5 Winter Extreme Sports You Probably Haven't Tried ... Yet

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While the sunshine and beach lifestyle of Southern California are optimal for surfing, diving and water skiing, the simple fact is that there are a variety of extreme sports that you can't enjoy here. Additionally, winter brings with it exciting opportunities for adrenaline-fueled activities that you simply have to get away from the beach to enjoy. You likely have a few winter extreme sports that you already participate in, but if you have never enjoyed the activities on this list, you're undoubtedly missing a huge puzzle piece to living a life you love.

Ice Climbing

Of all the extreme activities on this list, you're most likely to have heard about ice climbing. Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is an entire world away from rock climbing. In fact, even the most extreme among us has likely looked at footage of someone climbing up a frozen waterfall and thought to themselves, “I'm extreme, but I'm not stupid.”

As it turns out, though, ice climbing isn't nearly as dangerous as many of us have convinced ourselves. While your definition of “taking chances” shouldn't include going it alone on your first outing, it's quite simple to find a guide who can get you started. You'll want to ensure your health and fitness levels are in top shape since climbing a slippery and wet piece of ice takes endurance, but with the right guide and equipment, you can mark this intimidating sport right off your bucket list.

Ice Diving

Again, this is one activity you likely don't want to try out alone your first time, but if we're being honest, how many extreme sports do we actually just jump right into? Ice diving is an intense activity where you're surrounded by the most incredibly clear water you'll ever see, and this makes it easy to see the strange marine life that's capable of thriving in such a harsh environment. Before diving in head first, though, there are a few things you should know.

Unlike traditional diving, resurfacing isn't as simple as kicking your way to the top. Ice diving is a lot like ice fishing in the fact that there's typically only a single entry and exit point. You'll also want to make sure to purchase a new diving wetsuit, because you can rest assured that the temperatures under the ice are nothing like what you're used to in sunny Southern California.

When starting out, you'll want to try out spots like Morrison's Quarry in Quebec or the White Sea in Russia—where you'll even be swimming alongside beluga whales. Once you're experienced, and trust that you won't come back as an ice cube in a future life, you can try out the more extreme areas. Up in Greenland, for instance, you can dive to places where no dive maps exist.

The potential for collapsing icebergs makes Greenland one of the more dangerous ice diving locales, but you simply cannot beat the breathtaking views.

Snow Scooting

You probably haven't ridden a Razor-style scooter since you were in elementary school, but don't let that fact ruin your opportunity to experience snow scooting. Imagine combining a snowboard with a scooter, and you have the unique Snowscoot. If you enjoy BMX and snowboarding, this is certainly something you have to try out. And unlike ice diving or climbing a frozen waterfall, a mistake while snow scooting often just results in bruised elbows and egos.

The Snowscoot is essentially a scooter attached to a split snowboard. You'll still shift your weight to control how fast you're going and in what direction, but the addition of handlebars gives you even more control over your descent. Additionally, the growing popularity of this activity has resulted in most resorts being perfectly fine with you taking the Snowscoot up on the lift.

The best part about snow scooting? You won't really need any additional training if snowboarding is already a hobby of yours. It might take a little time to get accustomed to facing forward rather than sideways while heading down a hill, but if your idea of happiness is hitting the powder, snow scooting provides you a new and unique way to pull this off.

Ice Surfing

Hitting the waves at your local beach undoubtedly gives you an adrenaline rush. Honestly, who wouldn't enjoy the thrill of traveling a good 20 mph across the water with only a board between you and the sea below? If you're looking for a more extreme version of surfing that doesn't involve following Bodhi to the 50-Year Storm at Bells Beach, though, ice surfing, also called ice boating, is certainly the way to go.

Ice surfing is essentially a mixture of wind surfing and ice boating. Unlike a typical boat or surfboard, though, ice surfing has you going across the ice on steel blades. This, combined with the total lack of friction that you typically experience when surfing waves, means you can get up to 70 mph. Before you embark on this exciting new experience, though, make sure you have all the right equipment and start out slow.

Like ice climbing and ice diving, ice surfing isn't something you want to go full speed into from the start. You'll need to learn how to spot thin ice and slow down at a moment's notice. Lake Michigan and Helena, MT provide excellent opportunities to lose your “ice surfing virginity,” but just remember that there are no bunny slopes involved. Your safety rests entirely on your own preparation.

Snow Kayaking

It's starting to sound redundant at this point, but snow kayaking is yet another extreme sport that you should start out slow before going full-on adrenaline junkie. For those uninitiated, snow kayaking is exactly what it sounds like. You're going take your kayak, skip the rapids and head straight towards the nearest skiing spot. Well, probably not the nearest one since many resorts won't allow you to bring a kayak along for the ride.

There's no telling when the first adrenaline-fueled extreme sports master decided to head down a powder-covered slope on a kayak, but the sport officially got started when a race was held in Austria back in 2002. This makes it much easier to understand why an Austrian, Peter Draxl, became the first world champion in snow kayaking.

Since you might have trouble getting your kayak onto a resort or other frequented ski spot, you'll likely do better finding an instructor who can take you out into the backcountry. Go ahead and take a moment to review a few videos on YouTube of people enjoying this activity. By the end of those videos, you'll likely be primed and ready to hit the slopes on your favorite kayak.

Are you planning on trying any of these extreme sports this winter? Did we miss one that you already enjoy? Let us know in the comments.


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Stephan Aarstol is an American internet entrepreneur and author of the book The Five Hour Workday, which is based on Tower Paddle Boards' invention of the 5-hour workday in 2015 that would eventually spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. Since founding Tower in 2010, it has gone on to become one of America's fastest growing companies and Mark Cuban's best investment in the history of Shark Tank. Tower has diversified into a direct to consumer electric bike company called Tower Electric Bikes, a beachfront event venue called Tower Beach Club, and NoMiddleman.com, where consumers can shop all the world's finest direct to consumer brands from one easy place.