I understand winter can be a trying time for some folks in the Treasure Valley. Sometimes it seems like we get the bad aspects (icy roads, inversions and cold temperatures) without many of the recreation opportunities that our friends in the mountains enjoy.

At the same time, I look forward to winter and all that it brings, good and bad. It’s part of deal that comes with living in a four-season area. You only get three months of each season, so you want to enjoy the best of what each offers.

Winter is no different than the other seasons; there are things we enjoy and others we could live without, and you don’t have to look hard, travel far or spend a bunch of money to find enjoyment during winter. Here are five of them:

Snow

Snow is beautiful, and it’s as simple as that. I always marvel at how pristine and elegant the woods, meadows, rivers and mountains look with a fresh coat of snow, and the more it piles up, the more beautiful they look. It also astounds me how places that I know intimately can look new and foreign when there’s a foot or two of snow on the ground. Even if you hate the cold and have no interest in snow sports, head north during winter (wait for a clear, sunny day) and experience the beauty of nature swathed in snow.

Ski Resorts

There’s usually something new to experience at Idaho’s ski resorts, and this year is no exception. Bogus Basin and Tamarack installed new lifts, and they’re expected to be ready by ski season. Tamarack has been bustling with development, and it will be cool to see how the resort transforms this winter. Sun Valley and Brundage will offer their usual winter fun. There’s something magical and festive about ski resorts, and they also have things to offer nonskiers.

Bald Eagles

Truth be told, I’m not a big bird watcher, unless you consider duck hunting bird watching. But every winter, I catch myself staring at the bare cottonwood branches along the Boise River and waiting to see the tell-tale white head and tail feathers of a bald eagle. Sometimes I even spot them soaring above the river on my morning commute. Eagles winter in the Treasure Valley, and you can spot them anywhere along the Boise River, but they commonly roost in Southeast Boise in the Barber area. You can also–fittingly–spot them around Eagle Island and Lake Lowell, not to mention along the Snake and Payette rivers.

Fires

Like most people, I love standing next to a fire on a chilly day, and I am not picky about what kind. It can be a campfire, fire pit, fireplace, wood stove or even a gas fireplace. I love to feel the intense heat washing over and soaking into me. Few things are better after spending a day in the cold outdoors than warming my bones in front of a fire. It’s a simple pleasure I look forward to during winter.

Bundling Up

Going outdoors is like a grudge match against Old Man Winter. He can’t keep me inside regardless of what frigid temperatures and blustery weather he sends. That’s because I have a closet full of clothes that are my armor against winter. I like putting on layers and braving the elements, and I get a giddy thrill when I am out in single-digit temperatures or blizzard conditions, and I am warm, dry and comfy. It’s like cheating, only socially acceptable and a lot of fun.