Skiing and snowboarding are great in all, but sometimes life calls for a bit more variety. So if you’re looking for different winter sports ideas to try this ski season, here are some more unique options to consider…
Described as bodyboarding on the snow or an easier alternative to snowboarding, airboarding involves speeding down the piste on innovatively-designed inflatable boards allowing sharp turns and quick stopping. Much more dynamic than sledding, this winter sport lets you manoeuvre among skiers and snowboarders on the runs, along with providing the ability to carry out impressive stunts and jumps. Airboarding began in Europe and is now available at various ski resorts across the world. This is one of the best winter sports for newbies to try out.
Polar Bear Swims
A unique way to start the year afresh, thousands of people worldwide take to ice cold open water on New Year’s Day for a short swimming race known as a Polar Bear Swim. This has become an annual tradition at locations across the globe including English Bay in Vancouver, Sandy Point State Park in Maryland and Scheveningen in the Netherlands. For those particularly hardy souls among us, there are plenty of winter swimming clubs offering a chance to take regular bracing plunges. Cold water swimming is believed to boost the immune system, improve circulation and promote a sense of wellbeing, but it’s not recommended for people with heart and blood pressure issues. Always check with your doctor before participating in winter activities such as this.
Trying out snow biking is the perfect way for cycling enthusiasts to get their winter thrills. Essentially mountain biking in the snow, but with specially designed fat tire bikes made for wintery conditions, this winter activity allows you to enjoy majestic scenery while getting a good workout. Many ski resorts have designated trails available along with snow bikes for hire.
While kitesurfing and sandkiting are both wellknown, snowkiting (also known as kiteboarding) is one to try during the winter months. Unlike other snow sports, snowkiting allows you to travel uphill as well as downhill. It’s been described as windsurfing with a snowboard, but is regarded as being much more difficult to master. If you’re up for the challenge, snowkiting lessons, intensive training camps and even specialised schools are widely available in popular winter sport locations.
A demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics of 1928 in St Moritz, Switzerland, skijoring (meaning ski driving in Norwegian) combines cross-country skiing with dog sledding. There are also variations of this snow sport featuring horses and motorcycles. This is a prestigious competitive activity in places such as Whitehorse in the Yukon, Canada and Kalevala in the Karelia region of Russia where annual races are organised. It’s even possible for experienced cross-country skiers to train their own dogs for skijoring – ideal for combining exercise with winter dog walking if you enjoy holidaying with your pet pooch or live close to cross-country skiing trails.
Have you ever tried any of these winter activities or would you like to?