Sunday, December 28, 2003

Winter warm-up brings people outdoors for fun



By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Kelly Neeld (left) 16, and Michael Cook, 18, both from Indiana, trudge through the snow at Perfect North Slopes.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
Jack Frost wasn't nipping at anyone's nose on Saturday.

The high in Greater Cincinnati reached 50 degrees.

The normal high for this time of year is 40, said meteorologist Allen Randall with the National Weather Service.

The nearly balmy temperatures provided a perfect opportunity for outdoor recreation.

The Bengals took to the practice field to run some drills. People in Hyde Park jogged with their Labradors.

But others tried something different on the warm Saturday.

Mark Scherer, 38, of West Chester and his family took a stroll across the Purple People Bridge over the Ohio River.

"We've never done it before," he said. "The kids loved it."

BMX bikers Matt Pohlkamp, 27, of Anderson Township, and Kyle Weisenberger, 18, of Villa Hills, practiced their bike-handling skills at the Florence skate park.

"When it's warm like this in December, you have to take advantage of it," Pohlkamp said.

Several people used the afternoon to learn about nature at the Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve's annual Holiday Scavenger Hunt.

"The park's not just for summer, there's stuff to do in winter also," said Jody Bosse, assistant manager at the park. "We do this over the holidays every year because the kids have been celebrating inside with family, and now is a good time to get outside and close to nature."

Fans of the cold still had a couple of options. A couple thousand people showed up at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Ind., looking for skiing, snowboarding and tubing action.

"Actually, the warm weather tends to make for fewer skiers," said general manager Chip Perfect. "People mistakenly believe that it gets too warm to ski or that the snow melts quickly.

"We have one more good day, and then rain moves in Sunday night," meteorologist Randall said. "Saturday was probably the best day we'll see in a while."

E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com




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