7 alternative activities to skiing to try on your winter holidays

Ice climbing an alternative to skiing near our winter boutique hotels Italy

Though we could never tire of heading to the slopes for a few skiing sessions, there’s also so much more to our lovely snowy mountain resorts than just skiing, with many of our boutique hotels offering a host of truly unforgettable winter activities and experiences. Here are just some of the alternatives that we would definitely recommend:

Snowshoe tours

Snowshoeing is the world’s fastest growing winter sport, though it has in fact been around for thousands of years. Snowshoes are specially made so that your body weight is more equally distributed across the shoe, making you ‘float’ on the snow rather than sink as you explore the wintry woodlands or hike up the mountainside. Incredibly easy to learn, snowshoeing is a great activity for all ages to get stuck into. Hameau les Cleves in Valais is just one of our winter resorts offering snowshoe tours.

Horse-drawn sledge rides

On offer at Switzerland’s Hotel Bellevue Wiesen are romantic horse-drawn sledge rides – an experience you simply won’t forget as you are lead through the back country to the backdrop of towering trees and mountains in true alpine style and comfort.

Tobogganing runs

With minimal tuition required, tobogganing is just one of those activities that everyone can have a go at, even very small children. A simpler alternative to skiing or snowboarding, there’s little that beats the exhilarating rush as you zip down the slopes, steering the toboggan through the course’s twists and turns.

Ice skating

Easy to learn the basics of but difficult to master, ice skating is another great winter activity to test your balance and your artistic flair. Nothing beats being surrounded by real snow and ice as inspiration as you enjoy a real ice skating session, offered by hotels such as Savoie’s Auiguille Grive Chalets Hotel.

Ice climbing

Definitely for the more adventurous among us, ice climbing involves scaling vertical ice formations, such as ice falls, frozen waterfalls and cliff faces and rock slabs frozen over. Like with any climbing adventure, when you reach the top, the feeling is simply euphoric, and you definitely won’t forget the rush of adrenaline you feel as you scale the ice.

Ice hockey

A favourite sport of our American and Canadian friends, ice hockey is also on offer at some of our boutique skiing hotels, and is suitable for anyone who has mastered the basics of ice skating. Get in touch with your competitive side and learn the rules, tactics and techniques of this thrilling sport.

Mountain hiking

Surrounded by beautiful scenery, what better way to appreciate it all than to hike to the top and take in miles upon miles of the stretching beauty? Many of our boutique hotels offer hiking tours up to the top of the mountains – definitely a more relaxed way to pass by time on the slopes.

With Chic Retreats, you can head to several different countries to experience your winter adventure, all with the comfort of our boutique hotels – Italy, Switzerland, France and Austria for starters! Visit our website to find out more today.

Image: Roman Petruniak, available under Creative Commons

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.