Oh, the places you’ll go: Few regional outdoor groups boast as robust a schedule as the Carolina Mountain Club. Pick a weekend, and members are somewhere burning – or at least treading – up the trails. This month, for instance, a Dec. 17 all-day hike led by Joanne Tulip will take in Green Knob by way of the whimsically named Snooks Nose. On Christmas Day, Xpress contributor Danny Bernstein will, with her husband Lenny, lead a ramble around Bent Creek. There are also partial-day hikes and Wednesday hikes for you layabouts (or retirees, as the case may be). Annual membership is $20, which gives a year’s worth of trailwalking all the contours of a pretty seductive stocking-stuffer. For more information, visit the group’s Web site, www.carolinamtnclub.org.
The cure for loneliness: If you’re blue and spending your idle moments wiping the frost from the window and sipping tepid instant coffee, buck up, lil’ buddy! Asheville Parks and Recreation announced last week that its winter ski program is open for business. Parents can ship their sullen teenagers off to Cataloochee on Friday evenings, beginning Jan. 5, for lessons and slope-time, only to see them return chapped and happy. Saturday-night trips will shuttle skiers and snowboarders to a number of destinations in the Boone area, and adult day-trips are planned for Beech Mountain beginning Jan. 11. To register, contact Outdoor Program Coordinator Christen McNamara at 251-4029, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.