A guide to becoming a cold-weather athlete

The sky is dark when you leave your lecture at 5:30 pm, you have seen more MTL Blog headlines about the cold than you can count, and you might even have had your eyelids freeze shut on the way to school. It is February in Montreal, and constantly fending off the elements can make tasks as simple as grocery shopping arduous. In such conditions, it is easy to give up on sports and wait for the warmer days ahead, but you don’t have to: Here is The McGill Tribune’s guide to staying sporty this winter.

Intramural sports

Many students are unaware of the various intramural leagues that run throughout the year in the McGill Sports Complex. From activities as obscure as innertube water polo to more mainstream sports like soccer or basketball, there are a wide variety of sports and levels of competition to choose from. Getting involved is easy: Simply pick your sport and find a group on Facebook or declare as a free agent directly on the website.

Indoor yoga

Whether you are a seasoned veteran with a closet full of Lululemon gear and a yoga mat to your name or a complete beginner who has not even thought to touch your toes since high school gym class, yoga is for everybody. Luckily, there are plenty of options in Montreal. Modo Yoga and ensō yoga are just a few studios offering everything from hot to bar yoga. Yoga is not just a way to increase your flexibility: It improves breathing, posture, and boosts endorphins to fend off the threat of seasonal affective disorder. If you are looking to experience any sort of warmth this winter, take advantage and get your stretch on. 

McGill Ski Club

McGill boasts the largest ski club on the east coast of North America and has the mission of providing as much skiing at the lowest cost possible to McGill students. For a relatively inexpensive initial membership fee, the SSMU Ski Club offers free transportation and significant discounts on equipment rentals and lift passes. A day on the mountain isn’t just about shredding that pow; it is also about forging friendships on the bus ride there and the drinks at après-ski

Cross-country skiing

The nearest downhill ski mountains are out of range for most McGill students looking for a quick day trip, but what many don’t realize is that you can cross-country ski right behind campus. Mount Royal boasts miles of serene cross-country ski trails free for all to use. The tracks are maintained on a daily basis, and the views are pristine. In addition to being a fantastic workout, cross-country skiing is cheap and accessible: The McGill Gym and McGill Outdoors Club both offer great deals on rentals for an entire season, or for just a day. 

Pick-up hockey

The sheer volume of rinks in Montreal is a marvel, so it is no wonder that the pickup hockey scene is robust. Even on McGill’s downtown campus, students can take time between classes to lace up, shoot some dingers, and skate their worries away for a few hours. Montreal also maintains over 100 rinks throughout the city and updates conditions daily on their portal website. Next weekend, grab your skates and stick and head down to your nearest rink—you’ll be sure to find some competition and meet new friends. 


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