Santa’s reindeer? Put your leftover Christmas candy to use: create a sultry, come-hither look with Ferrero Rocher eyes or perhaps an I’m-a-little-tipsy-and-I-love-you effect with a crooked candy cane smile. World Snowman Day is Jan. 18, so now’s your chance to get creative.

5. Skating: We won’t be doing any triple axels on the Rideau Canal any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t skate outside. Refrigerated rinks at Lansdowne Park and city hall are open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and another at Ben Franklin Place in Nepean is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. In theory, there are also more than 250 outdoor community rinks around town, but most of them are still closed thanks to the balmy weather we enjoyed until Christmas.

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