3 Unique Winter Adventures Worth Traveling for
For most folks, winter adventure opportunities consist of skiing, snowboarding, maybe some ice fishing for the especially “adventurous”.
But, within the last decade, the outdoors have become a lot more interesting when the mercury drops. Here are three of our favorite unique winter experiences worth traveling for.
Skijoring in Whitefish, Montana
Montana is a strange and beautiful place. Just ask any of the locals — they all agree. So, it’s a fitting home for one of the more curious winter sports in the United States: skijoring (from the Norwegian skikjøring meaning “ski driving”). The concept is simple: competitors strap on a pair of skis, harness themselves to a horse, a sled dog, or even a car, then ride around a timed track. Various events are held throughout the country. However, Montana may be the sport’s unofficial U.S. home. Its roots there date back to the ‘60s and, since 2009, the town of Whitefish has held the World Skijoring Championships. Today, the competition focuses on equestrian skijoring. We’ll wager you’ve never seen a man pulled by a mule off of a ski jump — it’s truly a sight to behold. Best time to go: during the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival (end of January/early February)
Kiteboarding on the Lakes of Minnesota
Minnesota sees a lot of snow, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to some of the country’s best winter adventure opportunities. Kiteboarding blends elements of both snowboarding and windsurfing. It’s exactly what it sounds like: find a large, frozen lake (not hard in Minnesota), strap on your snowboard, and clip into your windsurfing sail. Lastly: hold on. Lake Minnetonka, Cannon Lake, and Lake Okabena are all great places to start. Every year, Lake Mille Lacs also hosts a weekend-long festival (Mille Lacs Kite Crossing) showcasing some of the sport’s best competitors and opportunities. Best time to go: the state’s best snow and ice conditions are from January through early March.
Fat Tire Biking in Utah
Winter has never been a good time for biking. But, a new crop of bikes and bikers decided they weren’t going to allow a little snow and ice to force them to garage their beloved two-wheelers. Enter: fat tire biking or just “fat biking”. The standard gear looks in many ways like a typical bike. However, fat tire models are purpose-built with wider forks and fat, studded tires that are underinflated to perfectly grip and dig into soft terrain (like snow, sand, and mud). Beginners will need to perfect their balance a bit more, but the sport is otherwise identical to traditional bike riding. Utah, in particular, has taken a shine to the sport and, indeed some of the best trails and outfitters are located around Salt Lake City and Ogden (home to the annual Fat Bike Nationals in 2016). Best time to go: the beauty of fat tire bikes is that they’re designed to go almost anywhere, anytime!