There Is More To A Skiing Holiday Than Just Skiing!
So you are thinking of going on a skiing holiday? Or maybe you have already booked it and you have no idea of what to expect because you have not been before? Well let me tell you right off the bat that there is a lot more to a skiing holiday than merely skiing. Yes, I realize that the whole idea of a skiing holiday is supposed to be all about skiing, but what if you don’t take to it? What if you don’t like it or if you are really bad at skiing?
Well there is no need to fret at all because here there are a number of different things that you can do whilst on your skiing holiday, some are indeed to do with that white, cold substance we like to call snow, and some of them are available for you to do off piste so to speak. So relax, have fun and take the time to check out what you could be doing on your next skiing trip.
#1 Go Off-Piste And Try Snow-Shoeing On Your Skiing Holiday
Without doubt this is probably going to be the least heard of item on this list so let’s start here. Snow-Shoeing is basically the art or sport (I’m not sure whether you can call it either of these but still) of walking around the mountain slopes and exploring the mountain. Granted you will not look the coolest cat on the mountainside but what you have to sacrifice in fashion makes up in functionality. Snow-Shoeing is essentially walking around with what appears to be two rather oddly shaped tennis rackets strapped to your feet so that you can walk across the dense, thick snow without going waist deep into it. This allows you to walk around the mountain and be amazed by the breath-taking beauty of the landscapes all around you. This is something that a lot of people either do not know about or are simply too busy skiing to think about; however taking the time out to visit the more untouched parts of the mountains is a great way to relax and see some truly awe-inspiring sights. So if you feel a little stressed because you’re ‘just not getting’ the whole skiing thing, then head off-piste and enjoy the sights of the mountainside.
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#2 Go Travelling At High-Speed On A Bob-sled Ride
Now for those of you that loved the film ‘Cool Running’s’ you are going to love this special treat we have for you. Bob-sledding is a fairly dangerous albeit fun and adrenaline filled sporting activity that can only truly be appreciated in colder climates. Why? Because The ice makes for some very serious speeds; sure you can try out bob-sledding in the UK but the majority of the venues offer concrete runs that really are no more than an imitation than the actual real thing. A lot of people enjoy bob-sledding every year and it really can be a lot of fun, it can also be a little tiring and very scary but if you stick to the training you are given or if you are a participant in a team who already know what they are doing then you will be fine. It really is a crazy feeling to be rushing through a frozen tube at speeds of up to 70mph. okay it may not sound fast and you may travel at that speed everyday in your car if you have to go via the motorway to get to work; but have you ever been in a small canoe shaped vessel at 70mph? I’m telling you right now, it’s a whole different ball game. This is for those of you that love adrenaline filled fun and not for the faint-hearted.
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There’s More To Skiing Holiday’s There’s Also Apres Ski
Apres Ski is all about going out and getting fairly or heavily drunk depending on your personal preference. It means the night-life of the Alps (or wherever you are) Apres Ski are notorious for becoming quite out of proportion which means one thing; masses of parties for everyone. It’s like having a your very own nightclub by the mountainside and it is really something you need to go to in order to thoroughly enjoy your skiing holiday. In fact I would go as far as to say that it is sacrilegious not to attend these events after dark. Everyone seems to get on with each other, the drinks are flowing and the food is great. Sometimes these events incur a small fee for entrance although the mass majority of them are free to enter as long as you are staying at the venue. If there is one thing you definitely need to do besides skiing on your skiing holiday – then this is it.
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#4 For Those Who Don’t Like Ski’s Why Not Try Snowboarding
Yes this is a bit of an obvious one here but it had to be added, there are so many people who enjoy snow boarding now that it had to be on the list right? Snowboarding is for those of you that are either very bad with ski’s, have great skateboarding skills or if you just think it looks really cool. Snowboarding is a great way to get down the slope and you can easily keep up with a good skier as long as you know what you’re doing. Snowboarding also seems to have grown in respect over the years and you will no longer be frowned upon for taking your board to the slopes like you may have done a few years back; it’s one of those sports that come out from nowhere and becomes more popular than the original concept (e.g. skiing). There are also a variety of ramps and jumps that you can perform on your snowboard much like you can on a skateboard, so if you are into showing off a little, and you have the skills to do it; then you will thoroughly enjoy snowboarding.
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#5 Have A Go At Snow-Scooting
Snow-Scooting is a fairly new area of interest for the extreme sports fans, the basic premise of scooting is basically to ride a custom bike or scooter down the mountain slopes reaching some very high speeds. It is essentially skiing down a mountain on a bike which has a ski in place of wheels – sounds fun right? This all started out as something fairly mediocre and a lot of people thought it would disappear; however people are often and wrong and snow-scooting is now fairly common across the slopes. These little ice scooter/bikes are fantastic for reaching high speeds and doing tricks, which has become the latest craze. One thing to remember when having a go on a snow-scooter is that, unlike their concrete loving counterparts these babies do not have a brake; it’s just go or nothing. My advice to you, have a go at one of these but practice a little before you go shooting off down the slopes like a tornado!
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#6 See The Mountain From The Sky By Paragliding
Believe it or not paragliding is a fairly popular activity around some of the best slopes in Europe; although mainly in Austria and Italy. I think the main reason why this has fast become a popular activity is due to the freedom of the mountain; surely there is no better feeling than gliding above some of the most majestic looking mountains on earth? I think this would be an awesome thing to do, and the taller the mountain the better too! Paragliding alone is all about the freedom to fly above everything and to relax whilst you take in the beautiful landscapes and horizon; this just happens to go one step further and really does make paragliding seem a lot more fun for some reason. Maybe it is the thought of travelling down the mountainside for up to an hour (sometimes more) and taking everything in or maybe it’s because of the location of the area you are paragliding. No matter what the reason, this is definitely on my list.
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#7 The Latest Craze Hitting The Slopes Is Snow Rafting
Snow-Rafting is quickly becoming the ‘Must-do’ adventure whilst visiting the slopes; although this has been around for a while. Snow rafting like I mentioned has been around for a while but people all over the mountains of the world are trying it because it is just so damn fun. I mean come on, your travelling down a mountain on an inflatable boat/raft reaching speeds of up to 40-50mph (that’s an estimate by the way) it just sounds fun, it looks fun and I think I’m definitely going to have to try it out in person to see if it is as fun as it looks. This kind of activity is great because you can get more than just one person in the boat/raft so you can do this with some of your friends rather than going it alone. This is for those of you that like to be a little out-there with your sporting activities.
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#8 Why Not Try Telemark-Skiing If Snowboarding Isn’t For You
Okay so this is not really anything new as such, but we are apparently seeing somewhat of a revival so I thought I would add it. The concept is very similar to skiing in the usual way you would do it; however, what is different here is the binding of the boots to the ski’s themselves. Traditionally boots are bound to the ski’s from the heel to the toe and this makes them very rigid, telemark-skiing uses only the toe and ball of the foot area to be bound, effectively leaving the heel completely free. This allows much more movement and a lot more maneuverability so you can get around all that more easier, it also allows you to ski in more difficult situations as you can move in and out of areas where needed. This is really for those of you that are more advanced in skiing but this is still definitely worth trying if you enjoy skiing.
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#9 Have A Go At Buildng A Snowman Or Try Your Hand At Snow Sculpting
This is going to sound a little immature, but you know what; I don’t care in the slightest. Building snowmen (and women of course) is a great past-time that many of us have enjoyed over the years, both through our childhood and through our adulthood too. If you have children you will know more than most, just how important it is to get your children to use their imagination and if they are stuck on the side of the mountain all day they are going to get bored, that’s why making a snowman can make a lot of difference; it may sound stupidly simple, but building a snowman with your children will really help kill the boredom factor that they will inevitably come across. Besides building a snowman with your children, it’s just really fun to do anyway; as adults, who cares if you don’t have children, go build that snowman! There are of course other alternatives if you don’t want to build a snowman; how about trying your hand at some of the more advanced modelling skills of snow sculpting?
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#10 If You Have Had Enough Of Skiing Why Not Visit The Local Markets
Okay so this may not sound like the most adrenaline pumping, gut busting adventure but trust me, you will be surprised at how much fun can be found at the local markets; buying cheap gifts, find local cuisine and much more can be really fun if you enjoy shopping. Local markets are also a great way to become friendly with the locals which is a great thing to do; you never know who you may be talking to, so you may well end up securing an even cheaper holiday for next season if you play your cards right. Another great thing about the local markets is that you can gain some cultural experiences which is something everyone wants to experience right? Whether this is for you or not, the local markets are always going to be there so even if you just need to kill a few hours before checking in to your chalet, or before you go home, this is a great place to visit.
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#11 Visit Historical Points Of Interest
If you find yourself sore from the skiing, and you don’t really want to do anything too physical one day of your trip, then traveling to some well-known historical points of interest may be just what you need. Believe me, skiing is great fun but at times you can get very achy and even bored if you have been doing nothing but ski for 3 or 4 days straight. Culture as spoken about in the previous item, is a great part of life and we all need a little culture now and then so why not see what is around the local area’s that you can visit? There are bound to be many sight-seeing opportunities no matter what destination you have travelled to and they are usually only a few hours away in a rented car. This is definitely something to think about if you want more from your holiday than sporting activities but it certainly isn’t for everyone.
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#12 Try Some Of The Local Cuisine
This one is obvious and it is also a must do if you are somewhere completely new. The chances of them having the usual British favourites of ‘Fish and Chips’ or ‘ Steak and Kidney Pie’ is a little unlikely so you are going to have to try something at least a little different from your usual preference of food; so why not go ahead and try something wild. If you are in the French Alps then try some es cargo (snails) or maybe some frog legs, sure they may sound a little disgusting to you now but have you ever tried them to actually see if they are something you will like or dislike? These are just a couple of examples, and there will obviously be a lot more on offer no matter where you are but as they say, ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’ and it’s true if you are in a different country; try the local and national cuisine, try something different.
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#13 Participate In The Chamonix Free-Ride Competition
This is pretty limited to people who are travelling to Chamonix in France sometime this year (or next) but it is worth adding to the list because it really is a fantastic competition. Each year the annual competition is held for those willing, daring and adrenaline fueled enough to try it. There are cliff drops, jumps and death-defying skiing to be seen and this really should only be attempted by those that are fairly advanced skiers because as it sounds; it can become quite dangerous at times. However don’t feel left out if you are not quite up to that level of skiing yet because it is just as fun to watch this competition, there are falls, crashes and spectacular jumps and tricks to be seen so keep your eyes peeled because some of these skiers are very fast. It’s worth mentioning that this is an amateur competition which is actually judged by the worlds finest professional skiers, so if you are a skiing fan you may meet one of your heroes here too.
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#14 View The Aurora Borealis From Mt Aurora
The Aurora Borealis is one of the most beautiful, natural phenomenon’s that you can see in your lifetime and it is so easy to see if you time it right (and can afford it). This item goes one step further than merely ‘watching’ this amazing phenomenon this is viewing in style. Just in case some of you do not yet know what the Aurora Borealis is, it is the Latin name of the northern lights, a huge natural occurrence which can only be seen in a few places across the world! So where is the best place to see this huge phenomenon? Up the side of a mountain that’s where, or more specifically on the side of Mount Aurora, so named due to the Aurora Borealis. This is something that I think everyone should try to see once in their life, it is such an amazing experience and really makes you feel humbled; especially as you are up a huge mountain! This is an experience like no other and is something you really don’t want to miss, if you don’t like it you can always go skiing, right?
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#15 Watch The Sunrise From Your Mountain-side Chalet
This is a simple but great idea and is something that I think most people can relate to. Everyone loves watching a gorgeous sunrise (or indeed sunset) and there is no better place to see it happen in front of you than at the top of a mountain. The sky becomes brighter, changing colour from the dark of the night into a warming red glow as the sun starts to emerge on the horizon; the snow glistens and sparkles as the light slowly hits it which creates a surreal atmosphere. The icicles on the chalet begins to send beads of water to the ground as the heat of the rising sun becomes more intense and the mountain comes alive as the other skiers begin to wake up for the morning activities. This really is a perfect scene and something that I really enjoy watching. Hopefully you will enjoy this too?
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#16 Attempt To Perform A Ski-Jump
If you are an intermediate or advanced skier or snowboarder then this is something that will get your attention, it certainly isn’t for those that are scared of heights, hurting themselves or those that have a lesser ability to perform such manoeuvres. Ski-Jumping is very much an adrenaline pumping activity to do and some of the jumps are absolutely terrifyingly huge! But don’t let that put you off (much) as long as you are at a good level of skill and you know how to land you should be fine, that said, it is best to train a little if you are going to attempt the larger jumps. There is also the chance to some smaller jumps especially for those of you that enjoy snowboarding, much like the half-pipes used in skateboarding and BMX riding; snowboarders have the ability to have a go at ramps of a similar nature, so if your ski resort offers such a thing then my advice is to have a go. Just be careful when doing so!
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#17 Take Up Skiing Lessons If You Don’t Already Ski
We have spoken about a few of the more advanced things that you can do as a skier or snowboarder; and not one to let others down I thought I would add this one for those of you who have not been skiing before. It is an obvious one to add here but skiing lessons are quite important when starting out. Many people tend to just get some ski’s and hope for the best but this can lead to some disastrous consequences; some even life threatening. So if you have not been skiing before then go ahead and get some lessons so you are able to handle things a lot better. We all have to start somewhere and it’s not as if anyone will laugh at you, even your more advanced skiing friends were falling over all the time when they first started, it’s natural and you can only get better with practice. Here’s a thought to remember; if you are practising the right way through the use of a tutor then ‘practice makes perfect’ if however you go it alone then ‘practice makes permanent’ just think about which you would prefer. To sum it all up, lessons are essential if you are to become a skilled skier at any level so make sure you man up and take those lessons before you head off piste.
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#18 Relax In Your Ski Resorts Spa Or Sauna Facilities
Ah, the spa’s and sauna’s at the skiing resorts; there really is nothing better after a long day of skiing is there? If you have been skiing non-stop for six hours of the day, and you aren’t used to it then you are blatantly going to get some aches and pains, so instead of feeling sorry for yourself get over to the spa or sauna area and relax, the heat from the steam will help your body relax and take away all of those nasty aches and pains. Sometimes though, it is better to spend the day at the spa, in the swimming pool (if one is available), in the gym if you feel like a work out or getting a massage by some of the well-trained staff. There really is a lot more to just skiing when it comes to skiing holidays and it never ceases to amaze me that people think it is all or nothing. Trust me take at least a couple of hours out of your day to relax in the spa, you will have a much better time than trying to ski twenty-four hours of the day.
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#19 Have A Go On A Snow-Mobile
This is one of things that you have just got to do when you go skiing, it’s like being in a James Bond film, rushing across the slopes in what is essentially a quad-bike with ski’s attached. These beauties can reach some quite harrowing speeds especially when you are heading down-slope, so make sure you listen to the instructors advice because these can be faster than they appear to be. I personally love riding snow-mobiles they are quick, versatile and they manoeuvre very easily so you can zoom across the mountain checking out the views and having the time of your life with some of your closest friends. There is usually a height or age restriction for riding snow-mobiles (sometimes a height and age restriction) so don’t feel too left out if you can’t go on one of these, there are other things to do too; but for those of you that have your mind set on getting all James Bond on the mountainside – this definitely does the trick.
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#20 Visit The Worlds Highest Ski-Lifts Chacaltaya, Bolivia
Something once again for those of you that are not faint of heart; many people who go skiing use ski-lifts all the time, and even those with a fear of heights can usually deal pretty well as the majority of them aren’t overly tall in stature. The same cannot be said for the likes of those seen at Chacaltaya in Bolivia, the ski-lifts here are the tallest in the world and many people who are not afraid of heights soon become a little nervous whilst riding these beastly rides. Now although ski-lifts aren’t traditionally a form of tourism attractants the ones in Bolivia definitely are, however if you don’t fancy Bolivia there are some other; equally terrifying albeit shorter ski-lifts to check out. Merida in Venezuela and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in China are two such venues where you can see very tall ski-lifts. So if you fancy trying out the tallest lifts, as well as getting some great skiing action then you may well want to try one of these destinations.
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