When you’re on your next skiing holiday, speak to some of the other skiers and ask them what they enjoy most about going to the resort. Chances are you’ll get a variety of different answers. Some people will enjoy the ability to get a way from it all and glide quietly down the runs, while others will love the atmosphere of the après-ski, whether that’s relaxed or vibrant.
Everyone has their own reasons for going on a skiing holiday and it’s not always to do with the skiing, which is exactly what we want to look at today.
Particularly for those on group skiing holidays, we often see a need to go somewhere where they can do more than ski. Don’t get us wrong, skiing is the main purpose of their holiday, but after they’ve been down the pistes a few times, they’re looking for something a little different to get the adrenalin pumping.
Fortunately, Europe is packed full of resorts that can meet these needs and you just have to know what’s available and where.
Ice Car Racing, Val Thorens
Seen by millions in the 1969 James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, ice car racing is a particularly popular winter sport right around the world and can give anyone a huge adrenaline rush.
Essentially a car race on ice (with or without studded tyres to give you less or more control, depending on how much you want to push yourself!), head to Val Thorens and you’ll be able to see some of the best ice car racers showcasing their skills in front of huge crowds.
Yet as great as it is watching these professionals, it’s having a go yourself that can make your holiday and you’ll be pleased to know there are several expert instructors who’ll show you how to control the car properly as your hurtle around the course – it really is a fantastic experience you’ll never forget.
Off-Piste Skiing, St Anton
For those who don’t know what off-piste skiing is, it’s exactly what its name suggests – skiing off, or away from, the main pistes. And St Anton in Austria is considered one of the best places in the world to sample it.
Although it can be dangerous, there’s no doubt that it can give you a huge adrenalin rush. The off-piste areas aren’t maintained or monitored and you could quite easily be skiing through woodland, meaning you definitely need to have your wits about you!
There are various guidelines that you absolutely must follow when off-piste skiing, but those that we always ensure everyone knows is that you shouldn’t be skiing alone (unless you’re a particularly experienced off-piste skier), you should always ensure you’re contactable and people should always know where you are – the fact off-piste areas aren’t patrolled might add a certain level of excitement to the experience, but it also means that if something happens, you need to be able to contact someone or at least ensure they have a rough idea of where you are.
Tobogganing, Val Thorens
It might seem like a bit of a child’s activity, but tobogganing is huge in the continent’s skiing resorts and being home to the longest toboggan run in Europe, Val Thorens is the perfect location to enjoy this fun and adrenalin-fuelled activity (have you guessed Val Thorens group skiing holidays can be particularly action-packed yet?!)
Stretching for 3.7 miles (6km), it’s expected to take around 45 minutes to complete the course at first, but some of the more regular enthusiasts have been known to clear it in 10 minutes!
Getting your toboggan (with brakes!) and helmet from Chalet de Toboggan, you then head up to 9,800 feet (3,000m), walk over to the start of the run and simply start your journey – by the end of it you’re either going to want to go straight back up to the top to do it again or into the nearest bar for a drink to calm your nerves!
A group skiing holiday can be as relaxed or action-packed as you want it to be. Skiing might conjure up ideas of quiet and quaint days for some, but these activities really are just a small handful of those you can enjoy when you fancy a break from the pistes.