Thrills as it Chills
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind makes moan. But that doesn’t stop the lunatic sportsters from getting out there and throwing themselves down cliffs, skidding across lakes or careening around a bit in the snowy darkness for a laugh, waiting for the days to grow longer.
Time was when a snowball fight was excitement enough. But these days, when it snows in England, the adrenaline junkies will hit even the gentlest of slopes tooled up to the max. Snow boots are the very least of it. On an average snow day in North London, you’ll see high tech sleds, alpine walking poles, even snowboards as the snowholics seek a quick thrill.
For we are all skiiers now (or boarders, if you’re really cool). But some of us are fleeter than others. And if you’re bored by the black runs and really want to get your pulse racing, there are plenty of ways to dice with icy death. Extreme skiing is one particularly flashy way of getting the blood pumping: hire a helicopter to drop you off atop a mountain in Kamchatka and whoop as you ski down virgin powder that no other mortal has touched.
Too fancy? Why not throw yourself down a mountain wearing nothing but a flying suit? There are plenty who while away many a winter's day having this near-death experience. But one group of bonkers skiers decided that this was a bit dullsville so invented the Wingjump - a pair of wings that you wear while you ski. As you pelt downhill, you take off. But before you put in an order, bear in mind that while the Wingjump will allow you to hang in the air somewhat, it won’t actually let you fly. So unless you really do have a deathwish, do not ski off the edge of the mountain wearing one.
If this is all a bit too man and mountain, you could always just get in a machine. One of the most thrilling, and yet pretty safe, things you can do in the snowy tundra - or even in Queensway for that matter - is to career around on the ice in a go cart. As you spin and squeal around the course, tears of laughter crystallising on your face, you are pretty much living the Mario Kart dream.
Not wild about go carts? Why not take a boat up a mountain. It’s basically sledging with a paddle and is so dangerous it’s banned in most ski resorts. But if it’s bumpy exhileration you’re after, this should hit the spot, shortly before you hit terminal velocity. Like windsurfing? Try ice surfing. With blades of steel attached to the bottom of the board and without water’s heavy resistance slowing down the craft, the average icesurfer can bullet across the ice at speeds of up to 70 mph. Biker? Well icebiking will put icicles into your bicyling.
Ice, in fact, can transform any pleasant hobby into a terrifying, death-defying experience. And there are countless ways of tearing up a beautiful snowscape. But let’s face it, in the absence of the helicopter and hi-tech gear, you can’t really go wrong with a hill and a teatray. Now, all we need is some snow.