Winter conjures up images of snow-capped mountains, hot chocolate, and fireside stories. Bust out your scarves and hats and start thinking of all those wintery, snow-filled activities you’ve been waiting for all year long. While there’s nothing wrong with hitting the slopes this season, several more adventurous options await. Embrace your inner Elsa and go explore some new winter activities. From bobsledding to ice hotels, the cold never seemed so cool.
1. Sapporo, Japan- Snow festival
Every February, Sapporo becomes home to towering snow and ice sculptures. Each one is hand-craved by a group of artists from around the world. The yuki-matsuri has three distinct districts: a street dedicated to smaller hand-sculpted ice sculptures, a hands-on area to get up close and personal with the snow, and 13-blocks of huge ice shenanigans and events. Make sure to come at night for a color transformation.
2. Ely, Minnesota- Dog sleddin
Need a daily cup of cuteness on your holiday vacation? Make your way to Minnesota for a true dog-sledding experience. Not only will you get to try a new style of snow-transportation, you get to enjoy the scenic beauty that Minnesota has to offer. Learn how to properly “mush” your dog-sled team and embrace the ways of the sled. After all, how can you say “no” to dog snuggles?
3. Kiruna, Sweden- Ice Hotel
Each year, Kiruna brings in frozen pieces of water from the Torne River to create their icy hotel. Because of this, the hotel never looks quite the same as the year before. Various artists are invited to create part of the hotel. From the bar to the chapel, no room is ever the same. Worried you might freeze? The hotel staff will equip you with everything you need to stay warm.
4. Igls, Austria- Bobsled and Luge
Get your adrenaline running with one of the most exciting winter activities! Fly down the course at a roaring 71mph, taking sharp turns like an Olympic champion. Austria has hosted the winter Olympics twice and is the perfect place to learn a new winter sport. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie; you can go down the course with a professional.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland- Blue lagoon and Northern Lights
Dreaming of beautiful views and laid-back evenings? Iceland fits the bill. The (in)famous Blue Lagoon, a spa located in Iceland’s former lava fields, is the perfect place to get in and warm your bones. Their heated water allows you to finally relax and take in the beauty around you. Its waters are said to have curative abilities and can help those with skin disease. As you spoil yourself, be on the lookout for the Northern Lights.
Grab your warmest mittens and clothes before you head out on your winter activities. You don’t want to get caught in a snowstorm unprepared. If you’re allergic to snow and things that are cold, you can always head south of the equator for sand, beaches, and warmth! Get "snowing."