As the winter sets in, our lifestyles change. We spend more time indoors, and the shorter days and longer nights combined with the dropping temperatures all have a tendency to make us apathetic. Going to the gym or running in the morning just gets that more difficult to actually do, and we’re left with the almost subconscious notion to just curl up on the couch and go into hibernation like some anthropomorphized bear. We here at the Adrenalist, will have none of that. There are simply too many adventures to be had when it gets cold — to take you away from the hearth’s slumberous heat and into the wild of winter where falling asleep is the last thing on your mind.
Here are four extreme winter activities.
The Polar Bear Plunge
Even if you weren’t awarded a certificate for most consecutive days jumping into the chilly lake during summer camp, that doesn’t mean the Polar Bear Plunge isn’t something you’ll enjoy. It is basically just winter swimming. The water is close to freezing (and actually frozen along the shore), so you’re only going to jump in and then jump out. The excitement lies in the brevity of discomfort, only to be awarded with more temperate climes when you get out of the winter water and into a towel with something hot to drink.
There are plenty of January Polar Bear Plunges to attend throughout the country. Find one near you for some icy exhilaration.
Whether it’s with a snowboard or on skis, there’s something pretty incredible about attaching yourself to a giant kite and hitting the slopes. Snow kiting isn’t new, but it’s still a relatively unknown winter season activity. You will experience the thrill of one of two traditional winter sports with the additional speed and air a kite affords. Plus, if you’ve ever watched kite boarding on a placid lake, you know don’t need a decline to achieve some incredible air time. That supplemental air to your board or ski speed can lead to some incredible tricks and jumps.
While it’s not the easiest pursuit to just pick up, you can sign up for lessons and camps at select locations throughout the country. If you need incentive, next time you’re on the top of a mountain, imagine heading into the wind with a kite on your back. It doesn’t get much more awesome than that.
Ice Cross Downhill
Like a lot of these gripping winter sports and hobbies, we’ve written about ice cross downhill before. Basically, ice skaters strap on pads and go barreling down a bobsleigh track and over obstacles and jumps. Ice cross downhill is rough and tumble stuff, and you can be sure even the winner of these races will have some black and blue marks in the morning. Maybe because of the danger and the propensity for almost sickening wipeouts, it’s attracted a bit of a following. With more than 200,000 people watching events in North America and Europe last year, you can be sure you’ll be hearing more and more about ice cross downhill in the future.
Red Bull, which sponsors the “Crashed Ice” events, added an additional five stops to their schedule next year, so make sure you keep an eye out for a competition near you. You’ll get a thrill just from watching.
Skiing and snowboarding are fun and sledding can be a rush, but it’s more of a family pastime. What if you’ve got an itch to kayak that you just can’t scratch because it’s so cold out? Try snow kayaking. Some people refer to it as SnoYaking, but snow kayaking is exactly what it sounds like: taking to a mountain with just your paddle, kayak and a helmet. Things can get pretty fast out on the slopes with the slippery bottom on most kayaks. You’ll be powering down the ski mountain with a lot less friction, which means some excellent speed.
That being said, the speed and degree of the incline in some of these snow kayaking videos is a bit overwhelming. We’d start on a smaller slope, but once you’ve mastered the technique, you’re all set to challenge the black diamonds. If you need a kayak fix and it’s not yet March, snow kayaking may even be more fun than its traditional water counterpart.
Photo Credit: s.schmitz / Flickr.com