Ski Italy And Meet Mighty Mt. Etna
Few landscape features on Earth pose a more daunting challenge than coastal Sicily’s snowy Mount Etna. The 11,000 ft. monster is one of the world’s most active volcanoes – it exists in an almost constant state of activity, seemingly perpetually poised to erupt. The word “Etna” literally means “furnace.” The perfect spot for some volcano sports.
All the more reason to try volcano skiing here – as some extreme sports enthusiasts do between March and April. The activity is fractionally more viable than you might think. After all, the volcano is tricked out with ski lifts and plenty of amenities, including instruction and rentals.
Here’s how you get going. First, hit Etna’s southern slope with sealskins strapped to your skis. Cross the summit and then ski back down to earth through the northern flank’s invigorating birch and beech terrain.
If that sounds too bracing to begin with, for a warm-up, try the lower slopes “at about 1,800 metres, the lava spreads out like demerara sugar to form gently undulating slopes that make easy blue runs for ski softies like myself and my uninitiated son,” a reporter for Britain’s Telegraph writes.
Alternatively, have a crack at some feral off-piste snowboarding. Or take advantage of the bellowing high-altitude winds to volcano kite skiing. Unless waves of flaming lava come rushing in, you should have plenty of adrenaline-pumped fun on Mt. Etna.
Anyway, contact the tourist board before you commit to a thrill ride down the highest active volcano in Europe.
Cover Photo Credit: Drew Avery / Flickr.com