Mountain Adventures

Winter holidays aren’t just about skiing or snowboarding; there are so many other fun activities to try, says Bev Fearis

Scenic flight: Take a light aircraft flight with Aéroclub de Méribel and see the magnificent Three Valleys from the skies. Ski right in to Meribel’s retro Alitport, swap your boots for shoes and jump on board for an exhilarating ride. The price is €280 (£240) for a family of four. Stay at Hôtel Le Mottaret with Ski France. A Kids go Free offer means seven nights cost from £1,107 B&B, £1,400 half-board and £1,791 all-inclusive, based on two adults and two children sharing, excluding flights.

Snow kiting: A kite, a pair of skis (or a board) and some wind are all you need for this fast-growing sport. At La Thuile, a resort in Italy’s Aosta Valle, there’s a snow kite zone at the suitably windy Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo, on the French border. Rides cost €17, including lift access to the top. A week at Les Grandes Alpes in La Rosère 1850, on the French side, costs from £939pp, including cooked breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine, prepared by chalet hosts, return flights from Manchester or Gatwick and transfers.

Mountain biking
Mountain tobogan2

Fat Tyre biking: Pedal your way around the peaks at Park City, Utah, a hot spot for mountain biking in the summer and for fat tyre biking in the winter. Six miles of its 26-mile Historic Rail Trail are groomed in the winter months, connecting Park City to the Round Valley trail system. Seven nights B&B at the Best Western Landmark Inn costs from £723pp, based on two sharing, excluding flights and transfers.

Tobogganing: Glide down the world’s longest floodlit run in Wildkogel Arena in Austria’s Salzburg region. It’s 14km long and at 1,300 metres altitude in the valley towards Bramberg and takes around 30-50 minutes, depending on speed and ability. Go self-catering at the Alpine-style luxury apartments, Wildkogelresorts, in Bramberg, from £941pp for seven nights including flights from Bristol.

Mountain fishing 1
Mountain rafting

Ice fishing: Join a guided ice fishing experience in Sun Peaks, Canada. On a half-day tour with local expert, Campbell, you’ll walk across a frozen lake, drill a hole into the ice, peer down and (hopefully) see Rainbow Trout. Private groups cost from $400 for up to two, or $500 for up to five. A 10-night self-catering stay at Sun Peaks Residences, departing March 8 2024, costs £2,535pp, based on two sharing, and includes shared airport transfers.

Paragliding: Soar like a bird over the Alpine peaks of Verbier Switzerland, on a tandem paragliding flight with twin brothers Mike and Stuart at Verbier Summits. Tandem flights cost CHF 190 (around £175). A week’s stay at Hotel Mirabeau, departing January 6 2024, costs from £1,393pp, based on two sharing, on a B&B basis, with return flights from London Stansted and shared airport transfers.

Snow rafting: Move over white-water rafting, there’s a new white-knuckle ride in town. Snow rafting – a fast and bumpy ride in an inflatable attached to a snowmobile – is becoming a popular activity at Niseko Village, at the base of Japan’s Mount Niseko Annupuri. A week’s stay at Hilton Niseko Village, in Niseko, departing March 2 2024, costs from £2,078pp, based on two sharing, including return flights from London Heathrow and daily breakfast.

Ice driving: Get behind the wheel in Tignes for a thrilling ice drive in a car or a quad buggy – just like a rally driver, but at an altitude of 1,500 metres. Emergency braking, turning, counter-steering, skidding – you’ll learn them all with an experienced instructor. Quad buggy drives from €40, car drives from €70 with Evolution 2. A week’s stay at Residence Village Montana in Tignes, departing January 13 2024, starts from £745pp, based on two sharing, for a four-star self-catered apartment with return flights from London and transfers.

Mountain mushing
Mountain shoe 1

Mushing: Sit back and watch the experts at work or take the reins yourself on a dog sledding experience in Andorra’s Grandvalira ski area. A team of highly-trained huskies will transport you around the Riba Escorxada circuit as you take in breathtaking views. A week in the Neilson Chalet Hotel Casale in El Tarter costs £799pp, departing December 19, with breakfast, afternoon tea and dinners with wine, return flights from London Gatwick, transfers and free ski guiding and coaching, based on two sharing a twin room.

Snow shoeing: Explore the pristine trails of the Aigues Tortes National Park in the Spanish Pyrenees on a group snow-shoeing holiday with Ramblers Walking Holidays (RWH). In the capable hands of a local expert and an RWH guide, you’ll make your way through the valleys, famous for their Romanesque churches. Seven nights half board costs from £1,475pp (two sharing) or £1,670 single room, departing February 3 or March 2, including return flights to Barcelona, airport transfers and local transports.