You can’t beat skiing or snowboarding when it comes to adrenaline-inducing winter sports, but if you are the adventurous type then you might want to consider trying your hand at an alternative snow-based activity. It may not cross your mind when scanning last minute ski holidays or when packing your gear, but you do not have to spend every second skiing or snowboarding! |
Here are a few of my favourite unusual winter sports – some of which are pretty whacky but fantastic fun, especially when enjoyed with a few friends.
While it was once a way for Alaskans to commute by bike, fat biking has turned into a popular recreational activity in recent times. These bikes feature large forks and enormous tires, which allows the user to ride through soft and unstable terrain (due to the extra surface area). Cycling through the snow can be a strange experience – it also allows you to go on scenic bike rides in areas that you may not have been able to access before.
If you thought that snow shovels were only good for moving snow then you have to check this brilliant sport out! Shovel racing involves sitting on the base of the shovel (so the handle is raised into the air and held onto) and then racing down the steep mountainside. This may not sound too wild, but it takes nerves of steel – riders can reach up to a blistering 68 mph. Before it was a popular and fun activity, ski-lift operators used it as a way to quickly get to the bottom of slopes in the 70s. Things have come a long way since and there is now even world championships held in New Mexico each year.
If shovel racing isn’t daring or alternative enough then wok racing could be up your street (no points for guessing what this one is!). You can reach an incredible 75mph in a wok, so protective gear is a must. There is also a hilarious team option, where four woks are attached together using a wooden frame.
Similar to the summer sport of kiteboarding, snowkiting sees you traverse snow and ice using the power of the wind and a kite. It can be tricky to get the hang of, so you may want to start with a trainer kite and somebody who has done it before. Although a leisure activity, you are likely to catch a few people using snowkiting as a means of getting around in places like Greenland.
Skijoring is a popular winter sport where you are pulled by some kind of force whilst on skis. Most commonly, this is a dog, horse or snowmobile, but occasionally something stranger will be used (a reindeer, for example). Skijoring dates back hundreds of years in areas like Scandinavia and Alaska, when it was used a form of transportation. Nowadays, there are many different competitions and races which can include ramps and obstacles – this makes it quite the spectator sport!
If you are feeling adventurous and seeking a new adrenaline rush, then be sure to look out for resorts that offer any of these thrilling winter sports when booking last minute ski holidays. These can be a refreshing change from skiing/snowboarding, plus they can be a barrel of laughs with your mates!
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for last minute ski holidays in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.
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