6 Extreme Sports to Plan Your Next Holiday Around
If the idea of sitting by a pool in the sunshine with a book while children cannonball into the water around you doesn’t sound like a holiday, then you’ve come to the right place.
Saddle up as we inspire you to plan your next holiday around the often weird and sometimes wonderful world of extreme sports.
Yes, this is a thing. But don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that you surf on wake of lava – we’re not monsters. This pretty cool sport involves trekking up a volcano with a rectangular board (very like a sandboard) and sledging down a slope of black volcanic dust at a surprisingly rapid speed. Cerro Negro in Central America’s Nicaragua is an active volcano with a slope perfect for some basalt tobogganing.
Where: León, Nicaragua
Contact: Quetzaltrekkers, www.leon.quetzaltrekkers.org
When it comes to playing in the snow, Alaska is the place to be – and the chilly climate means there’s a long season of ideal ice-climbing conditions. Matanuska Glacier is a great place to start, and although the pictures on Google make it look like a sport for professionals, there are regular trips for beginners. You’ll need a decent level of fitness, as this sport relies as much on brute strength as it does on technique… those without a stomach for heights need not apply.
Where: Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
Contact: Mica Guides, www.micaguides.com
You probably never thought that being really good at holding your breath would come in handy, until now. This sport involves exploring the ocean without any breathing apparatus. The current freediving world record holder is Herbert Nitsch, who can hold his breath for over nine minutes. You don’t need to travel too far from home to give it a go, as there are lots of different clubs and centres around the Middle East. In fact, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, is a big fan.
Where: Oman & UAE
Contact: The Freediving Club, www.thefreedivingclub.com
Downhill Mountain Biking
Hurtling down a steep hill over rough terrain with obstacles, drops and jumps sounds like a recipe for a broken limb; but although this sport is dangerous, it's becoming increasingly popular all over the world. The French Alps provides the perfect playground during the summer months – best of all, you can utilise the unused chairlifts while skiing isn’t in season. Although you probably already know how to ride a bike, don’t be tempted to throw yourself down a trail without lessons. Instructors will be able to teach you all the tricks necessary to make sure you make it to the bottom in one piece.
Where: The Alps, France
Contact: Alpine Elements, www.alpineelements.co.uk
Climb, jump, swim, and abseil your way through caves, waterfalls and rivers. New Zealand has some of the most interesting rocky terrain, especially in the North Island where you’ll find the Waitomo Caves. Some tours allow you to combine caving with white water rafting for an extra hit of adrenaline.
Where: North Island, New Zealand
Contact: Black Water Rafting Company, www.waitomo.com
If you’re going to do it, overdo it. The 300 meter sheer cliff face of Mont Buffalo gorge in Australia is where you’ll find the world’s highest cliff camping experience. You can stay overnight on a portaledge suspended over a breathtaking view… and an equally breathtaking drop. In order to reach your bed for the night, you’ll have to abseil down, and those who are looking for the ultimate vertigo-inducing experience can abseil to the valley floor in the morning.
Where: Victoria, Australia
Contact: Unleashed-Unlimited, www.unleashed-unlimited.com.au