The bells are jingling, cinnamon is sweet and pungent in the air, and our New Year’s resolution lists are over and done. Soon enough, winter will make us sleepy, and it’s only December! There’s so much to do, eat, smell and feel until the snowy season comes to an end, so do your best to stay awake. Yes, your favourite blanket is warm and inviting and somebody’s bought a new cocoa flavour that matches your reading plans perfectly, but there’s a whole wide world outside your paper snowflake windows that waits to be explored.
Go outside and start a snowball fight with your neighbours! It will remind you of simpler times, when the great white mountains were at the reach of your hand. Dust off the family sled and build a snow fort. Hopefully, that will only be the beginning of the great outdoor holiday adventure that you’ll be returning to for many Christmases to come.
What follows is not your everyday skiing vacation, but the one that would make even the worst of adrenaline junkies feel all cozy and snug on the inside.
Okay, I lied a bit – your journey will indeed start with skiing, but it will be like nothing you’ve experienced before, I promise. Heli-skiing is the latest in winter wonderland trends for tireless daredevils and is double the fun, double the thrill and, of course, double the danger.
Especially for those who despise overcrowded ski tracks and enjoy the ruthless isolation of backcountry skiing, heli-skiing promises one heck of a ride. Instead of wasting fresh snow while waiting in endless lift lines, you’ll be dropped off at the highest peak of the mountain and left there to find your way back down.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, head straight to British Columbia and never look back. Canadians have mastered this art in terms of both experience and safety, and you’ll hardly find the same level of professionalism anywhere else. In case you have no other choice, be sure to check regulations before you go heli-skiing in the USA or Europe, since some countries offer only a single ride to the mountains and do not care about your survival techniques.
While exploring the highest tops of the Lumberjack Country, grab the chance to dive underneath the surface as well. Ice-diving is another winter adventure activity that Canadians excel in, and it’s set to change your view on the world in the trippiest way possible.
Then again, you can go a bit further than that and make ice-diving the end goal of your holiday escapade. Antarctica is where it all began, so why not take the opportunity and book the trip to the Great White Desert? A vacation cannot get more wintery than that, don’t you think?
In Antarctica or somewhere else, don’t expect to go deeper than 30 feet; anything more would be extremely dangerous. While treading on the fine line between exhilaration and panic, look out for all the sea butterflies, hedgehogs, horsetails and other creatures with funny names that inhabit the abysmal coldness. And, in case you do get anxious underneath, don’t worry, since what awaits you on the surface is cute and cuddly like your warmest childhood dreams. That’s right, you’ll get to spend your Christmas with penguins!
Like heli-skiing and ice-diving, this insane winter sport is not an activity for everyone. In fact, kite-skiing is considered a combination of sailing, kite flying and skiing, and you’ll have to be quite experienced in at least one in order to master the technique.
What’s interesting, however, is that kite-skiing comes incredibly cheap. What you need is suggested by the name – this activity requires nothing but kite equipment and regular downhill skis (also, you can use a snowboard if you prefer). It doesn’t even require a hill! In case vacationing is not an option, kite-skiing is something you can do in your windy backyard.
The physics behind it are simple enough to grasp. The kite provides the pull, similarly to the mainsail on a sailboat. When you are going upwind, the kite becomes powerful enough to support the skier’s weight, which provides some brilliant opportunities for stunts. So, learn your physics, practise hard, and try not to break something you can’t do without.
When somebody proposes a walking vacation, most adrenaline junkies are quick to discard the idea as not death-defying enough. All of you who think hiking is any less adrenaline-packed than it actually is, I dare you to try! Once the fresh air fills out your lungs and your blisters start to rupture, you’ll sing an entirely different song.
Unexpectedly, you’ll find that hiking requires an electrified spirit and a strategic approach, just like all the best sports do. Soon enough, you’ll get hooked and trails will become too narrow for your newly opened mind. Then, start off-roading for yet undiscovered excitement!
It’s simply how we were made – wanderlust runs through our veins and itches our feet with every step we take, so why not make this holiday season all about those blood-pumping off-roading trails that the USA is so luckily endowed with? After all, it’s the only proper way of celebrating our nature-bound roots, our wonderfully nomadic traditions, and our utterly human instincts.
5. Glacier Climbing
- If learning a new skill is one of your resolutions for the New Year and you’re eager to cross off another destination from your bucket list, then off to the glaciers! Whether you choose to climb to the alpine tops or simply to hike your way up, glacier climbing is one of the best Christmas gifts you can surprise your adventurous spirit with.
Now, this winter activity is not for the faint-hearted. Prepare to spend a lot of freezing hours practicing the techniques before you even lift your feet off the ground and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to feel a bit frightened in the process. Book a course in spite of all that, and thank me later.
You’ll find that Iceland is where the glacier climbing action is, though Alaska is considered equally fun. I don’t have to warn you that this activity doesn’t come cheap, but it’s certainly one of those things that we like to call “once in a lifetime”. It’ll be chilly and terrifying, but you’ll love every single minute of it.
Don’t spend your holiday break in the bed! There’s plenty of time for being a proud no-lifer once the snowdrops begin sprouting, so treat yourself with a good old mason jar of pure, unadulterated adrenaline. Hopefully, it will wake you up and make you smell the routine.
Featured photo credit: Clement Delhaye via unsplash.com