Snowshoeing in the mountains (Shutterstock)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 12 November

8 action-packed winter activity holidays

Hibernation? Pah. Get your blood pumping on these winter adventure trips – including snow shoeing, igloo building, husky sledding and more

Aurora & action, Sweden

The trip: Northern Lights Snowshoe Safari, KE Adventure Travel

Snow shoes are, quite simply, the best way to travel around frozen Abisko National Park. Part-skis, part crampons, they'll let you venture far from the beaten track – where the air is crisp, the snow is pristine, and it's so quiet you can hear a glove drop. (Trust us, you'll want to keep both on).

Winter camping in Abisko (Shutterstock)
Winter camping in Abisko (Shutterstock)

There are no roads to the mountain huts where you'll stay on this Northern Lights Snowshoe Safari – so you'll reach your digs on hardy snowmobiles. When night falls, turn your gaze skywards to seek out the Aurora: on the banks of the frozen Lake Alesjaure, with zero light pollution, you could hardly ask for a better seat.

Ride on the wild side, Iceland

The trip: Superjeep Weekend Safari, Discover The World

With their whopping studded tyres and rugged bodies, the monster trucks on this Superjeep Weekend Safari make light work of Iceland's snow-blanketed terrain. In winter, the Golden Circle (the hotspot of geysers, geothermal pools and waterfalls close to Reykjavik) is delightfully quiet – but thanks to your sturdy steed you'll be able to visit every attraction.

4WD truck at Jokulsarlon ice lagoon (Shutterstock)
4WD truck at Jokulsarlon ice lagoon (Shutterstock)

If you're looking for an action-packed minibreak, this 3 or 4-night itinerary should tickle your fancy. You'll leave the hard work to an expert ice driver, relaxing in the back with 3-6 other travellers.

Snowshoe safari, USA

The trip: Yellowstone Winter Wildlife, Grand American Adventures

Come wintertime, Yellowstone is crowd-free and calm – but  just as rich in wildlife as it is during summer. It's an awesome place to learn to cross-country ski or snowshoe, with a snow-tipped mountainous backdrop, explosive geysers and steamy geothermal pools.

Winter bull elk, Yellowstone National Park (Shutterstock)
Winter bull elk, Yellowstone National Park (Shutterstock)

Yellowstone isn't known as 'America's Serengeti' for nothing: on this Snowshoe Safari trip you'll spot weather-hardy bison, bighorn sheep and elks while you cover ground on your snowy walking trails – and keep an eye to the ground in case of wolf tracks too.

Build igloos & snowmen, Andorra

The trip: Winter Pyrenees Family Holiday, The Family Adventure Company

If your kids are dreaming of a white Christmas, let them loose on this Winter Pyrenees Family Holiday – where every day brings a new icy adventure.

Igloo and snow shelter, Andorra (Shutterstock)
Igloo and snow shelter, Andorra (Shutterstock)

You'll explore forest trails on snow shoes (with special pairs designed for little feet), stopping for warming hot chocolate and a picnic on the snow. Next, cross-country skiing (again, nice and easy) then igloo building, snowmobiling, and downhill skiing (by this time, you'll all be a dab hand).

Sleep in an ice-bound ship, Norway

The trip: A Ship In The Ice Svalbard, Wexas

It must be an Arctic explorer's nightmare, but we reckon Ship in the Ice is one of the world's coolest hotels – because it is, quite literally, a 100-year-old ship stuck into the ice. On this holiday you'll spend two nights in this ice-bound schooner, feeling decidedly snug as you watch polar bears through the port holes.

Ship in the Ice (Visit Norway)
Ship in the Ice (Visit Norway)

Getting there is half the fun: on the 70km journey you'll slice through the snow in a formation of sleds, drawn by 90 energetic husky dogs.

Husky-sledding holiday, Canada

The trip: Husky Adventure in the Yukon, Windows On The Wild

Sky High Wilderness Ranch sounds like a good base for a Husky Adventure, doesn't it? From this illustrious spot in Whitehorse, Yukon, you'll speed across the snow-thick terrain on a husky-led sleigh with an expert guide – and you'll get your hands on the reigns too. Every day there are new jaw-dropping landscapes to discover: icy lakes, snow-whipped peaks and frozen forests.

Husky sledding, Yukon (Shutterstock)
Husky sledding, Yukon (Shutterstock)

At night you'll either return to Sky High (where saunas and hot showers await), or get closer to nature (while still staying warm) in a cosy camp. The night's entertainment? Stargazing, hot chocolate, and storytelling around the woodstove.

High-altitude action, Slovakia & Poland

The trip: Tatra Winter Activity Week, Exodus

If snow-capped mountains bring out the adventurer in you, Exodus's Tatra Winter Activity Week is for you. Downhill skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, forest picnics, sleigh tours, snowboarding – it's all fair game on this action-packed itinerary.

Trekking in the Tatras (Shutterstock)
Trekking in the Tatras (Shutterstock)

It's not all frozen fun, though – you'll relish a good soaking at the Bukowina Tatranska thermal pools, which are renowned for their health benefits.

Ice sculptures & snowshoeing, Japan

The trip: Japan Winter Festivals, Intrepid

Combine snowy adventures with a dose of culture on Intrepid's Japan Winter Festivals trip – a 9-day adventure which whisks you into the north of the country in search of its wintery wonders. Start in Sapporo, where you'll gawp at ice sculptures of towering proportions (its Snow Festival attracts artists from all over the world), then take a high-speed train to Asahikawa – where the mountains are thick with snow.

Sapporo Snow Festival (Shutterstock)
Sapporo Snow Festival (Shutterstock)

Strap on skis or snow shoes, saddle up a team of huskies for a dog sled trip, or simply wallow in a steaming onsen (hot spring). Nearby Sounkyo is one of the chilliest spots in Japan, so wrap up warm to hurtle down snow tubing tracks – it's like tobogganing, but with giant inflatable doughnut rings.

Main image: Snowshoeing in the mountains (Shutterstock)

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