Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, adventure sports can be thrilling, challenging and exhilarating. The wintry backdrops and bracing temperatures provide the ideal environment to enjoy a winter adventure sport.
This post will guide you through our top 7 adventure sports to enjoy this winter, both in the UK and abroad.
We’re sure you’ll find one that’s right for you!
1. INDOOR SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
There are many indoor ski centres all over the UK that enable you to practice your skiing and snowboarding without having to leave the country.
For beginners, these centres offer ski and snowboard lessons. Alternatively, those with more experience are free to enjoy the slopes.
This is a great way to enjoy the experience of skiing and snowboarding, without having to pay for the holiday! What’s more, it can help you to get some practice in before your next trip.
Source: Phil Williams
BEST INDOOR SKI CENTRES:
- Snow Factor, Glasgow. The UK’s largest ski centre, offering ski and snowboard lessons. The centre also has an indoor ice climbing wall, and provides sledging sessions too.
- Chill Factore, Manchester. The UK's longest, and the world's widest, real snow indoor ski slope. As well as offering ski and snowboard lessons, Chill Factore provides air boarding and snowscoot sessions.
- The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead. This is the centre in which celebrities of Channel 4’s The Jump train before heading off to film in the Alps. Here you’ll find a 160m real snow slope, which is perfect for practising ski jumping.
- Snozone, Milton Keynes and Castleford. Snozone has a 170m fresh snow slope and offers ski and snowboard lessons for all ages. They also provide tubing and sledging sessions.
2. MOUNTAIN BIKING
Summer is often the most popular time for bike-riding. The days are longer and warmer, whilst the ground is usually dry and easy to ride on.
But winter mountain biking can be even better. Riding in the cold is truly invigorating, and you get to see the enhanced beauty of the UK’s landscapes against stunning, wintry conditions.
However, you must be careful when riding in winter. The cold, wet weather can turn the ground muddy, slushy and icy, making for difficult riding terrain. If you’re a beginner and the ground is especially icy, it’s best to not ride that day, as you’ll be less able to control your bike and protect yourself against accidents.
In the winter, you must also be prepared with the correct equipment and clothing. You should always wear efficient winter gear including gloves and thermals to keep warm.
Additionally, your bike should be equipped with winter-proof tyres to help provide extra grip in wintry conditions. Cycle Wild Scotland provide the ultimate guide to mountain biking in winter.
Source: Anthony DeLorenzo
BEST MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS:
● Goyt Valley, Peak District. An ideal route to enjoy in all weathers, this is a low-lying loop. This means it’s a relatively flat ride, with only a few steep ascents.
● Glen Ample, Scotland. The forest and steep hills keep this loop sheltered from the wintry environment. The mostly-flat surfaces are ideal for all-year riding.
● Stockdale Lane, Settle, Yorkshire Dales. A trail for the more experienced, this route has steep
climbs, rocky trails, and fast descents, making for a truly invigorating winter ride.
Coasteering involves exploring a rocky coastline by climbing, jumping and swimming around it. Uncovering cliffs, pools and coves in this unique way is truly exhilarating, especially in the bracing cold of winter.
But don’t worry about being cold - the constant movement when coasteering ensures that you’re always kept warm. In fact, your body benefits from the cold water as it activates your immune system and produces adrenaline, keeping your body pumped and warm.
There are many coasteering expeditions in the UK, and you should always book with a reputable company for the best routes and safety assurance.
Source: Bob Jones
Best coasteering areas:
● Pembrokeshire. Here you can explore the beauty of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and uncover its coves, caves and rock arches.
● South Devon. Home to calm seas, limestone cliffs and plenty of sunshine, even in winter.
Salcombe and Torquay are popular coasteering spots.
● North Devon. The coastline here is a little more rugged and the sea a little rougher. Therefore, it’s ideal for the more adventurous amongst us.
● Dorset. Home to some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes, you can go coasteering amongst them all. Explore Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove in ways you never have before.
● Cornwall. If you’re looking for huge jumps and caves, Cornwall is the place for you. The perfect coasteering spot, there’s an abundance of places to explore. The most popular coasteering areas are Bude, Newquay and St.Ives.
● Antrim, Northern Ireland. Here you’ll find Giant’s Causeway, an area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, and a great area to coasteer.
4. MINE TOURS
Mine tours enable visitors to delve deep underground, and experience the history of coal mines. You can learn all about the Victorian times, when women and children worked underground alongside the men, right through to the modern day.
Mine tours are a truly interesting activity. What’s more, they allow you to understand the often harsh conditions in which employees worked.
Mine tours are not for the faint hearted. You’re going hundreds of metres underground, with only dim light to guide the way. However, they’re an interesting and exciting activity. What’s more, mine tours are perfect to enjoy in winter as you’re sheltered from the cold weather outside.
Source: Anne Burgess
Best mine tours:
● Honister Slate Mine, Keswick. Here you can experience a variety of tours. The Kimberley tour is suitable for all ages and is one of the easier mines to explore. The Honister tour is for those who enjoy a little more adventure. It allows visitors to scale the mountain and enter the mine from the top.
● Apedale Coal Mine, Newcastle-Under-Lyme. This is where the last coal was drawn in North Staffordshire. On the mine tour, the coal face is reached by a gentle incline, rather than a vertical one, meaning it’s a suitable, easy tour for all ages to enjoy.
● Poldark Mine, Cornwall. The only complete underground mine in Cornwall and Devon that is open to the public, Poldark Mine is definitely worth a visit!
5. SKIING & SNOWBOARDING
Ski and snowboard holidays are an ever-popular choice for the adventure-lovers amongst us.
Both sports improve your flexibility, core strength and balance, whilst offering a truly enjoyable experience! The picturesque, mountainous landscapes add to the experience and make this a truly rewarding adventure sport!
Whether a beginner or an experienced skier/snowboarder, there are many resorts that offer something for everyone.
Source: US Department of Agriculture
Best ski resorts:
● Val Thorens, France. The highest resort in the Trois Vallées ski area, Val Thorens is a popular resort with exciting terrain.
● Alpe d’Huez, France. Situated just 90 minutes from Grenoble, Alpe d’Huez snow season often lasts from as early as December to late April.
● Val D’Isere, France. One of the most popular ski resorts, there is always something going on in Val D’Isere! The pistes are groomed to the highest standards, ensuring the best ski environment!
● Whistler, Canada. A little further away, but definitely worth a visit, Whistler offers great pistes and a nightlife to match.
● Verbier, Switzerland. The main resort in Switzerland’s largest ski area, Verbier has something for everyone; expert or beginner.
6. ICE CLIMBING
Ice climbing is an adrenaline-pumping sport that involves climbing glaciers or frozen waterfalls.
Ice climbers use picks and ropes to climb the treacherous, slippery surfaces and this is fast becoming a popular sport all over the world.
However, it’s a necessity to train at an indoor ice wall before you try to climb the real thing! Ice climbing can be incredibly dangerous and you need to pick up some of the basics beforehand. There are many indoor walls in the UK for you to practice on.
Source: Kevin K
Best ice climbing destinations:
● Dolomites, Italy. This is the highest glacier climb in Italy, and is perfect for thrill seekers.
● Lofoten Islands, Norway. These islands are just 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle and have a breath-taking setting right by the ocean. You may also catch a glimpse of the northern lights here.
● Frontier Ridge, France. Part of the Pyrenees mountains, Frontier Ridge is a snowy and rocky ice climbing destination.
● Múlafjall, Iceland. This is the most popular ice climbing destination near Reykjavik. It’s a 1.5 mile long cliff face, and has various routes and grades to climb.
7. ICE DIVING
A treacherous, thrill-seeking sport, ice diving is a team activity that involves diving underneath ice into freezing cold water. This allows you to experience wildlife and conditions that many could only dream of.
Temperatures underneath the ice are usually between 0°C and 4 °C. It can be a dangerous sport and ice-divers must be quick thinking in times of emergency.
Therefore it’s important for ice divers to be specially trained. Aspiring ice divers must be a PADI certified Advanced Open Water Diver before they can undertake an ice diving course. Only after completion of this course can a person take to the ice.
Source: Jol Ito
Best areas for ice diving:
● The White Sea, Russia. The only sea in Europe that freezes each year, ice diving in the white sea is an incredible experience.
● McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Experience life beneath the ice and take in the breath-taking views of Antarctica.
● Silfra Rift, Iceland. Home to some of the clearest waters in the world, and with visibility exceeding 100m, Silfra is the perfect location for ice diving.
● Sassolo Lake, Switzerland. This alpine lake allows you to dive amongst spectacular ice formations for a truly unique experience.
Whether it’s ice diving, mountain biking, coasteering or other that suits your tastes, you’re guaranteed to experience true adventure when undertaking these sports!
So what are you waiting for? Give an adventure sport a go this winter!