Six Winter Sports Activities which aren’t Skiing
There’s more to winter sports holidays than skiing – there’s a wealth of fun and exciting activities which you can enjoy in the snow.
Dog sledding feels like skiing, but without the fear of falling over. It’s a truly relaxing way to enjoy the snowy scenery. Sleds are pulled by teams of dogs, typically huskies, who seem to love their job. You can experience dog sledding either as a passenger or, in some places, you can also try your hand as a musher.
Ice driving is great for adrenaline junkies. You take the wheel of a specially adapted sports car and drive it on the surface of a frozen lake or reservoir. Obviously the car has no grip, and you have to drive it very differently to how you would drive on a normal road. When I tried ice driving, the instructor told me to stay in second gear, accelerate into curves and never to brake. It was exhilarating.
Driving a snowmobile feels very James Bond, and is an exciting way to explore the mountains – although the engines can be quite noisy. Snowmobiles are simple to operate, but you generally still need a driving licence in order to rent one. It’s enjoyable to share a two-person snowmobile, so that you can chat along the way and take it in turns to drive.
Fat bikes look like mountain bikes, but they have fat tyres and so can be ridden on snow. It’s quite tricky to control a fat bike, but they’re fun to ride – especially electric fat bikes, which give you an extra boost when you need some help. Fat bikes aren’t allowed on ski slopes, so you either need to find somewhere with a dedicated bike slope, or ride off piste.
Where there’s a ski resort, there’s often an outdoor ice rink. It’s wonderful ice skating when you’re surrounded by snow and mountains. Ice skating can be tricky at first so, if you’re a beginner, see if you can book an ice skating lesson to help you to get going.
Snow shoeing is popular in many mountain areas and is a wonderful way to explore the mountains away from the ski slopes. It’s a peaceful activity and is simple to get the hang of, but it takes a lot of energy. If you try it, go with a local guide who can help you to explore the mountains safely.
Whatever you do this winter, be sure to have fun – and make sure that you have comprehensive winter sports insurance cover, just in case!
By Gretta Schifano, Mums do travel