- 24 Jan
Since it’s the middle of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, probably a lot of travelers take this opportunity to travel to a nice resort town to enjoy the snow and the icy weather. Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular ways to get some exercise in the snow, but these are not even by far the only sports that require the presence of fluffy snowflakes or frozen water. Saying that you’re hitting the slopes to ski won’t raise any eyebrows, but what about some wackier ways to enjoy the winter season? All around the world, people have come up with new winter activities that are weird, funny or downright insane. Here are some of the craziest winter sports in the world, for those who can’t get enough of snow.
Back in the 70’s, ski lift operators at a New Mexico ski resort needed a quick way to get down the slope after the lifts closed, so they came up with the idea of using a shovel as means of sliding down the mountain. Shovel racing became hugely popular in no time, and was even part of the winter X Games for a while. Although the more serious shovel racers use modified shovels, this sport involves really cheap equipment – just take your shovel with you next time you travel to some snowy slopes.
In St Moritz, Switzerland, snow polo is much less weird as it sounds – after all, there has been a snow polo tournament for the past 28 years! Snow polo is not much different from regular polo, except that the game plays out on a snow-covered arena, and the horses have special shoes. The world cup in St Moritz usually takes place on the frozen-over lake – although the ice is thick enough to support eight horses and riders, there’s just enough crazy in this to make it exciting.
Skiing can be dangerous, and skydiving can be very dangerous, so a combination of these two is definitely not for the faint of heart. However, speed flyers are dropped from a helicopter onto a mountain, after which they proceed to slide down the slope, and if they encounter an obstacle they just fly over it with the help of their still attached parachute. The craggy slopes of Mont Blanc in the French Alps are just perfect for something this crazy.
Rock climbing takes some serious physical effort as well as mental focus, so what is the rock is replaced by slippery, treacherous ice? Ice climbing involves scaling frozen waterfalls and ice-walls. One of the best placed in the world for ice-climbing are around Valdez in Alaska, where you can find hundreds of huge chunk of ice you might want to climb if you’re crazy enough.
If you like sledding but you feel like it needs some more spice, you can try your hand at snow kayaking: the wax on the kayak will increase the speed, and the paddles allow you more control over direction. Snow-kayaking is nothing less than exhilarating, although hauling your kayak up the mountain is considerably less so.