Alternative Activities for Winter Holidays

By: Elisha Burberry

When most people think of a winter holiday they instantly think of skiing. As the world's oldest, and most popular winter sport, thousands of people head to the mountains of Europe, North America, and some even more exotic locations every year to enjoy the delights of zooming down a snow covered mountain on a pair of planks. But what about those who want to enjoy a winter holiday without risking life and limb?

Well, there is a growing number of people who are heading out to ski resorts, yet who have no intention whatsoever of downhill skiing. Those who want to enjoy the great outdoors without the danger of snapping their bones, should try snowshoeing. Here, a special shoe is attached to your boots which allow you to walk easily over deep snow without sinking. Armed with a pair of poles you can wander along winter paths and enjoy the beautiful frosty scenery. Snow shoeing is ideal for young and old, as you can go at your own pace making it a perfect family activity.

Animal lovers might prefer to indulge in a less strenuous activity by taking a ride on a husky dog sled. Trips can be booked for a few hours, a full day, or even multi-day expeditions. After learning how to handle the sled and picking up a few of the basic dog commands, you'll be able to set off through the snow after shouting "Mush! Mush!" at your pack of Husky hounds.

If you're staying in a chalet or near a large town, then find out if there will be a Christmas market running. Throughout the festive period many places in Europe host Christmas Markets, offering visitors the chance to shop for local specialities, drink a glass of warming mulled wine, buy locally made crafts, watch live music, see impressive lighting displays, and listen to carol signers.

Adrenaline junkies who want a bit more power between their legs can get their throttle fix by going snowmobiling. Most ski resort areas have a snowmobile circuit which can range from a simple loop taking a couple of minutes, to backcountry expeditions which can last all day. Snowmobiles are very easy to operate, and anyone can pick up the basics within a few minutes. Instructors will always be on hand to help and guide you.

And finally, if you like your fish fresh, then why not give ice fishing a go? Especially popular in Scandinavia and the Baltic States, all you need is a short fishing rod or hand line, an ice drill and plenty of warm clothing. Organised trips are on offer for a few pounds an hour, and you also get to keep your catch.

So remember, winter holidays are no longer just for skiers - anyone can head out to the mountains and enjoy the winter wonderland without having to worry about ending up in hospital!

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