Brand-new year, brand-new me: New Year’s resolutions often involve some form of exercise, so why not kickstart 2020 trying out a new sport? With so many great snowy places across the DACH-region, there are plenty of winter sports you may have never heard of. Can we tempt you with any of the following?
TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTO © PIXABAY
Snowy mountains as far as the eye can see: from Switzerland to Germany and Austria, the DACH region is a paradise for lovers of winter sports. Skiing, snowboarding and ice skating are probably the most popular activities, but they are by no means the only ones. Each year, new ways of getting active in the snow emerge, and 2020 is no exception.
Inspired by water sports
Have you ever considered going snowkiting? For the speed junkies amongst us, this will be a popular choice. Similar to kitesurfing, where the kite pulls you across the water surface, you are on a board and attached to a kite pulling you across the snow. If you are sceptical, don’t worry, it’s much easier to learn than kitesurfing, as the solid ground gives you a better balance.
There is also ice surfing, a great alternative for surfers during the cold season. Special surfboards with skids allow the surfer to conquer frozen lakes and rivers effortlessly – with only the help of a little breeze. Another winter option for water sports enthusiasts is ice sailing. With a little practice, you can gain some really high speeds on the ice.
If you miss your jet ski, just book a snowmobile tour. It’s essentially the same concept and allows you to access untouched nature and get close to glaciers – all whilst enjoying the little machine’s high speeds.
The faster, the better
A much faster way to get an adrenaline kick in the snow is by giving bobsledding a try. There are quite a few bobsleigh runs available across the DACH region and more seem to pop up each year. Think a rollercoaster with snow.
To take it even further, you could also do it whilst sitting in a wok. Ever since Stefan Raab’s Wok World Championship, this unconventional sport has been consistently gaining popularity. In Innsbruck, you can find out if speeds of almost 100 kilometres per hour in a wok will scare you or not. All you need is three friends and you’re good to go.
Or, you could try out airboarding. Here, you are essentially laying with your belly flat on a high-tech airboard. Hence, you are extremely close to the slope, which makes it feel even faster. It’s a little bit like a blow-up sleigh and you can conquer more territory than on regular skis.
Taking in nature’s glistening beauty around you
One of the quieter yet physically demanding winter sports is ice climbing, or glacier trekking. It requires a great deal of focus and discipline – and even more muscle. Ice picks help you get a better grip to master this icy challenge.
If you are a little fed up with your average skiing and snowboarding, but you don’t want to learn any new tricks that are too challenging, then maybe snowbiking is for you. It’s essentially not a new winter sport as it has been around for decades, but it’s still a very rare one. Instead of having a normal bike’s wheels, it’s got skis, and it honestly could not be easier to handle. If you try it and realise you have discovered your new favourite hobby, you can even purchase your own snowbike online.
Austria and Switzerland are the places to go to if you would like to try out snow golfing. Yes, you read that right. You’re playing golf, but in the snow or on ice surfaces. Accordingly, the ‘greens’ are called ‘whites’ and there are now even championships for it.
Nordic walking, meanwhile, also has a winter counterpart, with Nordic ice walking. All you need are sticks and ice skates – and, of course, a frozen surface.
Sustainability, the biggest trend
Possibly the biggest trend of all when it comes to winter sports over the past few years is the focus on sustainability. From biodegradable ski wax to using plant-based or recycled materials such as plastic bottles for ski wear and equipment, the demand for sustainability in the world of winter sports is increasing, and the industry is listening.
Obviously, safety has always been an important component in the snow and the trend goes toward using more wearables in order to fully benefit from the newest technology.
Whatever your style is in the snow – whether you seek an adrenaline rush, or you want to enjoy pristine snow-filled nature quietly – make sure you do it safely.