Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Five Alternative Winter Sports

Chamonix skiingImage via Wikipedia

As winter closes in ski and snowboard enthusiasts start to dream of hitting the slopes for long days on the piste, reveling in the wintry air and soaking in the dramatic scenery of and snowy mountain ranges. But there are plenty of alternative ways to enjoy winter thrills on snow and ice without having to step into skis or strap on a board. You don’t even have to fly out to the mountains or wait for winter to experience days of snow-filled fun either. So whether you’re heading out to the slopes this season, or staying home for the winter, here are some of our favorite alternative winter activities to get your heart pumping.


Snowmobile riding

If you like fast cars, fresh air and awesome scenery, then you will simply love hopping on board a snowmobile. The awesome power of these machines lets you glide across the snow at high speed, with all the excitement of a James Bond movie. There are some stunning locations to try it out too, including some of the most popular Alpine resorts in Europe, or try snowmobiling across a frozen lake in the beautifully remote surrounds of Finnish Lapland for one of the most thrilling yet peaceful high speed activities imaginable.


Ice climbing

Tackle terrifying terrain that you couldn’t even consider taking on with skis on your feet. Introductory courses are available for beginners with expert instructors based at some of Europe’s biggest ski resorts, such as Chamonix in France, who will soon have you digging your ice pick and crampons into sheer, icy cliff faces, clambering over frozen waterfalls and abseiling down icefalls. You don’t have to stray too far to try it either, guided climbs are available in the Scottish Highlands while there are indoor climbing centres in the UK where you can try out ice climbing at any time of year, whatever the weather.


Parapenting

The snow equivalent of paragliding, parapenting is one of the most thrilling ways to soak in the mountainous scenery of your ski resort. Point your skis down the slope and as your parachute fills with air, it lifts you gently into the air before taking you soaring high above the trees and mountains. Total beginners can give it a go strapped safely to an instructor, who takes control of the chute and ensures you land safely back on the snow.


Tubing

A hit with adults and kids alike, you can forget about learning tricky techniques and stocking up on expensive equipment, all you need for fun on the slopes is an inflatable ring and nerves of steel! Some resorts these days even have special areas for tubing, otherwise you can give it a go any small slope with a safe place to stop, or you may be able to try it out in the evenings on floodlit nursery pistes. Back on home soil, indoor skiing centres in the UK offer the activity for simple, no frills fun on the snow.


Snowshoeing

One of the more gentle ways to enjoy the slopes, snowshoes give you a great way to enjoy the beautiful surrounds that many ski resorts boast, even if you don’t want to partake in skiing or boarding. You can follow safe walking trails around the foothills or more rigorous routes higher in the mountains which will still put your fitness to the test. Guided snowshoe experience days are also available in many resorts both in Scotland and abroad.

This article has been created by Activity Superstore, the UK's leading Gift Experience Days supplier.

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