Just because it's winter doesn't mean outdoor recreation comes to an end. There are adventures around every corner in the Valley, and a new program is designed to get people out and exploring the many opportunities to ski, snowshoe and fat tire bike this winter.

The Winter Adventure Book is now available, and it's part of the Soles in the Backcountry program hosted by Active Soles in Palmer and the Mat-Su Trails & Parks Foundation. The books are essentially passports for winter recreation enthusiasts, and every time someone completes one of the tasks, they can earn a stamp. After earning 20 stamps (and at least two from each section), they are entered in for a prize drawing.

People can pick up the book at Active Soles or Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation and complete adventures between Jan. 1 and April 26. Participants earn stamps by showing photo or GPS proof of the adventure completed. On April 27 at the new Skeetawk Ski Area in Hatcher Pass, there will be an end-of-season party and prize drawings.

The first section of adventures is "Hiking & Snowshoeing" and includes trails such as the Butte, Gold Mint Trail, Reflections Lake and seven others. The second section is "Community Participation" and encourages people to volunteer for organizations like the Mat-Su Ski Club, Alaska State Parks, the Mat-Su School District or other non-profit agencies related to the outdoors. The third section is "Event Participation" and includes 10 events such as the Willow Winter Carnival 5K, the Valley Thaw Out 5K and the biathlon race series. The fourth section is "Ski Adventures" and includes 10 trails, including Curry Ridge in Denali State Park and the Government Peak Recreation Area. The final section is "Fat Tire Adventures" including Knik Glacier, Moose Ridge and Lake Lucille.

The books also include safety information while traveling in the backcountry, as well as a list of recommended gear that people should have with them while exploring. If people want to participate in the winter adventure challenge but don't have some of the gear, there are three options for them - Active Soles (746-0600) rents snowshoes; Lifetime Adventures (746-4644) rents skis, fat tire bikes and snowshoes at the Government Peak Chalet; and Backcountry Bike and Ski in Palmer (746-5018) rents skis, fat tire bikes and snowshoes. 

Make this winter an active one - stop by Active Soles or the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation and pick up your passport to adventure!