The 10 Sensational Winter Sports You Must Try

The winter season is approaching and brings with it the first snowfalls covering the French resorts and ski areas. Wanting to find a thrilling sport to enjoy the winter season with chills and adrenaline rushes, you will discover in this article the 10 best thrilling winter sports.

Specifically, we will discuss where to practice these sports on French territory so that you can enjoy them without having to leave the country.

1. Snowkiting for more speed


Marrying the kite, a kite , to the snowboard, this outdoor activity pushes the limits of gravity.

In complete freedom, you will be towed by a sail that will make you enjoy large virgin snowy spaces to shiver with pleasure. Bringing together equipment similar to traditional snowboarding, you will need a snowboard, bindings, boots, your ski outfit and of course a kite and a snowkite harness .

Similar to a kitesurfing or climbing harness, it will allow you to attach the sail so that it can tow you in complete safety.

The big advantage of snowkiting lies in the fact that you are no longer limited by the reliefs. From the moment the sail is raised, the wind will pull you and take you wherever you want. Ideal for having fun with the bumps, like the descents and the climbs, the sensations are guaranteed.

To practice this activity during the winter, go to the Hautes Alpes, Lautaret, Petit Saint Bernard, Alpes d'Huez, on the Grande Motte glacier but also in the Pyrenees, on the side of the pass. du Puymorens. With majestic panoramas, the experience is unique.

Don't forget to wear the right clothes, because with the speed the temperatures are cold, around -5, - 10°C . In order not to encumber yourself with several layers of clothing and thus keep your freedom of movement, opt for a heated jacket . Designed with high performance materials, this technical coat combines lightness and comfort to insulate you from the discomfort of the cold in all weather conditions.

In these different stations, experienced instructors will provide you with lessons to handle the kite to perfection. Quick to learn, you will first learn how to handle the kite, know the windows of the wind and control the snowboard once pulled by the wind.

After that, all you have to do is enjoy your experience to the full. Note that it is necessary to have a good level, snowkiting is not intended for beginners in snowboarding. You have to know how to control your board to be able to perform your first glides towed by the kite.

2. Speed ​​riding to no longer be limited by the terrain


Combining skiing with a sail borrowed from paragliding , but smaller, this sport is truly extreme and dangerous. Intended for skiers with an excellent level, and having experienced the piloting of a paragliding wing, adrenaline rushes are guaranteed.

Invented in France at the beginning of the 21st century, the idea of ​​this sport is to break one of the main limits that skiing has, that is to say the relief. Indeed, with speed riding, it is possible to descend any mountain without worrying about the cliffs present on the way. So you start from the top of the mountain at breakneck speed and when you come across a rocky outcrop you can go straight. Like a springboard, it will propel you into the air, however, you will have to find a snowy surface to land.

In speed riding, there are no limits, which is why this winter sport is intended for experienced people looking for thrills. To descend mountainous spaces by jumping from crevice to crevice and slaloming between the trees, it is better to have a strong heart.

With experience, the pilot will be able to reduce the size of his wing and thus increase his speed even more.

To enjoy this outdoor sport in France, you can go to the resort of Val Fréjus, Les Arcs or even Tignes, Val d'Isère.

3. Paragliding on skis to discover new panoramas


Being the marriage between ski touring and paragliding, this sport will allow lovers of nature and unique sensations to be conquered.

Similar to the traditional paragliding that we practice in summer, the outfit is the main aspect that changes. Practicable on skis or snowboard, the principle of this winter sport is to take off on skis, enjoy the snowy and mountainous panoramas and then land on the white floor. Like summer paragliding, only the outfit and the panorama change.

Practicable alone or with a professional instructor, you will be comfortably seated in a harness. The big advantage of paragliding on skis is that, unlike in summer, winter high pressure conditions are more conducive to beautiful flights and enjoying incredible landscapes.

To practice this activity, you can go to the Alps, to the resort of Courchevel, to that of La Clusaz or even to that of Méribel.

Not requiring a very advanced level in skiing, people who know how to descend blue slopes will be able to enjoy this activity.

However, be sure to equip yourself well by opting for the right outfit because the temperatures at altitude are freezing . To effectively protect your hands from the cold, opt for a pair of heated gloves . Made with insulating and windproof materials, they incorporate a heating system in their lining that will warm your hands to your fingertips.

4. Bungee jumping on skis or snowboard


You read correctly, today it is possible to perform bungee jumping while wearing your skis.

Unique in the world , the resort of Tignes in the Alps offers bungee jumping on a springboard . Launched on a springboard, it is a patented innovation that revolutionizes the world of bungee jumping.

Attached to a harness fixed to two mobile rubber bands which slide on cables, you will use a springboard with a length of thirty meters which will propel you for more sensations. Located on the side of a cliff more than 35 meters high, the experience is unique and exceptional. Launched into the void and gliding 70 meters , memories are guaranteed.

This world exclusive takes place on the red run called Les Merles which is easily accessible thanks to a cable car.

Open every day except Saturday, the instructors will be there to equip you and explain the progress of your flight. On the menu, descent at full speed on the springboard, take-off, adrenaline rush and landing. For this one, the rubber bands stop before the arrival and it is an instructor who will come and untie you to take you down the zip line.

What is very appreciable in this activity is that you can give free rein to your creativity by imagining the most exceptional figures without risking to miss your landing.

5. Freeride skiing and snowboarding for extreme sensations


In this top 10 sensational winter sports, it is mandatory to include freeride skiing. Also called off-piste skiing , it is done away from marked slopes and allows you to become one with nature.

Allowing you to discover new unexplored spots, it requires a certain experience in skiing or snowboarding. Consisting of freeing oneself from the rules of alpine skiing, it is practiced downhill on wide slopes covered with immaculate powder .

Allowing you to do what you want in sumptuous environments, it is obviously necessary to have a good level and to adopt the right equipment to take advantage of it. Indeed, it is better to avoid falls or to take off your shoes because it can be very difficult to get up in the powder.

Very old, this practice of skiing was greatly democratized in France thanks to the skier and freestyler Candide Thovex . Originally from La Clusaz, his videos have accumulated hundreds of millions of views, which has allowed the discipline to democratize to the greatest number.

Allowing you to discover preserved spots where you will be the first to tread your skis, off-piste is a real playground. Composed of various reliefs and other curves, there are many jumps and other natural springboards to provide exceptional sensations.

Having more and more success, many resorts now offer excursions with guides to go to magical places. For example, you can go to Chamonix, located alongside the majestic Mont-Blanc, La Clusaz, Alpe d'Huez, or even Val Thorens.

An exceptional winter sport, it is however not without danger. Its practice is not immune to avalanches or falls from ledges . In France, there are fatal accidents every year due to the large amounts of snow in which freeriders evolve. Affecting both professionals and beginners, it is essential to be careful in the practice of this extreme sport .

6. Ice canyoning or how to descend an icefall

ice canyoning

Inspired by summer canyoning where the principle consists of descending canyons by sliding on natural slides, its winter version also consists of descending torrents. Nevertheless, it takes place in the middle of winter in the middle of snow and stalactites.

For a sportier experience than summer canyoning, the beauty of the white snow, the harsh conditions and the monochromatic colors will give this aquatic activity a magical look.

In order to take full advantage, you will be fully equipped with a wetsuit, waterproof booties and a neoprene hood specially designed for this winter sport. Allowing you to protect yourself from the cold when the water is close to 0°C, the outfit is made in such a way as to give you the possibility of wearing several layers of clothing underneath.

Very popular with the most frosty adventurers, you will practice abseiling on ice falls in addition to swimming in very cold water.

On French territory, you can practice your whitewater epic in various places. The most beautiful sites dedicated to canyoning in winter are the Canyons of Cluses near Chamonix, or the Canyons of Gloriettes, Arriere and Ossoue in the Pyrenees.

7. Ice diving to discover a new world


In France, it is possible to practice ice diving to discover a fascinating world.

Whether you are a beginner or not, this winter activity is open to everyone. To practice it, it is necessary to go to a high mountain lake during the winter period.

In France, various sites exist to indulge in this practice. For example, you will have the Lac de Tignes, the Lac de Montriond (third largest lake in Haute Savoie after Annecy), the Lac Robert not far from Grenoble or the Lac de Piau Engaly in the Pyrenees.

Once there, the instructors will explain the rules for your swim and equip you with a drysuit . To maximize the warmth, equip yourself with technical underwear and a fleece so you don't get cold.

Once equipped with your diving equipment, all you have to do is head for the hole drilled in the ice. It is opened at the beginning of the season with a chainsaw because the thickness of the ice can reach 2 meters in places.

Before leaving for a 15 to 20-minute exploration under the ice, you will need to put on flippers , a mask and oxygen bottles . Then, all that remains is to dive accompanied by an instructor. In order not to get lost under the ice, you will both be attached to a cord connected to the surface.

Perfect experience to push your limits and your fears, you will be immersed in a cold world where colors play with blue and green. A few rays of light will illuminate the whole, which will give a magical and magical atmosphere to this extraordinary experience.

8. Driving on ice for unique sensations


Aimed at motorsport lovers who want to experience driving on ice and snow, this thrilling sport is available to everyone, as long as you have a licence.

A discipline in its own right in the world of motor sports, France offers various circuits on ice. You will have for example that of Val Thorens called the " Alain Prost ice circuit " as well as the ice circuit of Alpe d'Huez. Both are legendary circuits that have hosted the Andros Trophy for 30 years now.

Allowing you to exploit the possibilities of sliding and piloting, they are ideal spaces for learning drifting and piloting in general.

With distinctly different sensations from a bitumen or dirt circuit, you will have to play on the technique to achieve the best lap times.

On site, you can take driving lessons with professional instructors. They will help you use your vehicle to negotiate bends as well as possible.

A one-of-a-kind experience, you will leave full of memories.

9. The bobsled for pure speed


Located in the resort of La Plagne, here is the only French bobsleigh track. Built for the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games , it is now opening its doors.

With more than 1500 meters in length and some 19 bends, it is an icy toboggan that offers unique sensations.

  • For example, you can hurtle down the track at more than 80 km/h by taking a self-guided and self-braking Bob raft.
  • For those wishing to go faster, the Speed ​​Luge will be made for you. Self-guided and self-braking single seater, it will take you at 90km/h.
  • Finally, people who want an experience similar to that of the Olympics can engage in Bob Racing piloted by a professional who will make you go up to more than 120 km/h. Guaranteed experience.

With the latter choice, you will experience approximately the same level of acceleration as a fighter pilot. Better to have a strong heart.

10. Survival courses to push your limits


Not being strictly speaking a sporting activity, the winter survival course offers undeniable sensations.

Inspired by a famous French television series, you will learn how to survive in extreme conditions. Unlike survival courses in summer where nature is generous, its winter version is more demanding and less easy.

Spread over two days, it is necessary to be of legal age to participate in these courses. To join, you have for example the course located in Savines-le-Lac in the French Alps. To test your limits and push them back, it's an unavoidable experience.

There, you will learn survival techniques in an exceptional and exotic setting. Taking place in the high mountains, you will build igloos there, you will discover how to make your snowshoes to evolve in the snow and you will also learn how to light a fire without matches and lighters.

We are coming to the end of this article, if you have any questions about the activities we have just mentioned, do not hesitate to ask us in the comments. We will respond as soon as possible.

Otherwise, if you plan to practice one of these different activities, equip yourself with one of our heated jackets . Studied to fight against the discomfort of the cold, these are clothes designed for performance in all climatic conditions. Offering an integrated heating system, they will prevent you from encumbering yourself with a multitude of layers of clothing which will hinder your movements.

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