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Pizza parties, new hobbies and steamy novels: 12 tips for embracing winter

Watercolor by Berly McCoy

It’s Outside/In’s annual winter “Surthrival” show, in which a panel of podcast and radio journalists serve up their personal tips for staying warm, cozy, and active all winter long. From ice-fishing to spicy novels, we’ve got suggestions that’ll get you outside when the adventurous spirit takes hold, and others for days when it’s too darn cold out.

This year, we’re joined by Berly McCoy, producer of NPR’s Shortwave podcast, Olivia Richardson, reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio, and Nick Capodice, co-host of Civics 101.

This is more fun to listen to than it is to read, but keep scrolling for an abbreviated list of suggestions to get you started.

Cold weather activity suggestions

  1. Take an ice fishing class

    "I took an ice fishing class and got hooked... We have landlocked salmon in my area and I can fill my freezer with them and feed my family."

    —Berly McCoy

  2. Throw rocks on frozen bodies of water

    Lil' baby pinecone.
    Olivia Richardson
    Lil' baby pinecone.

    "Never underestimate the magic of testing the strength of ice by finding the largest rocks and logs that you can, and throwing them into bodies of water to see what’s frozen and what’s not."

    —Nick Capodice

  3. Get into microphotography

    "Essentially just take pictures in the winter, but get the really small details of, say, a tiny pinecone... It's really engaging because you're just finding the fun in nature again."

    —Olivia Richardson

  4. Take a dip in a hot spring (or hot tub)

    "When it gets cold, find some geothermal hot springs. The water bubbles up from fissures within the Earth's surface, and it is [sometimes] close to bathtub-perfect temperatures. There are also hot tubs if you don’t have any springs around you. I am a strong believer of hot water in cold weather."

    —Nate Hegyi

Stuff to do when it's too darn cold

  1. Read spicy romance novels

    "'Dark Olympus' is a romance novel series by Katee Robert. It’s basically the Greek mythology of Hades and Persephone, but reimagined in a sexy way. If you're into the kink world it might not be spicy enough for you, but if you're just getting into romance novels it might be really on the edge."

    —Olivia Richardson

  2. Watercolor painting

    "I took a watercolor painting class with friends at a distillery. You all paint the same thing and have whiskey, and there was an instructor who gave us this very easy step-by-step for painting a mountain scene. I liked it so much I hung it up, it wasn't terrible."

    —Berly McCoy

  3. Play a woodland critter board game (Root)

    Outside/In Senior Producer playing the "Marquis de Cat", one of several character factions in the board game Root.
    Nick Capodice
    Outside/In Senior Producer playing the "Marquis de Cat", one of several character factions in the board game Root.

    "When I play a board game with you, I'm communicating with you in a way that I wouldn't in a bar or at work... Rootis a game about ruthless negotiation and investigation, like, why are you doing that? Why are you moving that there?"

    —Nick Capodice

  4. Get gourmet with homemade pizza

    "I have a very great pizza crust recipe from the New York Times — it's flour, yeast, water, and a little bit of olive oil. It's super easy to make, and then you just go to town. Do you want a tomato base? Do you want an olive oil base? And then you just start experimenting with flavors. I had jalapeno, goat cheese, garlic, and honey on an olive oil base. That was delicious. I've also done venison sausage, gouda, and cherry."

    —Nate Hegyi

Listen to the episode for more, or you can check out the full list of suggestions here. We’d also love to hear from you! Send your suggestions, ideally as a voice recording, to, or call our hotline, 1-844-GO-OTTER. We might even play them on the podcast or share your tips in our (free) newsletter.

Outside/In is a show where curiosity and the natural world collide. Click here for podcast episodes and more.

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