Top 5 Outdoor Winter Calorie Burners

Another party, another cookie, another warm sugary drink–welcome to winter. Luckily, there is more to this season than awesome snacks! Here is a list of our top 5 outdoor winter calorie burners, to help keep you warm, fit, and having fun this winter.


  1. Back-country Touring

Combining the uphill effort of snowshoeing or hiking, the pure bliss of the downhill run, and the added weight of a backpack, back-country touring (whether skiing or boarding) is an all encompassing workout. At 700-750 calories per hour*, heading out for a tour the morning after a party or large potluck can definitely help offset those indulgences!


2. Cross Country Skiing

A total body work out, cross country skiing works your legs, core, arms…you’re constantly pulling and pushing yourself up and around hills, be it skate or classic, and the coordination involved in this sport is incredible. At 500-700 calories per hour, there aren’t too many activities that will come close to matching this output. Are you concerned about looking goofy? Don’t be: we all look ridiculous when starting out and nobody says you need to wear the spandex speed suits (let’s leave those for the racers!).


3. Fatbiking

Although the verdict is out on exactly how many calories are burned fat biking, it seems to average between 500-1,000 calories per hour. As with all of these items on the list, it all depends on your personal output. One Men’s Health article claimed up to 1,500 calories per hour! Suffice it to say, fat biking is a great workout in the winter, is really beginner friendly, and has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Your local shop likely has rentals.


4.  Snowshoeing

Most places rent snowshoes now and they’re not the classic, wooden “beaver-tail” contraptions you may have grown up with. They’re smaller, lighter, and sleeker. As far as being a simple activity goes, all you need is a pair of winter boots, a pair of poles (old ski poles work), and a sense of adventure. In order to really make snowshoeing a workout, you need to get off the path and break your own trail, where you can expect to burn between 400-600 calories per hour.


5. Playing hockey

Grab the family and head for the outdoor rink! This Canadian winter classic can get you burning between 400-600 calories per hour – just be sure you’re really pushing yourself. Gliding around the ice won’t net you much of a workout!

Surprised downhill skiing or snowboarding didn’t make the list? At around 350-400 calories per hour, it’s still a decent workout but there’s a lot of sitting and lift line time. Other common activities include running (put on your spikes and head out the door for 400-500 calories per hour), tobogganing (you have to hike up that hill over and over again and you’ll burn 400 calories per hour), and going for a brisk walk can get your heart pumping (300-400 calories per hour).

*All calorie are general guidelines and averages. Calorie burn varies greatly depending on gender, weight, and your personal effort. Wear a heart rate monitor to accurately track your calorie burn.