Winter Sports Opportunities in Northeast Ohio


Courtesy of John Elrod

Chapin Forest covered in snow.

One of the best parts about living in an area of the world with four distinct seasons is that there are unique outdoor activities associated with each one. There are multiple ways to take advantage of winter in Northeast Ohio. You can find great places to do different types of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and winter hiking within approximately one hour of Oberlin. 


North Park Ice Arena, Elyria

Approximate driving time from Oberlin: 20 minutes

Activities: Ice skating

While Oberlin no longer has an ice rink — Williams Ice Rink was converted to Williams Field House in 2009 — there is still an opportunity to ice skate just a short drive away. North Park Ice Arena, run by the City of Elyria, offers affordable pricing for skating and rentals that cost under $10. Open-ice times are offered several days a week and can be found on the City of Elyria website


Big Met Golf Course, Fairview Park

Approximate driving time from Oberlin: 29 minutes

Activities: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing

Run by the Cleveland Metroparks, Big Met is a golf course that becomes a great place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when it snows along the Rocky River in the winter. The wide fairways offer space to ski, and the gentle rolling hills of the course make for a fun terrain. Big Met offers ski and snowshoe rentals that are available upon arrival, with relatively affordable prices


Crocker Park Real Ice Skating Rink, Westlake

Approximate driving time from Oberlin: 33 minutes

Activities: Ice skating

Crocker Park, known for its stores and restaurants, features an outdoor, ice-skating rink in front of the Regal Cinemas in Union Square during the winter. It is open from now until Feb. 21 and, including rental skates, costs $12 per person. 


Toboggan Chutes, Strongsville

Driving time from Oberlin: 35 minutes

Activities: Tobogganing 

The Strongsville Toboggan Chutes at Mill Stream Run Reservation are a pair of 700 foot ice tracks that take riders at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour on traditional toboggan sleds. Located at the bottom of the tracks, the chalet offers snacks and an open fire for riders to warm up before, in between, or after their rides. Reservations are required and can be made at


Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts, Peninsula

Approximate driving time from Oberlin: 47 minutes

Activities: Downhill and terrain skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing

Sister ski resorts Boston Mills and Brandywine are just a few miles apart from each other in the Cuyahoga Valley region of Ohio. The resorts, famous for their downhill skiing and snowboarding opportunities, use manufactured snow for their surfaces so they can stay open even if there has not been recent snowfall. The resorts offer 18 tracks of different lengths, inclines, and terrains for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Ski and snowboard rentals are available and can be done online or in person. The Brandywine resort also has a snow tubing park. 


Chapin Forest, Kirtland

Approximate driving time from Oberlin: 1 hour, 3 minutes

Activities: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, sledding

One of the best cross-country skiing destinations in Northeast Ohio is Chapin Forest Reservation, managed by the Lake Metroparks. The beautiful forest has almost six miles of hiking trails that are a part of the Buckeye Trail, a 1,444 mile hiking trail that loops around the entire state of Ohio. In the winter, Chapin Forest’s trails turn into an ideal cross-country skiing spot when snowfall hits Northeast Ohio. The scenic paths offer terrain with some dips and turns, but they are still safe for a beginning cross-country skier. In addition to cross-country skiing, Chapin Forest offers a number of other winter activities including snowshoeing, sledding, and a walk under the lights along a one mile stretch of the trail from dusk until the park’s closing time at 11 p.m. Pine Lodge Ski Center, which manages rentals at the forest, now uses a reservation system for renting skis and snowshoes. Be sure to check the forecast for the park even if there is no snow in Oberlin. Areas to the east of Cleveland along Lake Erie may receive up to twice as much snow per year than areas west of Cleveland due to lake effect snow patterns. 


Cross-country skiing and sledding in Oberlin: 

Approximate driving time from Oberlin: 0 minutes! Right here in town!

You can Cross-country ski on the Oberlin Bike Path and the Oberlin College Community Trail if there has been significant snowfall. The mound behind the soccer practice fields, unofficially titled “Mount Oberlin,” is the most popular sledding location in Oberlin and can be a fun place to take a break on a snowy day.