Just when you thought winter sports couldn't get any more extreme or dangerous, well they just did. The current trend is to cross extreme sports with each other for a new hybrid sport, the really surprising thing is however, how popular these spots are in countries like the US, Canada, Scandinavian countries and Russia.
Ice cross down hill
Ice skaters don protective gear and race each other down a bobsleigh track on sheet ice over jumps and obstacles. This is like X Ski meets bobsleigh meets ice-hockey, meets motocross, anyway highly entertaining with plenty of thrills and spills and lots of potential for nasty injuries. The World Championships competition hit the big-time last year with over 200,000 spectators attending the events in North America and Europe. The 2012/13 season has been expanded to five stops: December 1 at Niagara Falls (Canada), January 26 in Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA), February 16 in Russia, March 2 in Lausanne (Switzerland) and March 16 in Quebec (Canada). Get yourself along for some class extreme winter sports action.
In Northern Italy everyone heads for the slopes as soon as the snow hits. One way you can avoid the crowds and get the very best powder al to yourself is to go Heliskiing. It's off-piste skiing at its best, dropping into virgin snow from the comfort of a helicopter puts you right on the best snow on the best slopes with nothing to do but ski your heart out on the way back down. Try Heliskiing on the Monte Rossa, start at the town of Gressoney where you can find many courses in Heliskiing, many of the drop zones are above 4000m and just a few minutes ride away, meaning you can get in multiple drops a day.
Also known as kiteboarding, it is the snow-bound equivalent of kitesurfing. It's becoming increasingly popular, especially in areas that aren't blessed with extreme sloping topography. It uses much the same equipment as its sea-based cousin, except of course the board and the upper-body and lower-body strength demands are much the same. It id however much more dangerous, for obvious reasons, and even experienced kite-surfers should enrol in a safety course before attempting it. The beauty of snowkiting, is that it enables you to travel in any direction, both up or down slopes regardless of the wind direction.
That's exactly what it is, getting in a kayak and heading down hill. It's like traditional sledding only in a canoe. Can be done on extreme or gentle slopes, the only issue is getting you boat up hill. Control of the kayak is more difficult than in water or other snow suited sledding methods, but it can be learned on a wide-open slope. Obstacles like trees are very dangerous, but if you're interested in kayaking and/or winter sports why not combine them for something different?
It's basically racing snowmobiles over a motocross type track. Jumps are typically 9 metres high which means the drivers can go up to 40 metres in the air. It made the X Games on 1998 and has been one of the staples ever since, so it's not new, but . It is hugely popular in the United States and Canada and is growing in Russia and Europe, partiularly Scandinavian countries. 2013 will see Russia host the 2013 FIM Snowcross World Championship in Semigorje in February and Moscow in March in the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) governed sector of the sport. The events are usually held at high altitude as the temperature must be maintained below zero for optimum ice racing conditions.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty