Winter is here and with it plenty of amazing snow-capped adventures in countries all over the world. From ski bobbing in the Jizera Mountains to igloo building in the French Alps, here are eight challenging, out of the ordinary and downright exhilarating, things to do in winter worth traveling for.
Base Camp Crawl
Where: Himalayas, Nepal
If you’ve dreamt of visiting Nepal’s majestic peaks, but you’re not too keen on the climb, consider adventure outfitter Remote Lands’ new10-day tour “HImalayas by Helicopter”. Each morning, guests will explore one of Nepal’s famous base camps (with the highest reaching 18,000 feet); at night, guests will enjoy a good night’s sleep in comfortable mountain accommodations. Base camps include Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Due to inclement weather, the trip is only offered from April to May and October to November.
Winter Tandem Paragliding
Where: British Columbia, Canada
Take to the air with a tandem paraglide over the snow-capped treetops of Panorama Mountain Resort’s Rollercoaster run. With an expert instructor strapped in behind you, you’ll hurl down the mountain, then launch into the great wide open. After 15 minutes of incomparable views of the Rocky and Purcell mountains, you’ll set down in the powder of a nearby golf course. The best time to paraglide is from December to April. To participate, you must be an intermediate level skier. Skis and helmets are required, and keep in mind there’s only one flight per person and each flight must be booked 24 hours in advance.
Where: Champsaur Valley, Southern French Alps
Live like an Inuit with Undiscovered Mountain’s igloo challenge in the southern French Alps. Led by an expert guide, the journey begins with a snowshoe trek to a remote location where you’ll learn how to build an igloo. When you’re done, you’ll eat dinner under the stars followed by a night in your frosty dwelling. The best time to plan a trip is from December to April. A high level of fitness is recommended and keep in mind the trek is physically demanding.
Where: Darby, Montana
Experience Montana’s legendary snowfall at Triple Creek Ranch, with skijoring – an exciting afternoon of being towed behind a galloping horse as if on water through snow-swept fields and forest paths of the Bitterroot Mountain range. You may even see an elk or two. The best time of year to visit is from December to April. Make sure to pack along cold-weather clothing. If you don’t have what you need, Triple Creek can loan it to you.
Fly-in Glacier Hike
Where: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
Spend two hours exploring the remote white ice of Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest and most famous river of ice, flanked by the towering mountains of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. With outfitter Southern Alps Guiding’s fly-in, fly-out expedition, you’ll hike over extraordinary terrain, gaze at astonishing ice formations and, if you’re lucky, check out an ice cave or two on this chilly yet captivating adventure. The best time to visit is from June to May. Participants must be in general good health, and at least 8 years old.
Where: Jizera Mountains, Czech Republic
For skiers looking for something new, head to the Czech Republic’s Jizera Mountains where ski bobbing is a major player in the region’s winter line-up. Best of all, equipment is available for rent at nearly every resort. Picture riding down a steep hill on a child’s bike with skis instead of wheels. It’s easy to learn, but don’t let the appearance fool you. Ski bobs can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour. The best time of year to indulge is December to April.
Where: San Moritz, Switzerland
Known for its pristine natural beauty and mountain panoramas, Lake Silvaplana in San Moritz is a hot spot for snowkiters. Similar to kite surfing but with skis, you’ll glide over the ice, pulled by a kite and powered by the region’s mysterious “Maloja Snake,” a steady wind that draws devotees from around the world. The ideal time to snowkite is January and February when the lake is frozen.
Where: Alta, Norway
Escape with KimKim.com’s four-day, dog sledding expedition across Norway’s Finnmarksvidda, the country’s largest mountain plain. Begin in Alta, where you’ll meet your team of eager huskies, then embark upon an exciting 75-mile round-trip journey. You’ll sled up and downhill, through fields and valleys and through stunning birch forests. At night, after putting your dogs to bed, you’ll relax with a glass of wine in cozy lodges located along your route. The best time for dog sledding is November through March or early April. Keep in mind, participants must be at least 14 years old to drive their own sled.
A version of this article first appeared in U.S. News & World Report