Let's get this season started

Elements arrived a bit tardy, but time has finally come for outdoor winter fun

It is winter after all. Mother Nature seems to finally be coming through with the scenes of snow and ice many embrace this time of year. So skiers, skaters and sledders rejoice, and check out these thrills in the chill.

Cold steel on ice

The village-operated rink at Burns Field, 320 N. Vine St., will open for use once weather permits (four to six consecutive full days of weather below 32 degrees). Once the ice is in place, posted signs will indicate if the rinks are open or closed. The rink is lit for evening activities, and warming house hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, supervised, with free hot chocolate and a fire. Hockey is permitted, and the park will close nightly at 10 p.m.

Updates on rink ice conditions will be provided on the village's website, http://www.villageofhinsdale.org/pr (choose Field and Facility Status tab on Sub Menu and then Burns Field Ice Rink) and its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ HinsdaleParksAndRecreation.

Snowshoe delight

Explore Fullersburg Woods by snowshoes! Bring your own or rent a pair Monday through Saturday through February at the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, 3609 Spring Road, Oak Brook, when there's plenty of snow on the trails. Rentals are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rentals end at 2 p.m.) and are $10 for the day. Call (630) 850-8110 for availability and visit http://www.dupageforest.org for details.

Spots for skiing

The DuPage County Forest Preserve District invites cross-country skiers to check out trails at its various properties. When conditions permit, staff members groom trails for classical and freestyle cross-country at the following sites:

Blackwell, Warrenville

Danada, Wheaton

Greene Valley, Naperville

Fullersburg Woods, Oak Brook

Herrick Lake, Wheaton

James "Pate" Philip State Park, Bartlett

Mallard Lake, Hanover Park

Meacham Grove, Bloomingdale

Springbrook Prairie, Naperville

St. James Farm, Warrenville

Waterfall Glen, Darien

Trail users are asked to take care not to damage tracks that have been set. Visit http://www.dupageforest.org for maps. For information on trail conditions, call the district's outdoor report at (630) 871-6422 and press 3, then press 2.

Totally tubular

Take a thrilling 800-foot ride down the Mount Hoy tubing hill at Blackwell Forest Preserve on Butterfield Road in Warrenville. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and school holidays through Feb. 25 when there's plenty of snow (usually more than 3 inches). Only forest district inner tubes are allowed. Inner tube rentals are at the base of the hill and are $10 per tube per day (rentals end at 3:30 p.m.). Cash and credit cards are accepted. Before heading out, check the @dupageforest Facebook page to find out if the hill is open. It might close early due to extreme cold or storms.

Reel in the big one

Test your angling skills in the annual Hard Water Classic from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 at Blackwell Forest Preserve on Butterfield Road west of Winfield Road in Warrenville. All ages are welcome to compete in the only ice-fishing tournament in DuPage, which will include door prizes and awards. Bring your own equipment and bait. The entry fee is $20 in advance, $25 at the event. Register at http://www.dupageforest.org or call (630) 933-7248.

Winter workout

Get a cardio boost on a Fitness Hike at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Country Lane Woods on 95th Street east of Willow Springs Road near Willow Springs. This 5-mile trek is faster-paced with little to no stopping or interpretation. Visit http://www.fpdcc.com or call (312) 533-5751 for more information.

- compiled by Ken Knutson