When we think of winter sports, images of skiers and snowboarders come to mind - but there really is so much more to the genre. No longer do you have to be able to stay upright on a ski or swoop through the slopes on a snowboard to enjoy the crisp winter air. With the likes of kneeboarding and shovel racing taking the world by storm, there are now many more options. Here's our Top 5 Wacky Winter Sports*
The term is pretty self-explanatory, but for those still wondering - snow kayaking is the practice of paddling through the snow on... you guessed it, a kayak! Forget the white water rapids, snow kayaking is the ultimate in extreme sports. Weaving your way down the slopes as you navigate the many bumps and cracks, the risk of injury is fairly high - so it's important to wear the right gear and get a lot of practice in before hitting the high slopes.
Please be aware that snow kayaking is considered an extreme sport and few ski resorts allow it. So do check before you pack your kayak. Although if you do happen to be in Monarch, Colorado at the end of March, you are in luck. Their signature event, Kayaks on Snow, is happening on March 29th.
Like an extreme version of skiing, Skijoring sees people pulled along on their skis by a motor, dog/dogs or a horse. Silly though it may sound, it's a thrilling activity and more often than not, it's dogs that are involved - seemingly as they are slightly more reliable than their equine counterparts! The name stands for 'ski driving' in Norwegian and such is its popularity that many competitions are held across the world.
Contact Adventures in the Alps to arrange your Skijoring trip this season.
Mostly taking place in America, shovel racing sees riders sitting on a shovel and racing down a slope. Typically, a basic snow shovel is used and the rider finds the right balance between their upper body and bottom half. A little too low on the feet or a little too high on the upper half, then you're off! Core strength is key here, but once you've got the hang of it, you could even enter one of the many competitions that take place in the States each year.
Angel Fire Resort in Angel Fire, New Mexico, USA have re-started a decades old tradition and will be hosting their Shovel Races Championship on February 7 - February 8, 2014.
Polar bear plunging
Fancy swimming in icy cold weathers during the cold, dark depths of winter?! Maybe not - but trust us, a polar bear plunge can be very invigorating! Most popular in the UK, Canada, the US and the Netherlands, polar bear plunging sees swimmers dive into freezing cold waters. Often, participants will indulge in fancy dress in a bid to raise some money for charity, but for some, it's just the sheer thrill of the sport that keeps them coming back for more.
A thrill-a-minute sport, snow kneeboarding is just that - snowboarding, but with your knees instead of your legs and feet. With your knees strapped to a sledge attached to an edgeless snowboard, you'll navigate the snowy slopes at great speeds. Safety gear is essential, as you can easily lose control and injure yourself - but once you've mastered this sport, you'll find it very exciting indeed.
Photo Attribution: Flickr/abkfenris
*Columbus Direct’s winter sports policy includes cover for a variety of different activities on the slopes but unfortunately not the ones shown above. Whatever activity you plan to do while on holiday, make sure you have the right cover in place before you go – check your policy or contact your insurer. Like the above sports, If it’s not covered as standard they may still be able to provide cover so it is always worth getting in touch. If you struggle to get a certain activity covered it’s worth checking with the organiser as many offer their own insurance.
10 January 2014 - Ferdi Burger