For some people, skiing is just the tip of the thrill-seeking iceberg. The Alps are full of daredevils hell-bent on finding a new activity to test their nerve! Here are 10 of our favourite activities to get your heart racing this winter, whether you’re skiing for a week or a winter.
1. Fat Bike
This season, don’t be surprised to see cyclists cutting across the pistes in your local resort! This is the newest sport to hit the alps, and is taking off big style. The premise is simple – put snow tyres on a mountain bike, and off you go! Ice is the enemy of the fat bike, so get some practice in before you hit the black trails.
Where? Gstaad, Switzerland.
2. Zipwire across a Valley
Did you know you can get from Orelle to Val Thorens in just 1 minute and 45 seconds? You even get to take your skis with you! For just €50 you can travel by zipwire between the two resorts at up to 105km an hour, 250m from the ground. Feeling brave?!
Where? Bouchet Chairlift (Orelle), accessible with a Val Thorens, Orelle or 3 Valley Lift Pass.
3. Dog Sledding
Although “mushing” is a skill in itself, you can learn the basics and give dog sledding a go. It’s a lot more physical than you’d think – helping the dogs uphill and trying to stop the sled going out of control downhill!
Depending on the resort, you can take the dogs out by day, or go for a moonlit excursion. In Orceires 1850 you can even go on an overnight expedition.
Really test your mettle by hurling yourself down the Olympic Bobsleigh track in La Plagne, France. You can ease yourself in with the “Bob Raft” before building up to the 120km/h “Bob Racer” or even get the true Olympic Experience at 130km/h! Don’t forget your lucky egg.
Where? Half way between La Plagne 1800 and La Roche, in the Paradiski area.
You’ve probably heard that Heliskiing isn’t technically legal in France. However, that didn’t stop the thrill-seekers and they’ve figured out that REVERSE heliskiing is just fine!
Be led by a backcountry specialist up to the peaks rarely seen by anyone but locals, and ski down untouched mountains through gorgeous powder, to be picked up by heli and brought back to resort. If you’re feeling flush you can head over to Italy for the full experience too.
Where? Val D’Isere, Tignes, 3 Valleys, La Rosiere, St Foy
Fancy taking to the skies unaided instead? How about skiing off a cliff?!
Many skiers will be familiar with the sight of paragliding wings soaring over the pistes in the 3 Valleys. The mountains are the perfect spot to try it out: thermals generated by the sun hitting the snowy pistes will lift you higher and you’ll be treated to breathtaking views as you glide down.
If you’re feeling especially brave, you can try Speed Skiing in Chamonix – a combination of skiing and parapenting which allows skiers to hit incredible speeds down some of the world’s best slopes.
7. Ice Diving
That’s right – this one is for the extra brave. If you fancy trapping yourself in a frozen lake for 20 minutes with 2 metres of ice between you and the open air, get yourself to Tignes this winter. You are attached to a line so you can find your way back to the entry point, but still… brrr.
Where? Tignes Le Lac
8. Bungee Jumping
But not as you know it… Voltige Bungy offers you the chance to jump out of a cable car at 2200m in Les Deux Alpes! You’ll drop a total of 140m, coming within 20m of the ground on your first bounce. Do you dare?
9. Step Into the Void
Hover 3,982m above the ground at Chamonix’s new “Step Into the Void” experience. Step out onto the glass platform and experience the highest tourist attraction in Europe. Apart from the stomach-churning drop below you, it also offers stunning views of the Chamonix valley. If you’re not sure you’ll manage to take that step, don’t worry – the experience is included in your lift pass price!
Where: Chamonix, top of Aiguille du Midi cable car.
10. Big Air
We’d be daft not to include skiing in our awesome list! Many resorts now offer the chance to hit the big jumps with the safety of an air bag beneath to break your fall. For just a couple of Euros, you can throw yourself down the slope, or perfect your latest grab. To be honest, the scariest part is the hundreds of fellow skiers watching you closely as you slide down. Nerve-wracking in itself if you’re trying to land a trick…
Why not try an instructors course and push yourself, and take advantage of the awesome activities above? Check out our Residential Courses and #startyouradventure. See you on the slopes!