So you’ve been persuaded by your family or friends to join them on their winter holiday, but you have no intention of joining them on the slopes.You could wait in a cafe or bar during the day. You could walk around the shops in resort. Or, you could explore the vast and exhilarating winter activities available in resort, such as dog sledging rides, a dip in an outdoor pool or maybe Sport Fishing. While apres is fun, there are so much more to a lot of resorts. So we thought we’d make a guide to the best winter activities available for both skiers and non skiers at some of our most popular resorts.
Outdoor swimming pool
There are a number of resorts that offer heated outdoor swimming pools in a scenic alpine environment, but Palais Des Sports Et Des Congres in Alpe D’Huez, France is my favourite – you have one free entrance included in your 6 day lift pass. The 25 metre pool, with an added 7-8 metres of shallow area at one end, gives you plenty of room to burn some calories or take it easy. It’s particularly atmospheric if you’re visiting early in the season as temperatures are well below freezing, and the steam leaving the pool gives the impression of swimming in a cloud. The pool is accessed by a covered Perspex walkway, so you get into the water inside and swim out of the walkway/tunnel into the outdoor area – we wouldn’t want to get chilly. That being said, if you don’t want to swim lengths you can become cold after half an hour or so. Some visitors keep the water feeling warmer by jumping in the snow drifts at the side of the pool and quickly jumping back in again. The sensation almost burns when you dive back in – very brave. It’s worth noting that chaps must wear Speedos in the pool (no loose swim shorts are allowed).
Dog Sledging in Beitostolen, Norway
If you fancy trying out a traditional, fun method of transport which has been trusted for hundreds of years by locals, then try dog sledging. You can meet the dogs and get an amazing tour of Beitostolen’s scenery in a truly unique way. Best to remember though, they are working dogs so they don’t always smell like roses, but don’t let that put you off. Great photo opportunities here – who doesn’t like a photo of a snowy pup?
Ice Skating in Bansko, Bulgaria
You can choose from a number of ice rinks in this resort. No need to panic if you’re not an expert skater, there’s always a mixture of experienced and non experienced people skating. I would particularly recommend this activity when it’s dark as the stars make the experience unforgettable.
Torchlight walks in Alpbach, Austria
If you want to have a beautiful, and also romantic experience, than why not try a torchlight walk. It’s free with an Alpbach Seenland Card. The walk is usually every Tuesday at 8pm and is 1.5 hours. You can register for the walk at the tourist office until 5pm the day before.
Overnight in a real igloo in Iso-Syote, Finland
Ever wanted to sleep outside in the fresh, crisp air? Look up at the starlit sky and hopefully be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights first hand? The igloo is situated at the top of a hill and has some stunning views. You will be provided with a sleeping bag specially designed to withstand the minus temperatures. The igloo itself only reaches a few minus degrees so it’s certainly not as cold as outside. The next morning, take a short walk to the hotel where you can have a sauna and shower, followed by breakfast, to warm you up a bit.
Winter walks in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Take a walk around the frozen lake and feast your eyes on the 17th century church located on the island in the middle of the lake. What makes Lake Bled such a special place to walk around is that there are no restrictions while walking, as the entire bank is open to the public and not privately owned. It took me 2 hours to walk around the lake but it really does depend on the speed you take.
Sport Fishing in Lake Tahoe, USA
Take a trip on America’s largest alpine lake with some of the most experienced, fully licensed and coast guard approved fishermen. The crew will take you on a scenic route before you actually start fishing. You can bring home a maximum of 5 fish per person and each fish on average weights 2-7 pounds so you could end up with a good amount of unexpected souvenirs.
Ice Karting in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Imagine going karting on a natural ice rink – that’s exactly what Ice Karting is. This exhilarating après activity can be enjoyed by everyone – young and old (within reason) – so great for families or groups taking a day out from the slopes.
Night skiing on MT Norquay, Banff- Canada
Ok, I know this is a guide to winter activities for non skiers and boarders but this activity is way too much fun to leave out. This historic mountain is named after John Norquay who climbed it back in 1887. It’s famous for its racing history but also for its night skiing. Skiing in the dark is a fantastic experience and definitely worth trying, when you get the chance ,as not many places offer it.
Cross Country Skiing in Bardonecchia- Italy
In Bardonecchia, there are two places where you can ski cross country, Pian del Colle and Valle Stretta. If you’re a beginner then it’s best to take lessons in Pian del Colle. The trails here range from easy to difficult. If you’re more experienced, then Valle Stretta offers trails from medium to difficult. So, there’s no excuse to not give it a go.
Spas of sanctuary in Sochi, Russia
The Chandelle Blanche Medi Spa & Beauty is located in the Grand Hotel Polyana- Sochi, Russia and is a sanctuary of relaxation. You can rejuvenate in the Caribbean lounge after a long day on the slopes, relax in the Finnish and Russian steam baths or indulge in a European or Asian massage.
Skidoos in Arinsal, Andorra
For those thrill seekers out there who want adventure skidooing, this could be just the ticket. Ride around the Seturia Valley circuit for half an hour on a Skidoo made for two.
This is just a taste of the winter sport activities you can partake in. These activities are great for non-skiers but also for skiers and boarders looking for a different après experience. There really is more to a skiing holiday then skiing. Whether you decide to take it easy and relax or try something more adventurous. The slopes can cater for everyone but, deep down, we still think the mountain is everything.Last modified: September 9, 2020