Winter is all about snow, ice and long dark nights by a roaring fire.
But it’s also a prime time for adventure.
Around this beautiful planet, the winter landscape can be cruel and cold, but it is also beautiful. Bringing with it a whole host of excursions and pilgrimages that are life-defining.
From picturesque mountain skiing to traditional dog-sledding, through ice breaking voyages to journeys in chase of the Northern Lights…
Here are twenty-two spectacular winter adventures you must do before you die.
22 Winter Adventures To Hack Before Your Die
In the grand scheme of things, we live on an incredibly magical, and stunning planet, for a very limited time. With so much to see and do, it was no easy task compiling a list of the top Winter Adventures to have before moving onto the next experience in infinite.
1. Chase the Northern Lights
On top of many a bucket list is a chance to glimpse the breathtaking Northern Lights.
One of nature’s great performances, the Northern Lights — or aurora borealis — are an elusive natural phenomenon caused by electrically charged particles exuded from the sun and driven toward the Earth’s Poles. This elusiveness is an experience unto itself, as you “chase” your chance to see them through the Arctic Circle.
Although they are also viewable in the wilds of Canada and Alaska, Northern Scandinavia and Iceland provide the closest viewpoints from the UK, particularly between 9pm and 2am on a crisp and clear February.
Take an escorted package into the snowy wilderness by snowmobile or super jeep and keep your fingers crossed for what the Inuits consider a celestial encounter.
2. Experience the Remote Svalbard Archipelago
Isolated and cold, Svalbard is a prime location for polar bear spotting in summer. In winter, however, Svalbard offers unique and breathtakingly remote expeditions through the polar night on snowmobile and sled, across glaciers and mountains. The ghost town of Pyramiden — a former coal-mining town — is a particularly chilling sight in the quiet of winter.
3. Rest in an Icy Igloo
In the deep forests of Lapland, you can experience a combination of wood, snow and glass in an exciting igloo with a night sky view. Surrounded by snow and fitted with cosy blankets, we can’t think of a more homely way of witnessing a wondrous winter night-scape.
4. Set Off On An Icebreaking Adventure
Icebreakers are incredible feats of shipping ingenuity, built to negotiate treacherous ice conditions that no other can. Often well stocked with onboard helicopters, world leading naturalists and a hearty crew, an ice breaker expedition offers a special encounter with sea ice in the world’s most incredible and remote locations.
5. Experience an Authentic Sámi Lifestyle
As nomadic reindeer herders of Northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, the Sámi offer an encounter with a timeless and unique Arctic lifestyle. With hospitable villages and a host of winter celebrations and festivities (such as the Skábmagovat film festival and Jokkmokk’s annual winter market), the quiet wilderness of the Sámi homeland is a once in a lifetime experience to behold.
Greenland is an impressive and expansive wonderland of snow. Locals take their dog sledding seriously here, with many towns populated by more dogs than people. Intrepid travellers should consider taking an epic trek over several days deep into the wilderness of Greenland with nothing but an Inuit guide, a pack of dogs, a sled and some hunting tools.
7. Bobsleigh on an Olympic Track
Bobsledding is an invigorating experience in which you rattle around winding tracks at speeds that rival fighter jets. This winter-only event requires great concentration and consideration, and the Olympic tracks in Utah (USA), Lillehammer (Norway) and La Plagne (France) offer a first-hand encounter of what it means to compete at a world class level.
8. Snowshoe Across the Dolomites
The Dolomites is Italy’s most impressive mountain range, surrounded by quaint mountain villages and breathtaking scenery. Snowshoeing across the peaks and forest trails is a magical experience that makes hiking in the snow memorable and fun!
9. Experience the Fairytale of Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a well-preserved and resplendent medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its city wall, Toompea Castle, Christmas market and Town Hall square are picture postcard views that resemble a fairytale adventure in winter.
10. Wander a Winter Wonderland of Ice Sculptures
From Sapporo in Japan to Harbin in China, ice festivals offer breathtaking and imaginative interpretations of life-size (and mega-size) architecture in snow, ice and light. As short lived and ephemeral festivals, these once a year festivals are always changing and are a must see.
11. Go Ice Blokarting Over a Frozen Lake
Blokarting is a compact land yacht which, when paired with a glorious icy environment, makes for a fast, adrenaline-fuelled ride. Nida in Lithuania, among other locations, offers this unique blokarting experience over the frozen lake of Curonian.
12. Track Wolves in Yellowstone National Park
Being surrounded by howls of wolf activity in deep wolf territory is a raw encounter with nature one rarely experiences, making for exhilarating winter adventures. In Yellowstone’s Northern Range, you can track wolf activity with experts, getting a unique insight into the behaviour and activities of wolf packs, as well as other wildlife such as bison, elk and moose.
13. Witness Japan’s Rare Dancing Cranes
Japan’s red-crowned cranes are a beautiful and rare species that exhibit a unique ballet amid pillows of snow in Japan’s Hokkaido. To witness this unique winter performance is a privilege few are afforded.
14. Go Ice Diving in Baffin Island, Canada
Scuba diving with ice layered above may be a nightmare to some, but it offers an underwater world like no other. With glacial blue and exuberant reflected light, this is an up-close encounter with ice bergs, pack ice and the “floe edge” – where land ice meets the ocean.
15. Sweat It Out in a Finnish Sauna
Finland is renowned for its Sauna culture. The experience for non-Finns is both bewildering and thrilling. The plunge into the intensely icy snow outside, followed by a sweltering sauna experience, is a strange encounter with pain and pleasure.
16. Witness the Tibetan Buddhist Festival of Losar
Heading into the unique and spiritual world of Tibetan buddhism, the Losar — or Lhochhar in Nepal — is a buddhist equivalent of a new year’s festival. Dancing spirit performances, brightly coloured costumes, traditional foods and dance all culminate in a unique new year’s from Bhutan to India.
17. Visit Santa and His Workshop
Let your inner child out and take a visit to Santa’s workshop in the Lapland area of Finland. Aside from Santa, you can also navigate the beautiful surroundings in a reindeer drawn sled and accomplish a childhood wish. After all, how many chances will you get to meet Santa Claus in your lifetime?
18. Chill Out at an Ice Music Festival
Norway’s Ice Music Festival is held annually in February. The festival is unique because the whole event is orchestrated with ice and snow; an ice stage, ice art and ice musical instruments all provide cool — and quirky — entertainment.
19. Spot Snow Monkeys and Bathe in an Onsen
The snow monkeys of Jigokudani in Nagano (Japan) are a unique macaque native to Japan. They love to relax in the steaming onsen hot springs and make for a cute encounter with nature. Just like the monkeys, you can survive the winter freeze with a dip in a steaming onsen.
20. Celebrate Christmas In St Petersburg
Winter in St. Petersburg is like no other. As with other Orthodox Christian countries, Christmas is celebrated on 7th January, allowing you to experience a host of new traditions. Aside from the beautiful lights, decorations and festive food and drink, St. Petersburg is gorgeous when blanketed in its winter coat.
21. Join the Vikings at Up Helly Aa
The Viking festival of Up Helly Aa in Scotland’s Shetland Islands is the largest fire festival in Europe. Taking place in January, the festival involves Viking costumes and plenty of merry-drinking. It culminates in a visual feast in which a giant Viking galley is dramatically set ablaze by a procession of torches.
22. Escape Winter By Following the Sun
If you hate the bitter cold of winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t simply skip one season for another. Pack your shorts and sunglasses and fly halfway around the world to sunnier climbs for a beach adventure; Tahiti, Australia, Costa Rica, Barbados, the Seychelles and even Florida are just some of your choices to escape a British winter.
To an epic life,