We all love to ski, snowboard, and even toboggan down the slopes, but did you know there’s plenty more to enjoy on snow? In the past few years, a whole host of new sliding and riding devices have been unveiled. Here are five of our favorites to help you take your ski trip to the next level.
1. Fat Biking
Fat biking is the fastest growing on-snow trend. Its popularity has exploded across North America and Europe over the last few seasons and top winter destinations have taken notice, opening exclusive experiences for riders.
The “fat bike” is a bicycle with over-sized tires designed for low ground pressure, allowing riding and braking on soft snow. Fat bikes are built around frames with wide forks and stays to accommodate the wide rims required to fit these tires.
At the French resort, La Plagne, riders can take a gondola up at the end of the day and ride down the slopes.
2. Bungee Catapult
We all know what bungee is, we all know what catapults are, but what’s the snow connection? Well at Tignes in France, they’ve built a 100-foot long snow-covered ramp off a cliff. If sliding down it attached to a bungee rope isn’t enough, the catapult factor gives you added momentum!
Once you’ve stopped bouncing, the system locks and you travel down a zip wire to the ground. The “Bun-J-Ride” jump is located next to the “Lac” blue run (Merles, chairlift) and is open to those aged at least 13 years and over 40kg in weight.
3. Snow Kiting
Kiting on water has long been popular so why not kiting on snow? There are a number of venues around the world to give it a try – usually somewhere flat, open, windy is best. Places like Utah, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, and Alaska offer ideal conditions.
4. Bob Raft
If you are ever in La Plagne, France, then a trip down their Olympic bobsleigh run within their “self-guiding” bob raft is a must.
The bob raft was invented at the resort and is essentially a well-padded craft you slide down the slope in, with up to three friends. It’s almost like regular bobsleigh, except there is padding and you don’t need any training. Also, it’s designed not to tip over—just to be a lot of fun.
5. Personal Snow Tractor
Popular in Canada, these two-seater, cat-tracked vehicles are now available to rent at ski resorts so that you can have fun driving one around yourself.
In Valmorel, France, you can rent a twin-seat tractor for an evening excursion with a passenger aged seven years or older. A driving licence is obligatory for the driver and both must wear helmets.
6. Mountain Biking On Snow
Mountain biking is one of the most popular summer activities in ski resorts but it’s less common in winter on slopes that are covered in snow.
Europe’s highest resort, Val Thorens, thinks that’s a missed opportunity and offers biking descents on snow once the lifts close on three evenings each week. Accompanied by a qualified biking instructor and starting from a point around 10,000 feet above sea level (at the foot of the Péclet glacier), bikers hurtle down approximately four miles and 2,500 vertical feet.