Shorter days, colder nights, winter holidays, ski-ers delight.....
But what if you don't fancy a skiing holiday this year? What if you resent paying a small fortune for a couple of coffees halfway up a mountain served by a truculent teenager whilst the fog/lack of snow/crowds [delete as applicable] prevents actual skiing?
Here are a few alternative suggestions
1. Look to the north my friend
What about the aurora borealis? (*)
Anywhere inside the Arctic Circle between October and March will provide the right conditions for the aurora and you will have the right environment.
Here are some of the most popular places which we've sought for clients:
- Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland
- Alyeska Resort, Alaska
- Hotel Arctic, Greenland
- Scorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway
- Blanchford Lake Lodge, Northwest Territories, Canada
- Lyngen Lodge, Norway
(*) The technical bit: the Northern Lights occur when charged particles from the sun strike atoms in earth's atmosphere, causing electrons in the atoms to move to a higher-energy state. When the electrons fall back again to a lower energy state, they release a photon = light. This process creates the aurora, or Northern Lights.
2. Just like skiing...but not as you know it
What is it about skiing that attracts you? Is it the majestic scenery, the sense of speed, the fresh snap of mountain air....or all of the above?
Have you ever thought about combining these elements....for example:
- Cross-country skiing - skiers propel themselves either by striding forward (classic style) or side-to-side in a skating motion (skate skiing)
Did you know? The word ski comes from the Old Norse word 'skíð' which means stick of wood and its original use was as a technique for traveling cross-country over snow about 5,000 years ago.
- Dog sledding – or mushing to use the correct technical term for a sport or method of transportation powered by dogs
Did you know? Mush is rarely used as a term to get the dogs going – Hike! Is far more common
- Snowmobiling – often referred to as 'ski-dooing' after the first commercial brand of snowmobile, this is a vehicle designed specifically for travel on snow.
Did you know? The ski-doo should have been called a 'ski-dog' but a typographical error led to it being called a 'ski-doo' and the rest is history!
3. It's only natural
We've all seen the awe-inspiring nature programmes on tv, with fantastic shots of all creatures, from bears to birds to whales, with the northern regions particularly abundant in wildlife.
- Bears - the grizzly and polar varieties are particularly popular up north!)
- Birds – there's an abundance for twitchers (bird watchers) or those who prefer their feathered friends slightly larger and closer to hand (such as penguins lovers), but we can't vouch for the antedate smells!
- Whales – Blue, Killer, Humpback....the list of these majestic mammals who migrate to the winter feeding grounds is almost endless.
So, there's plenty to do abroad apart from winter skiing....or, you could combine all of the above in a specialist holiday, combining exercise (cross country skiing), with adrenaline (snowmobiling) and a large dose of relaxation (nature watching)
And when the day is over, imagine yourself in a hot tub, on a cold night with nature's most amazing light show spread out before you – far more satisfying than a crowded ski lift.