Don’t let the fact you have a non-skier put you off booking a skiing holiday.
A skiing holiday perfectly caters to a big group getaway – whether it’s with friends, family or a mix of both. But with a baby on board, kids with different skiing ability levels or people who don’t ski at all a skiing holiday may sound like a no-go area.
But a trip to the mountains is by no means wasted if you prefer to stay off the piste. Ski holiday experts Neilson share 10 of their favourite ways to spend time in the mountains, sans skis!
Exploring the mountain
Just because you won’t be skiing doesn’t mean you need to stay off the mountain. There are plenty of other ways to make the most of the jaw-dropping scenery:
1. Snow bikes: Snow bikes (also known as ‘fatties’), allow you to explore the mountains on two wheels. With a larger frame and extra wide tyres, these bikes can tackle deep snow and have proven to be so much fun that it’s one of the fastest growing winter sports in the USA. The home of snow biking is Gstaad in Switzerland, but you can also try them in the Grand Massif area in France and the Dolomites in Italy.
2. Heli Tours: Although it might seem like an over-indulgent activity at first, a panoramic flight tour of a mountain actually offers amazing value, especially for such an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. A helicopter tour in Andorra can start at €75, and provides extreme exhilaration for non-skiers looking to soak up incredible aerial views of the snowy mountain tops.
3. Tobogganing: Many of Europe’s ski resorts offer a toboggan run, a superb way to zoom down the mountainside without the faff of learning to ski. Whilst they vary in length and style, toboggan runs can be found in most resorts in Europe, with some particularly good ones in Val Thorens (France), Saalbach and Hintergelmm (Austria) and Bankso (Bulgaria).
4. Snow shoeing: Essentially a bit like strapping two plastic flippers to the bottom of your hiking boots, snow shoeing is a wonderful way to discover hidden vistas, beautiful snowy forests and even secret frozen waterfalls on the mountain. The pace is much slower than skiing, but you’re more likely to spot some amazing wildlife and you get to explore places that are off limits to skiers and boarders. Chamonix is a popular resort for snow shoeing but you can also find some great trails and guides to take you out in the French Pyrenees or the Dolomites in Italy.
5. Husky sledges: Following a set route, there’s not much skill required to drive your own husky sledge, but the rewards are still excellent. The Riba Escorxada circuit in Austria boasts incredible views of the Pyrenees but, more importantly, you can get to pet insanely cute husky puppies as well!
Read the full article with pictures in the latest issue of FQ here