If you were under the covers all weekend, and if your nights out are spent eating hearty dishes with friends, it must mean that winter is here! ‘Tis the season to wrap up warm, get cosy, and watch a good series with a steaming mug of tea. The only thing that’s missing is the snow! And for those lucky enough to be spending a vacation in the mountains this winter, here are a few alternative ideas to skiing that you need to try…
Try the snowkiting !
Snowkiting, also known as paraskiing, is the winter version of kitesurfing with skis or a snowboard instead of a surfboard. The sport involves being pulled by a paraglider through the mountain airstreams, and offers totally different sensations from traditional skiing and snowboarding. Perfect for those looking for freedom and wide-open spaces, as snowkiting is only available in off-piste sectors and can take you across more than 60 miles a day at more than 40 mph!
Mountaineering enthusiasts who have lost interest in skiing can now try ice climbing! Armed with crampons and ice picks, climbers make their way up frozen waterfalls and couloirs while enjoying incredible views from the top of the peaks. Climbing ice waterfalls is often seen as very physical and inaccessible, but many guides offer excursions adapted to beginners as well as experienced athletes. A breathtaking experience in every sense of the term that you have to try !
Created in Scandinavia where locals get around on skis pulled by deer, skijoring first arrived in France before the first ski lifts and has been revived in our mountain resorts this year! Wearing skis no longer than 1.5 meters to avoid disturbing the animals, you can be pulled by a horse or by dogs along groomed pistes or on small paths through snowy forests. First introduced at the 1928 Olympic Games, this fairy-tale activity is sure to delight children and adults alike!
The bravest winter sports enthusiasts looking for ever more speed and thrills will be delighted with airboarding. After the pistes close, you and your family or friends slip on your helmets and take an air-filled luge (nothing like the ones you used as a kid). You then lie face down on your vessel and shoot down the slope headfirst at mind-boggling speeds! Tearing along the deserted slopes just inches from the ground with the cold wind and snow blowing past you: now there’s an unforgettable experience!
Wearing a watertight suit and securely attached to a rope on the surface, you dive into the water of a frozen lake at a temperature of around 35° F (2° C)! This unreal experience is offered in many resorts, and provides a very different vision of nature and the mountains. And to top it all off, you generally hike to the lake in snowshoes! After plunging into the water, time seems to stand still as you admire the beautiful aquatic setting, the shimmering lights, the silence, and the bubbles of air dancing up to the surface.
What will be your sport of choice this winter?