5 Extreme Sports That Put Skiing to Shame
If you thought trail running was hard, you'll be amazed by the distances (and heights) that some runners go to in order to challenge themselves. Mountain runners, sometimes nicknamed "sky runners" don't stop at snowy mountains, and mountain runs can often be longer than marathons. Many runners set up a base camp before they begin an ascent, as their treks can take several hours. For a peek into what the women's world champion of sky running eats, how she trains, and what life is like on the mountain, check out Emilie Forsberg's Instagram. (Try The Best Running Shoes for Winter Weather.)
Similar to mountain biking, the unique terrain of snow and ice makes snow biking challenging and fun for cyclists. Fatbikes, or bikes with oversized low pressure tires, are ideal for snowy conditions because the large tires give you increased flotation and traction on soft snow. Snow bikers share the trails with snowshoers and snowmobiles, often riding on hiking and biking trails at local parks. Some ski resorts also offer modified snow bikes for—which look like a bicycle frame atop a ski—and offer lessons before riding the slopes on the unique bike.
Cross-country skiers with dogs will take to this sport fast—skijoring is like dog sledding, minus the sled. For those without dogs, skijoring can also be done with horses or motor vehicles. Depending on what's pulling you, you could either be riding most of the time or skiing most of the time. Skijoring with a smaller dog gives you more of a chance to ski, because you're not letting the animal do all of the work. The best part: The sport requires little specialized equipment besides cross-country skis. While many ski resorts have trails where skijorers are welcome, public parks, snowmobile, and hiking trails also make great spots for the sport.
Winter weather doesn't have to stop you from catching waves. In fact, in some areas, surfing is strictly a winter sport. What makes winter surfing such a rush for diehard boarders? The unpredictability of the weather: Low-pressure systems and high winds can equate to perfect waves. To brave the icy waters though, special gear is required. Winter surfers swap bikinis and boardshorts for wetsuits with booties, gloves, and hoods. Before testing the frigid waters, make sure you have experience in warmer water first! (Want something more tame? Check out these 7 Winter Workouts to Switch Up Your Routine.)
Snow Windsurfing and Kiting
Snowboarding meets watersports in this hybrid sport that combines the art of carving snow with the gracefulness of windsurfing and kite boarding. The sport started (as many do) as an experiment, but now snowboarders are hooking up their boards and giving it a try. Snow is actually easier to learn on than water too: Because the snow is solid, it's easier to stand up and hold an edge, plus you don't need as much wind to build momentum. Check with local snow sport outfitters to see if they offer lessons before you hop on a board.