6 Awesome Winter Activities You Need To Try
If you have been following our blog, you would know that we have a small and growing Active Vacations series of posts. We love giving you (our readers) ideas of stuff to try and where to try them. For example, the best places to surf in the world or great ski destinations.
We do, however, know that some of you are a little more adventurous and would love to try-your-hand at something different. Considering it is the winter season and some of you may be heading to a winter sports destination, here are some awesome winter activities for you check and try (if they have them at your location).
1. Ice Climbing
If you are an adventure junkie and one that has dreamed of conquering mountains, this is a sport to try. Definitely not for the timid, as you will be using ice picks and ropes to attempt to scale icy walls and slippery surfaces. If you are a rock climber or have a little experience, you might enjoy this even more.
You would be able to find the tools you need for the sport in most sporting equipment stores. However, do check if there are courses that are offered in the area you are vacationing in. DO NOT attempt to go at it alone if you have never tried it before. You will be using a lot of sharp and pointy equipment, and doing anything like this alone is just not wise, even for those with experience.
Alpine Ascents International offers a mountaineering courses in Chamonix, France and Italy. The course is an 8-day program and will cover areas such as glacier conditions, gear evaluation, glacier travel, ice climbing skills and safe climbing, among other objectives.
Alpine Guide is another company that offers courses in several locations in the alps that include La Grave in France, Cogne in Italy and Kandersteg in Switzerland.
2. Backcountry Skiing
We know you love skiing and if you are, have or planning on going to one of the many amazing ski destinations to hit up the slopes, don't disregard backcountry skiing. This type of skiing will allow you to see a different side to the area.
Backcountry skiing is off-piste skiing, but you already knew that didn't you. You head out to unmarked and unspoiled locations in the area and have your own little adventure. The freedom that it affords you can be liberating, especially if you are a more advanced skier. Wide open spaces that are not crowded, meaning no tourist around, and you can ski all you like! It is slightly more dangerous so don't try this if you are an amateur.
Many of the popular ski areas such as Meribel, Val Thorens and Chourchevel will have excess to off-piste skiing. So, just look it up online and you would be able to find an area for a backcountry skiing adventure.
3. Cold-Water Surfing
Image: Image from Chris Burkard: The joy of surfing in ice-cold water
A scary thought to try, but something very tempting to experience. Cold-water surfing is only for the more daring among us, and it needs to be said that only surfers with experience should try this, or at least have experienced surfers around to help you!
Though the sport is mostly known for the summer side of it, there is quite a number of winter or rather cold-water surfing enthusiasts. Surfers who brave the ice cold conditions to catch a wave.
Some famous spots for cold-water surfing are Hoddevika in Norway, Bundoran in Ireland and Bundoran in Ireland. Don't you think it would be an interesting experience to surf in such different conditions? Maybe we will do a post on cold-water surfing spots, watch this space!
4. Winter Camping
Are you an outdoors enthusiast? Or maybe you are just an outdoors kind of person? Some of the best winter locations in the world also have amazing views and landscapes to share with us. What better way to experience the area than in a natural setting, surrounded by nature.
Go and have a camping adventure for a night. It doesn't have to be somewhere far-off from your cozy holiday location. For example, Colorado is an area for great winter camping. Eric Hunter is a hiker and mountaineer who teaches winter recreation courses for the Colorado Mountain Club. One of those activates is winter camping. Which is great because you will be able to experience winter camping in a group, and be safe while doing it.
5. Dog Sledding
Some activities are just fun! Going sledding is one of those. It would probably awaken your inner child as a group of sled dogs pull you along to wherever you want to go. Dog sledding is a hard-work activity and you need to be in charge and in control. Go through the woods, up and down hills and sometimes even go under trees. The experience however, is a must try, especially if you love dogs and winter.
Whitetracks Activities has dog sledding services available at Meribel. It's about $85 USD per-hour per-person. Where you can enjoy a ride and be in charge of a group of three or four sled dogs pulling you.
Image: Google Street View using a Snowmobile to get the shots.
Probably one of the more down right fun activities to do during winter. It's even better if there are large open spaces to ride around in. Known as Ski Doos, Snow Bikes and Snow Scooters, a Snowmobile is a land vehicle similar to that of an ATV or Jet ski, but for snow! It has two rubber caterpillar tracks for forward propulsion and skis attached to the bottom for steering. Most of them are powered by a two-stoke petrol engine.
You don't need any roads or trails to ride one of these things, just enjoy them on the snow and ice. The modern snowmobiles can reach speeds of 120mph, those used for racing can even reach 150mph.
For those new to Snowmobiles you can get some instructions and be able to wiz off soon after.
Whitetracks also offers snowmobile rentals at Meribel for about $160 USD per-hour and about $181 USD at Courchevel. You can find out more about it here.