Winter is coming! (Well, it’s basically already here.) As temperatures drop around the country and snow and ice begin to cover our cities, towns, mountains, and lakes, it’s time to take a look at five extreme sports that can only be done in the winter weather!
1. Ice Climbing
Grab your pick, climbing rope, crampons, boots, and carabiners! It’s time to scale an icy mountain or frozen waterfall using nothing but a few handy supplies, raw strength, and lots of courage. Ice climbing is more dangerous than regular mountain climbing because cold temperatures lead to “brain-freeze” which makes it harder to focus and concentrate and the instability of the surface itself can also cause falling ice and avalanches. Because of this, having the right gear and the right knowledge is more important than ever. Make sure to be safe and alert while climbing those icy waterfalls!
Snowkiting is basically kiteboarding… in the snow. A mix of snowboarding and kitesurfing, snowkiting is a sport that requires immense strength and agility and is classified as “extreme” because of the high speeds one can reach if the wind is strong enough. Find some soft powder to try snowkiting for your first time. That way, if you wipe out, your landing will be a little gentler!
Heli-skiing is extremely dangerous and should only be done by seasoned pros. One of the dangers is that helicopter skiers are often dropped in remote or off-trail locations. There are no lodges or lifts. The mountains that heli-skiers access are usually very difficult to navigate and one wrong move could be the difference between life and death. Heli-skiing is so dangerous, in fact, that it’s been banned in some European countries.
Grab your snowmobile and hit the course for a wintery race unlike any other. Snocross is just like motocross except, instead of a motorcycle, you’re on a snowmobile and, instead of a dirt track, you’re on snow. Regular snowmobiling can be dangerous, as you’re operating a very heavy piece of machinery moving at high speeds on choppy and sometimes unknown terrain. But Snocross brings snowmobiling to a whole new level, sending riders on huge jumps and around tight bends.
5. Shovel Racing
Yep, you read that right: shovel. Like the kind you use to dig a hole in the ground. Think sledding, but on a shovel. Ski instructors in New Mexico invented this sport more than 40 years ago as a way to get down the mountain instead of taking the lifts. The sport has had its share of controversy and is classified as “extreme” because it’s, well, extremely dangerous. Shovel racers can reach top speeds of almost 75 mph, making a wipeout pretty serious.