Has the change in weather left you feeling a bit cold and miserable? Happily, there is a silver – well, snowy – lining to the November cloud: the winter sport season approaches. At Explorer, we’ve been dreaming of white landscapes and making our wintry wish lists. However, with added thrill comes increased risk so, before you jump into your salopettes, do just check that your travel insurance policy covers you for your particular choice of snow fun.
Off-piste skiing: Any experienced skier will wax lyrical about the incomparable thrill of zooming down a remote mountainside in light, fresh powder. Not only do you have the privilege of admiring (at speed) the most spectacular scenery, but it gets your adrenalin pumping like nothing else. Where insurance is concerned, off-piste action is usually only covered if you are under the supervision of a qualified guide or instructor. You may also want to check if you are covered for any delays due to avalanches, or if there is too little – or even too much – snow.
Snowmobiling: Why let the skiers have all the fun? Join a snowmobile safari and explore the breath-taking beauty of the wildest corner of Finnish Lapland. With skilled instructors teaching you the best techniques, you can power your way through deep snow to explore areas otherwise out of reach. At night you can stay in a wilderness cabin where you might be lucky enough to marvel at the Aurora Borealis. It’s an incredible an exhilarating way to experience the Arctic wilderness.
Winter climbing: For rock climbers, the drop in temperature brings a whole new and unpredictable joy: ice climbing. The ice structures are formed by two variables – the route water takes as it runs off the mountain and that year’s prevailing weather conditions – and therefore are unique to each season; the ice walls formed next year will be different yet again. The heady mix of an original, for-one-season-only challenge and the stunning views of a surreal icy landscape makes this such an addictive climbing experience.
Snow shoeing: You don’t have to brave perilous drops and travel at breakneck speed to enjoy the snow. Slip into a pair of snowshoes and head off the beaten track into a winter wonderland usually only seen by deer and the odd hare. How about joining a guided evening walk in Chamonix culminating in a traditional meal in a mountain hut – and then enjoy a moonlit slide back to your chalet.