New Year’s Resolutions for Adventurous Alabamians

Map out your new year adventurous resolutions.

Please note: due to local and state guidelines surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, some information below may not be accurate. Before you travel and plan your next adventure, make sure to check each business/park/campsite for any closures or guidelines and for the most up to date information. Enjoy crushing your outdoor resolutions and have fun on new adventures!


Map out your new year adventurous resolutions.

When the New Year rolls around, most folks resolve to do things like lose weight, exercise more, or quit procrastinating. But, if you love the outdoors, why not pursue a goal that’s more adventurous? Whether you want to take up a new sport, learn a new skill or push your limits physically, you’ll find a ton of opportunities in Alabama to experience the outdoors in a new way and make the most of 2022. As you map out your new year, keep in mind that a resolution or goal doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking, like a multi-week hike or a foray into Class V rapids. The whole point is to just broaden your horizons. To help you plan an adventurous 2022, we’ve highlighted 10 goals that suit a variety of skill levels and experience.


Join the Club


While it can be intimidating to join a group, you’ll gain a great deal by overcoming your fears. Andrea Wright

If you’ve never paddled a kayak or climbed outdoors, you might find it difficult to take up these sports. Or, you might be hesitant to hike trails in an area that you’ve never visited. If you’re tackling something for the first time, consider joining a recreation group, so you can lean on people who are experienced. Groups like BUTS (Birmingham Ultra Trail Society), WAMBA (West Alabama Mountain Biking Association), and the Huntsville Canoe Club hit the trail or river together, and they also host trail clean up days and other activities. While it can be intimidating to join a group, you’ll gain a great deal by overcoming your fears. First, you’ll have opportunities to meet like-minded people and create new friendships. As you travel with the group, you’ll develop a camaraderie that makes experiences even more meaningful. Plus, your fellow adventurers will have the inside scoop on certain destinations, and they’ll share some hidden gems.

Try Something New

4XKlASLc00IGCGGCGq0GAoHead over to Birmingham Boulders and take their intro courses to make it easy. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Boulders

Nothing stimulates the mind and body like taking on a new challenge or leaning a new skill. Always wanted to learn to rock climb? Head over to Birmingham Boulders and take their intro courses to make it easy. Ready to take on Alabama’s rapids? Whitewater Alabama in Phenix City has you covered. Opportunities abound, just pick an adventure and set the date.

Give Back

Is there a better resolution than to ensure that the natural resources we love to explore will be intact for future generations? If you join a recreation group, you can participate in their clean-up events. Also, consider supporting organizations like the Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Alabama Rivers Alliance that promote conservation efforts across the state.

Take a Photography Class

1gn8IPGlKuGEag0eaAw4eEJust a few simple tips can make all the difference when you snap that shot of a Cahaba Lily. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We all love to document our adventures. Make 2022 the year you explore the art of photography and the subtleties of capturing a perfect wildlife or landscape shot. You can take an online photography course, join a photography meetup group in your town, or take a course offered by a local organization, such as a botanical garden center or a community college.

Just a few simple tips can make all the difference when you snap that shot of a Cahaba Lily or that perfect sunset on Dauphin Island.

Become a Survival Expert

It’s one of those things you’ve always put off. In 2022, make sure that if you are caught in a predicament where survival skills are needed, you’ll have the knowledge to get out safely. Let’s face it, anything can happen in the great outdoors, and you need to be ready. One option is to attend a survival class, or you can find an abundance of guides online that teach basic survival skills. The amount of info may be overwhelming, so start small, and each month pick one skill—like starting a fire from scratch—and practice, practice, practice.

Get Educated

3IJ0fbB0msEIAkGseEmAcYYou could learn a lot about Alabama’s salamanders in just 30 minutes. Alan Cressler

Increasing your knowledge of Alabama’s rich biodiversity will make your experience outdoors that much more meaningful. The Alabama Wildlife Foundation is a spectacular resource, and one way to tackle this is to pick one plant and animal species a month to research. You could learn a lot about Alabama’s salamanders in just 30 minutes. And if you hit the trail with kids, having them identity and search for different species gives them a greater appreciation for the outdoors, while keeping them busy at the same time.

Set a Personal Record

If you ran 318 miles last year, and want to surpass 500 this year, break it down by month so you’ll know exactly what you need to make your goal. You can do the same for any activity, whether it’s canoeing, trail running, or mountain biking. If you don’t have a number for last year, pick your goal for January and best it in February.

Plan One Epic Trip

5MjbQsIyPu2GAc6ma6Q66gMake this the year you finally thru-hike the Pinhoti Trail. Jason Wesley Upton

Get out the calendar and plan that one epic trip that you have always wanted to do. It will challenge you, but that’s why you do it, and fortunately Alabama is full of epic adventures. Make this the year you finally thru-hike the Pinhoti Trail, or if you are an experienced climber, tackle the challenging Little River Canyon.

Enter a Competition

If you have a competitive spirit, Alabama has a wide variety of events for just about any outdoor activity, from mountain biking to bouldering to trail running. For example the Southeastern Trail Series includes seven trail-running races that take place from March to November in the Birmingham area. With each race, the distances and difficulty increase, so beginners can progress to eventually participate in a 50K.

Get Your Gear Squared Away

Christmas is over, and your friends and family just gifted you all the new outdoor gear you needed, right? Probably not, but we suspect you got some good stuff. The New Year is all about starting fresh, while reflecting on previous experiences and improving them for the future. Why should your gear be any different? Break out the day pack or thru-hike bag, take an inventory, and see what works and what doesn’t. Get it ready for that epic trip you already marked on the calendar, or maybe next weekend’s hike with the kids.


We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


Written by Hap Pruitt for Blue Cross Blue Shield of AL and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Collin Fuller

3 Tools to Help Young Skiers Learn


Don’t hesitate to introduce kid-friendly tools that can help your young skier progress faster and have fun doing it.

Teaching your young kids to ski can feel daunting. Heck, getting young kids to the mountain, dressed properly, and clicked into their skis can be daunting, let alone teaching them to ski. We’re here to help.

But first things first: How do you know your kiddo is ready? We asked Brian and Aleks Smith, PSIA instructors at Aspen Snowmass and parents of two daughters. The Smiths work with the youngest sliders all winter, and what’s more, they went through the process of introducing the sport to their own girls not too long ago. In other words, the instructor pair is a wealth of information when it comes to the how and when to get the groms sliding.

Most kids are ready to hit the slopes between the ages of 3 and 4, says Aleks Smith, but some 2-year-olds may already be interested and able. One thing to look for is the ability to balance, says Smith, e.g., riding a push bike or playing soccer or other sports. The other thing is interest: Do they want to try skiing?

Once you’ve determined that your child is ready, one option Smith recommends is using props. “Many parents choose to use tools to aid in their children’s skill development,” Smith says. “If used properly, these tools can be useful.” The props Smith reaches for most often are the harness, the Edgie Wedgie, and the Hula Hoop. Here, Smith walks us through how to use each prop safely and successfully.

Prop: Hula Hoop

Ski Magazine
  • Age : 2-3
  • Indication : Child is struggling to maintain balance while sliding

The idea here is to teach young kids to stand independently while sliding forward and resist the urge to lean back. Slip the hoop around the child’s waist and hold onto the back of it. You’re in control, while the child feels the sensation of sliding.

  • _ No longer needed : When the child isn’t leaning against the front of the hoop_

Prop: Edgie Wedgie

  • Age : 2-5
  • Indication : Child is having trouble keeping his tips together
Ski Magazine

Making a wedge can be difficult for kids five and under, as they often don’t have the leg strength to hold their skis in that position. That’s where the Edgie Wedgie comes in. This device easily attaches and detaches to the tips of the child’s skis. Ashe stretches the Edgie Wedgie, his skis will naturally form a wedge; the bigger the stretch, the wider the wedge. Once the child understands the shape and knows what it feels like to arrange his skis just so, he should be able to start to wedge without the Edgie Wedgie.

  • No longer needed : When the child isn’t stretching it while turning or stopping

Prop: Harness

Ski Magazine
  • Age : 2-6
  • Indication : Child can’t stop on her own or is nervous

A harness is a great tool for very young kids who haven’t figured out the wedge stop. It can be tricky to put on properly, so be sure to read the directions. The idea is to keep your little skier in front of you as you descend very gentle terrain, holding the straps with some slack. Don’t ever tug on the straps, or you can throw the child off balance.

  • No longer needed : When the child can stop on her own


Now that you have the tips, tricks, and tools, shop with us in-store or online for all of your ski gear essentials! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Written by Samantha Berman for Ski Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


How to Plan a Ski Trip With Kids

Maybe you grew up on the slopes. Maybe you discovered your love for skiing as an adult. But few things are as special as being able to share your love for skiing with your family.

The fresh mountain air, blue skies, and exhilarating feeling of actually skiing down the bunny slope: Who wouldn’t want to experience that? However, any weathered parent will tell you that every successful family trip starts with a good plan.

That is especially true when you are transporting your children to a high-altitude setting with below-freezing temperatures to learn a sport with strange boots and lots of layers. But the challenge can be worth the trouble if you keep in mind a few tips.

Keep everyone comfortable

If you are bringing little ones to the slopes for the first time, it’s critical that you ensure everyone stays comfortable, ie. warm, but not too warm, and dry. That’s not easy when you are outside for hours at a time on a mountain covered in snow. That’s why layering is so important. Be sure everyone has a base layer, a mid-layer, and a waterproof outer layer along with appropriate socks, gloves, and headwear.

If you are unsure if you have the right clothing, check with a trusted expert at a local outdoor recreation and apparel store like Alabama Outdoors before you leave for your trip. Last-minute clothing purchases in a resort town can be pretty pricey, and you want everyone to feel prepared the first time you head to the lodge.

Pick the right ski resort

Any vacation with kids can be tricky, especially when it comes to making sure everyone has fun without draining your bank account. Skiing can get expensive, especially if you are outfitting an entire family in the clothes and equipment, getting lessons for the newbies, and buying passes to the mountain.
And, if, despite your best efforts, one or two of your crew doesn’t enjoy skiing, you need to be staying at a resort or in a town offering fun activities off the slopes.

That’s why it pays off to do your research when it comes to resorts. For instance, some offer deals where kids can ski for free. has compiled a state-by-state list of resorts offering children-ski-free deals. Travel+Leisure Magazine also has compiled a list of family-friendly resorts.

Get your head right

A ski vacation can be a logistical nightmare with or without kids. Weather delays, illnesses, the potential for injuries, and all the clothes that have to be managed make it challenging even for adults.

That’s why it’s important to remind yourself that children may not make it as long as you would on the mountain. You will likely have to be more flexible in terms of when you go skiing (not at peak times) when you leave, and how much time you budget for getting your gear and getting from Point A to Point B. Finally, invest in a day of lessons through the ski school. Even if you are a black-diamond skier, you may not be the best person to teach your child. Chances are your children will learn more and behave better for a ski instructor.

A well-planned family ski trip can help create wonderful family memories and, hopefully, launch a family tradition that allows you to #BeOutdoors with the ones you treasure the most.


Planning a ski trip this season? Find what you need for your ski trip or winter adventures here! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors