No snow, no problem: 4 cool alternatives for winter sportsEver tackled a slope on ice blocks? Or visited a mountainboard park? With the rise in global temperatures threatening traditional snow sports locations, people are finding new ways to get their dose of downhill kicks
Many of the world’s ski locations are becoming warmer, especially in the winter. Some predictions say that in the near future only one in ten ski resorts will be sure of snowy conditions.
The Swiss government has forecast that all small and medium-sized glaciers in Europe could be melted by 2050. However, less snow doesn’t mean you must completely give up your winter fun. There are definitely some alternatives and one of them is being applied on a large scale in the French Alps.
- Indoor track
- Ice Blocking
- Hardwood boarding
Indoor track in Tignes
Tignes in the French Alps is one of the largest and most snow-packed skiing resorts in the world, with the season there lasting up to nine months. The runs can even be tackled in the summer. Nevertheless, the region is planning a 400-metre long indoor track at an altitude of 2000 metres. The venue, at a cost of about €55 million, will be similar to a facility in the desert city of Dubai. And the reason for the project is climate change. The glacier has already lost about 30 per cent of its ice. At one point in the past it was possible to partake in snowsports in Tignes for 365 days a year - and with the indoor track, the resort will be able to offer year-round activities again. If the environmental organisations agree, construction work could start in 2018.
But there are other activities you can tackle at milder temperatures if you’re a confident skier or boarder.
Mountainboarding is a kind of snowboarding on four wheels, like a skateboard on air-filled tyres. As things can get a little jerky on the slopes, the shoes are placed in straps to keep you in place, while the steering is quite easy to learn by shifting weight. Speed freaks might be disappointed, but jumping with this type of board can make it just as exciting. There are plenty of places where you can try it in the UK including Another World Adventure Centre in West Yorkshire which claims to have the country’s first purpose-built mountain board centre.
Want to know what Mountainboarding looks like when the pros are at work? Check out the vid with British legend Matt Brind and his friends above.
Who needs snow and a sled, when you’ve got four blocks of ice? Cold temperatures or not, the weather doesn’t have to dictate when you can hit the slopes. Use folded towels to protect against the cold of the large blocks of ice, place your hands and knees on the towels and give yourself momentum. With a little practice, you can build up a fair amount of speed.
If you just can’t live without snowboarding, you don’t actually need the packed powder. There’s an alternative: hardwood boarding. It might sound strange but as the guys from the Russian Nitro team demonstrate, some terrain is perfectly suitable to recreate the downhill thrill.
But a little warning in advance: these are real professionals, and they know how to avoid tree trunks. If you’re not bothered about your board being covered in dirt, then hit the snowless slopes.