If you’re the non-skier in your group, or you just fancy partaking in a new activity this winter, we’ve pulled together some ways to enjoy the mountains that differ from the usual pursuits of skiing or snowboarding at the resort.
Snow-kiting in UtahYou’ve heard of kitesurfing, but how about snow-kiting? If you’re a fan of snowboarding and want to spice things up a bit, it’s time to try this out.
If you’re already a kitesurfer, just switch up the beachwear for a big parka and sandy beaches for the snowy wilderness. Picture riding up the snow (no lift pass necessary) and then gliding down the mountain to skim across a frozen lake. The possibilities are endless when armed with a board and kite.
Paret sledging in FranceNow this is a peculiar-looking one — a wooden contraption that resembles a fusion of sledge/joystick/rocking horse. You take the last lift up the mountain and then whip down on this traditional Savoyard sledge while the pisteurs (staff who clear the slopes of people for the day) urge you down the mountain. As the sun sets, the last to the bottom has to buy a round of génépi. Allez!
Snowshoeing in SpainSpain is no one-trick pony. Contrary to the popular image of sultry, sweltering Barcelona, the country also has some pretty good snow to ride in the Sierra Nevada.
Don a pair of snowshoes, stick a snowboard on your back (optional) and you’ve got access to pretty much anywhere in the mountains.
Splitboarding in AlaskaIf you haven’t tried splitboarding, you should. Back in the olden days, only the wildest explorers threw an animal skin over their shoulders and clambered up the mountain with wooden skis. These days, the mountains are just as staggeringly stunning — but much more accessible with a decent splitboard.
It’s the ultimate tool to access the backcountry, and Alaska is a longed-for destination for the experienced splitboarder. (Just be sure you take a proper avalanche-safety course beforehand and carry a shovel, probe and transceiver.)
Bobsledding in FranceAn absolutely terrifyingly exhilarating feat. Hurtle down narrow ice walls on the Olympic track in a bobsled, experiencing 3g force on big bends and gaining speeds of up to 78 mph.
If you’re a fan of rollercoasters, this is for you.
Dogsledding in NorwayDitch the skis and feel like an Arctic explorer by driving your own dogsled team with the northern lights as your backdrop. You’ll learn to mush and can travel up to 15 miles a day with your furry team pulling you along the tundra. Ideal for dog lovers, outdoorsy sorts or those hankering for a return to remote wilderness.
Ice diving in RussiaIce diving can make one feel a little apprehensive, as, unlike normal diving, you’ve only got one exit. Bathed in sub-zero temperatures, you’ll spot a spectacular array of icy wonders, from the underwater marine life to the textures of the ice itself.
Even your exhaled bubbles are a quirky sight as they warp and swirl toward the surface.