Winter is for some just the perfect season for relaxing and staying inside – but not for all. Adventure enthusiasts see winter as the ideal time to push their adrenaline levels to the limits. Still, many of them feel their options are a bit limited: skiing and snowboarding are truly great, but often fail to satisfy our inborn need for variety.
I have good news for you. If you seek a winter adventure in a European resort that has nothing to do with skiing and snowboarding just keep on reading. Below you will find some excellent winter adventures available to numerous European resorts that will surely satisfy both your thirst for adventure and variety.
Ice climbing is becoming ever more popular, offering the chance to conquer some spectacular summits and marvel the stunning view. It actually entails ascending various ice formations with the use of the usual climbing gear, like climbing axes, ropes. Icefalls, frozen waterfalls, slopes, cliffs and rock slabs frozen over by layers of snow and iced water are just ideal for ice climbing and Europe’s mountains, especially the Alps are full of such sites.
From a relatively unknown form of small – sled racing, ice luge or Luge sledding is not the same with bob and skeleton sledding, as luge sled is ridden lying on the back and steered by slightly moving your legs and shoulders. Named after the French word for “sled, lugging boosts your adrenaline high above any other winter sport with its high speeds and handing challenges. Many French Alps resorts have exceptional ice luge facilities with routes for both experienced and inexperienced riders.
Ice diving is an advanced type of diving that requires special training and experience, mainly because usually the diver has only one way out of the water – a relatively small hole drilled through the iced surface of a lake. Again the Alps have numerous frozen over lakes and specialized agencies offer the necessary equipment and guides. Extra safety measures, such as special harnesses with lines secured above the surface are always in order. Of course, presenting a diving certification is mandatory before allowing you to submerge into the icy water. Ice diving is a stimulating, truly magnificent experience: during the winter visibility is the best ever and lake floors can be equally fascinating with that of the sea.
Ice sailing is often described as “wind dancing”, and for good reason. Ice sailing gear includes a wing, kite or sled which is firmly attached to a snowboard, to a pair of skis, or skates. It is far from easy, but as soon as you get the hang of it you will surely love it. Gliding across the ice with the force of the unbridled wind is a genuinely addictive, unforgettable experience. Ice sailing just requires ample wind, snow or ice – and Europe’s mountains have plenty during the winter.
Snowmobiling is a relatively easy but high adventurous activity that will offer you the chance to marvel sights and views that simply do not exist during the summer. Just pick a powerful snow mobile, a destination rich in exiting trails and storm miles and miles of snowy slopes, frozen lakes and dense forests. Snowmobiling is just perfect for adventure hunters that love speed and driving. Most winter resorts offer their customers well maintained vehicles, training as well as experienced guides.
So if you are just tired of skiing or messing around with your snowboard and seek to widen your horizons a bit next winter now you have the chance to escape your lethargy and feel the rush of trying something genuinely new and adventurous. Finding travelling agencies and resorts specialized in such winter activities is relatively easy – but make sure they know their business and are experienced enough to guide you safely throughout your venture. Be wise enough to take all the necessary precautions and always heed the professional’s counsel and guidance. Winter is much more than staying beside the fire drinking wine with friends and family. Its fields packed with snow invite us to push our limits and invigorate our body and mind by exploring its seeming unfriendly environment.