Newsflash: Ice climbing is really, really fun. Take all the many joys of being outdoors in wintertime—the crispness of the air, the sound of walking in snow, the soft glow the skies assume—add an element of exercise and top it all off with some good, old-fashioned adventure in the mountains, and you’ve got a great day out. Sound appealing? Then maybe it’s time to try an ice climbing class. Here are ten more reasons why that should be the very next thing you do.

1. Try Something New

Baking bread, knitting, practicing yoga. We’ve all tried something new in the last two years and more often than not, we’ve done it with a class. And though many of those classes have been online, there’s no time like the present to get outside for some real-life, in-person learning. If you’re a lover of winter and climbing, then EMS’s Introduction to Ice Climbing class—may be for you.

2. Gear Rentals Are Included

Whether you’re a total first-timer or a still-new climber building their kit, a class is the easiest way to get out without breaking the bank. All the technical gear—including helmets, harnesses, ice tools, crampons, boots, and hardware—are available for rent at no additional cost to participants in EMS classes.

3. Meet Other Climbers

Despite its growing popularity, ice climbing is still a bit of a niche activity, and finding partners isn’t as easy as it is for something like sport climbing. Getting involved in a class is a great way to meet other climbers, make friends, and find new partners.

Courtesy: Keith Moon

4. Safety First

Safety is incredibly important in any climbing discipline—for its wild variability, objective hazards, and harsh environments, ice climbing is all the more so. Not only is the classroom environment itself a relatively safe space, the safest way to learn new techniques and skills is always from a qualified, experienced instructor.

5. Ask Questions, Get Answers

Ever watched a tech tip or an anchor of the day video and felt like you just witnessed a magic trick? Well, imagine being able to ask how it’s done and receive instruction in real time. With qualified instruction, new techniques sink in quicker and last longer.

6. Hit the Road

Been pining over a climb in a new area for a while but can’t convince anyone to make the drive? EMS Schools ice climbing classes are operated out of Lake Placid, New Paltz, North Conway, and West Hartford, with access to the best terrain in New York and New England.

7. Expand Your Skill Set

Maybe you’re a winter hiker who’s set their sights on a technical route. Maybe you’re an experienced ice climber curious about the mixed routes in your neck of the woods. Either way, a class is an excellent way to learn new skills, regardless of your experience.

8. Shake Off the Rust

If it’s been a while since your last time out and you’re feeling less than confident in any area, a refresher class is a great way to shake out the rust and get back to it.

9. Level Up

Intermediate level classes—like Ice Climbing 201 and Ice Climbing 202—are perfect for experienced climbers looking to take their climbing to the next level.

10. Get on the Sharp End

Follow on ice long enough and eventually you’re going to want to start putting the rope up yourself. Leading on ice is as fun and rewarding as it is complex and hazardous, and the best way to give it a go is under the supervision of someone who knows how to get it done.