From ice climbing in France to fat biking in Aspen, explore the picturesque destinations playing host to some thrilling winter sports.
An active escape in the winter months involves a few key elements: layers, chutzpah, and, if you're looking for something off the beaten ski and snowboard path, creativity. Here, the Q blog by Equinox spotlights some unexpected ways to sweat in the snow, and the beautiful locales in which to try them.
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Ice Climbing in Chamonix, France
Where to play: Chamonix is famous for its ice climbing, and offers more than 200 routes on which to do it. All the necessary equipment can be rented or purchased in Chamonix village, and climbing with an experienced mountain guide is recommended. New to the sport? Start at La Crémerie, in the Argentière area, where some of the routes are a gentle 45 degree slope.
Where to stay: The Hôtel Mont-Blanc looks more like an elegant Parisian townhouse than a traditional ski lodge. The sleek indoor pool has floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the mountain views.
Fat Biking in Aspen
Where to play: Too snowy to cycle? Not in Aspen. One of the newest outdoor sports is snow biking, or fat biking, and Aspen is a pioneer of the activity. These bikes have heavy, rigid frames and tires that are two-to-three times the size of regular ones, and feature large brake levers which can easily be operated even while wearing mittens. Sun Dog Athletics organizes fat biking instruction and excursions.
Where to stay: The Viceroy Snowmass is a modern, ski-in ski-out hotel. Unwind at the 7,000 square foot Viceroy Spa or pick up a picnic lunch from the in-house Eight K Restaurant, which uses organic and locally sourced ingredients when possible.
Paragliding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Where to play: One of the best ways to take in the snowy landscape of the Grand Tetons is by soaring over it-not in a plane or a helicopter but by paragliding. Visitors can sign up for paragliding lessons or try it tandem style through Jackson Hole Paragliding.
Where to stay: Rent a luxury contemporary home from The Clear Creek Group, such as Shooting Star Cabin. The concierge can arrange everything from private dinners to snow safaris. Beyond paragliding and stellar skiing, Jackson Hole also offers dog sledding to Granite Hot Springs, where you can take a dip in 110 degree water.