Whilst I managed to get a long weekend skiing back in February 2020, many people won’t have made it onto the slopes this year due to Covid-19. But what if you made it to your ski resort but couldn’t actually ski?
That got me thinking.
If you can’t ski, don’t ski or won’t ski, but want to enjoy the facilities in a ski resort, what alternative winter activities are there? Well, it turns out there are plenty. Here are 9 alternative winter activities you can do in ski resorts.
When I skied in Whistler, our trip was for 10 days. As such we took a day off to do some hiking, but ended up spending the morning snowmobiling around Whistler’s back country. From racing over snow covered frozen lakes to attacking jumps, it was a lot of fun. Fear not, you don’t have to go all the way to Canada to try snowmobiling – Levi in Finland and Courchevel in France are two of the European resorts that offer the activity.
There are many ski resorts that boast of having ‘Europe’s longest toboggan run’, but to be honest, you can take your pick for which one to choose, as all of them are great fun. Val Thorens, La Plagne, Bergun and Gstaad in Switzerland and the Zillertal Arena (Mayrhofen) all boast great toboggan runs.
Yes, you read correctly. Ice driving. A skid pan at high-altitude, what could go wrong? You’ll come away with a few driving skills that you’re unlikely to use on the UK road network. Still, it’s good fun at the time. You can give this a try in Val Thorens, Flaine, Tignes and Alpe d’Huez all over ice driving sessions.
The little brother of ice driving, ice karting allows you to race your friends around an ice-laden track. Just as fun, and cheaper than ice driving, you can try ice karting in Tignes, Val d’Isere, Verbier, Saalbach, Serre Chevalier and Cervinia.
Have you dived down under the ocean to explore tropical fish and plant life? Well, this is completely different. A friend of mine did this in Tignes a few years ago and said it was a great experience. It doesn’t matter if you’ve dived before or not, just be comfortable wearing a drysuit. You can try ice diving in a lake in Tignes, or into a glacier in Zermatt.
For those of you that ski or snowboard regularly, the sight of a brightly-coloured parachute drifting around in the afternoon sun is a common sight in most resorts in Austria, Switzerland and France. You can give paragliding a try in Tignes, Mayrhofen, St. Anton, Les Deux Alpes, Serre Chevalier, Verbier, Chamonix, Courchevel and more.
Sleep In An Igloo
Fancy sleeping in an igloo? Or maybe simply having a beer in an igloo? The White Lounge at the top of the Ahorn mountain in Mayrhofen pumps out relaxing tunes during the day and provides igloo seating inside, and deckchair seating outside. If you want to sleep in an igloo at 2,000m above sea level, the White Lounge provides a ‘Basic Package’ for four people, and a ‘Romantic Package’ for two. Just don’t forget your thermals.
Whilst this is mainly a Scandinavian activity, there are a few resorts in France and Austria that offer dog sledding. So if you fancy saddling up, whipping those reigns and shouting ‘giddy-up!’ to a pack of huskies, head to Alpe d’Huez, Tignes, Courchevel, Flaine, Banff, Breckenridge, Chamonix, Serre Chevalier, La Plagne, Meribel and more.
Hot Air Ballooning
Call me a romantic, but taking a hot air balloon ride over the Alps at sunrise or sunset sounds awesome. What better way to see the snow covered mountains in all their glory? You can take a hot air balloon ride in Courchevel or La Clusaz in France, or further afield in Aspen.
If you’ve done another alternative winter ski resort adrenaline activity that’s not in this list, let us know in the comments below!