14 Nov 7 Winter ‘trending’ sports in Europe
Discover the 7 winter ‘trending’ sports and the best European destinations to practice them...
In recent years, winter sports have proliferated thanks to the hundreds of tracks throughout the world. Read on and discover 7 fashionable winter sports and the best places to practice them. Don’t be the last to try them!
1. Cross-country skiing
Skiing is the king of most of the slopes in the world. There are many variants of skiing and there are many fans of cross-country, alpine or speed skiing. However, the king during the last years is the cross-country skiing that consists of ascending and descending mountains only with the help of skis, without any ski lift. To practice it, it is necessary to have knowledge of mountaineering and, above all, to be in good physical shape. Some of the most beautiful crossings for cross-country skiing in Spain are found in Sierra Nevada, Gredos or Pyrenees. If you want to get away in Europe to practice this trendy winter sport, a place that does not fail is the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. The easiest way to get to Chamonix is to fly to Geneva. Luckily, more and more low-cost airlines offer cheap flights. The best of all is that, being in the mountains, not in a resort, in most cases you will not have to pay any ski pass. You will only have to consider the cost of accommodation, transportation and food.
The passion for “snow”, the surfing of snow; After its “boom” after the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, it is still as alive as it was at the beginning and today we can ensure that it remains one of the fashionable winter sports. If you are not passionate about this sport, you have surely heard about it. In most winter seasons you will find monitors willing to help you advance in the technique. It is common that you need less classes than to start the world of skiing, so it can be cheaper. In addition to the price of the equipment (or its rental), the practice of ‘snowboarding’ is more or less expensive depending on the place you choose for it. If you decide on a winter season, you have to consider the cost of the pass or daily pass. To practice it you would need a suitable clothing, similar to that of skiing but more comfortable, because you will not be able to move your whole body if you wear a rigid clothing. Of course, in addition to the protections and glasses, a ‘snowboard’ board adapted to the type of practice you are going to do. Although, as in skiing, you can also practice alpine snowboarding outside winter seasons. We recommend some tracks to practice this sport during the winter: St. Anton, Austria: Located at the Alberg Pass, at 1,300 meters altitude, this enclave has 79 tracks with many curves and elevations. It has a park for ‘snowboarding’.
Serre Chevalier, France: Located in the Southern Alps area, this resort has open slopes, lands with trees and a large embankment. It is an ideal destination for freestyle fans.
Baqueira Beret, Spain: With 117 kilometers to ski and snowboard, this is one of the best resorts in Spain. It is an ideal place both to start and to perfect your technique. The station has two specific areas for ‘snowboard’: Snowpark Serra and Snowpark Comalada. The first is usually frequented by beginners, while the second is visited by experts from the table and freestyle lovers.
3. Ice skating
Figure skating today is followed by millions of people, but you have to be aware that it is not an easy sport and that it requires many hours of training. There are many tracks to learn to ice skate or just have a fun time with friends. Especially at Christmas, there are spectacular places to practice this sport. Surely you’ve seen dozens of times the images of people skating on the track of the Rockefeller Center, in New York, because you can also do it in several places in Europe! The equipment is not very expensive. You only need comfortable clothes, gloves, protections and good boots to skate. Ice skating is a sport for all ages and practicing it is not expensive. Tickets to the slopes are around € 5, as well as the rental of boots. Here are some recommendations of the best ice skating rinks: Patinoire de Liège, Belgium: Here is the second largest ice rink in Belgium and the only Olympic track in the region. Belgians love ice skating and usually practice it when the lakes freeze. This track has 1,800 m2 and stands in stands you can admire how professionals work.
Invernia, Madrid, Spain: Located in Valdemoro, this 1,800 m2 track is an ideal place for both apprentices and professionals. It offers all kinds of courses, including ice skating.
Not only that, in winter hundreds of tracks arise in such emblematic places in Europe as the canals of Amsterdam, the Tower of London, the City Hall of Paris, Lake Weissensee (Austria) or Haapsalu (Estonia). The odds are almost unlimited! Ice skating allows you to combine tourism with sport perfectly.
If your thing is to slide, why not join the sledding fever? Apart from being a typical toy for children, there are several sports disciplines that include sledding. For example, “bobsled” is an Olympic sport in which the protagonist is a steel sled in which 2, 4 or 6 people glide. The “luge” and the “skeleton” are the other two Olympic modalities that include sledding. To practice sledding you will need good insulating clothing, protectors and, of course, a sled. The type of sled you use will depend on the practice you are going to do and, on the tracks that we are going to tell you below. Sledging is not an excessively expensive sport. You will have to consider the rental of the equipment and the entrance to the station or ski pass in each case. Val Thorens, France: In this French alpine station you will find an incredible place: Le Tobbogan. Considered the longest sledding track in France, it starts at 3,000 meters of altitude, at the foot of the Péclet glacier. The sled descent lasts about 45 minutes and can be practiced by children from 5 years.
Wilder Kaiser, Austria: In the Austrian Alps, this station offers 16 kilometers of descents that are divided into 5 itineraries. In addition, the night illumination of 2 of its tracks (Söll and Ellmau-Going) until midnight, makes it possible to enjoy this experience under the stars.
Pradaschier, Switzerland: The Pradaschier toboggan runs year-round and offers 3,060 meters of descent and 31 curves at breakneck speed. This track is contained in the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest track guided by sledding in Europe. The descent lasts between 7 and 10 minutes and the sled can reach 40 kilometers per hour. Do not worry if you are a little scared, it has a brake lever to choose a slower speed.
This precision and team sport is now one of the trendsetters in the field of winter sports. Two teams of four participants compete by throwing eight 20 kg granite stones down a track 45.5 meters long and 4.75 meters wide. The sweepers, carriers of the brushes, can vary the trajectory or speed of the stones once launched. It is a sport suitable for all ages and can even be a lot of fun if you use family travel. The equipment to practice ‘curling’ is not especially cheap; However, you can always rent it if you are still not sure that you will be able to amortize this expense. Here are some of the best places to start in the world of ‘curling’: Zermatt, Switzerland: In this station at the foot of the Matterhorn you will have 16 natural ice rinks where you can play ‘curling’. They have trained Olympic players like Diego Perren. You have equipment to rent, so you don’t need to carry anything. Throughout the third week of January, the Horu Trophy is celebrated, one of the largest and most beautiful outdoor curling tournaments in Europe. Jaca, Zaragoza, Spain: The Jaca Ice Pavilion offers one of the best facilities for curling in Spain. In this huge track several sport competitions take place such as the North / South League or the Spanish Championship. Find out about their courses and events on their website.
Surely you’ve ever seen someone kitesurfing on the beach, but what about the snow? This sport began to be practiced in the 60s and can now be seen “surfing” thanks to the force of the wind. To practice it, you will need to have some notions of ‘kitesurfing’ or ‘snowboarding’, but we already anticipate that it is simpler, since you can get up easily, because you do it in the snow. In many places in Europe you will find courses or classes of ‘snowkiting‘, as well as equipment rental stores so you do not have to make a very high investment. Consider that you will have to pay the daily pass. France: In the country you will find many places like Morzine / Avoriaz, La Rosière, Les Deux Alpes, Petit St Bernard (overlooking Mont Blanc) and Col du Lautaret in the Serre Chevalier Valley. The latter is one of the best places to learn ‘kitesurfing’ and even hosts several sport-related events such as the Serre Chevalier Snowkite Festival, the Snowkite Masters International Competition or the annual ‘kitesurfing’ French championship.
Switzerland: As a winter country, in Switzerland there are also excellent places to practice sports. For example, the Simplon Pass and the Grimsel Alpine Pass. Wind conditions tend to be ideal for ‘snowkite’ and have valleys and hills that will make it more fun. In the Simplon Pass there is a school of this winter sport, in case you want to try.
To end this selection of winter ‘trending’ sports, we tell you about ‘airboarding’. This technique, invented by a Swiss in 2006, consists of using air mattresses to descend snowy slopes, reaching up to 100 kilometers per hour. You must use your own body to control the movements with the two handles of the “board”. It is impressive to see someone practicing it, because you can jump and even make turns in the air. Although it sounds like extreme sport, ‘airboarding’ practiced safely is a sport for the whole family. Learning it is extremely simple, although, obviously, with practice you can get incredible tricks. To do board airboarding ’you don’t need much equipment. The Airboard, the board, weighs a little less than 3 kilos. In addition, you need personal protection such as helmet, knee and elbow pads. We have selected the following places in Europe to get you started in this very trendy winter sport: Holzhau, Germany: Located in the Metallic Mountains region, here you will find places to attend airboard classes and, of course, incredible tracks in which to practice it. It is also a beautiful place to make a winter getaway.
Chatel, France: Between Lake Geneva and Mont-Blanc, you can practice this sport at the Portes du Soleil station. They have a track of 5 kilometers in which to slide in a hurry.
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