Adventure Ideas 5:
Winter Family Fun
While down in London on our post Jubilympic mini-break we were on the lookout for ideas for winter family fun. We checked out The Ski and Snowboard Show and tried out a few of the capital’s winter attractions. So this edition of Adventure Ideas has the chill factor. But don’t worry, you won’t feel the cold; in fact our suggestions for skiing, roller skiing and ice skating might help you work up a collective family sweat…
Ski back in time
Planning some winter sports this year? Fancy ski jumping back a couple of decades? Retro Rentals invites you to snow plough straight into the 1980’s by renting one of their onesies. Check out the picture of us (above) in our suits at the most day-glo stall in The Ski and Snowboard Show at Earl’s Court. I wanted to wear mine home, and so did the kids. But they’re not designed for the British drizzle, they’re destined for the slopes in Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets Chamonix and Whistler.
And while we’re talking recycled gear, we found fledgling company M-24 taking recycled truck tarpaulin bags and turning them into hard-wearing kit bags for skis, boots, and of course, your onesie. Match the white stuff with a green conscience this winter.
Go Nordic in Norway
If you like the idea of cross country skiing, but can’t let go of the downhill thrill, you could do a lot worse than a winter break in Norway. “We don’t have the Alps but we do have slopes and we are a complete mountain destination for an active family,” according to Moyfrid Larson from the Geilo National Park Village, an easily accessible resort between Oslo and Bergen in Southern Norway. She lists elk, deer and arctic fox spotting, dog sledding, snow shoeing and ice fishing as some of the activities a family can try when they’ve finished skiing. Norway does come with a family health warning; a pizza for five could need a mortgage. But if you want to spend some money and avoid the conventional ski destinations then it could be worth a flick through the brochures.
You’ve got to roll with it
If you plan to go cross country skiing and want to put in some practice, then roller skiing could be for you. What’s that? Well it’s basically the technique of cross country skiing, practised on mini skis with roller skate wheels.
Still with me? Cameron, who never leaves the house without his Heelies, was ecstatic when he saw the gear at the ski show and immediately signed us all up for a taster session. He turned out to be a younger, skinnier John Moore, the British Olympic Cross Country and World Biathlon Championship skier who we got chatting to at the show. John has a history of family skiing, with three generations of his family having represented Britain in the Olympics. I can’t see we will ever get close to that. When we had a go we got very mixed results as you can see here. Turns out roller skiing isn’t child’s play; the Nordic ski clubs of England and Scotland offer instruction in parks around the UK and it’s a great way of getting fit and improving your technique. And a whole lot cheaper and greener than flying off to the Alps.
Dance on ice with dinosaurs
If you fancy gliding, but not on wheels then maybe you should take the family ice skating. When I was a teenager my local ice skating rink was housed in a dark, cold building and smelt of other people’s feet. But now thanks to modern technology, pop up outdoor ice rinks are appearing all over the world in some spectacular locations. Last year, the National Trust invited people to skate in the grounds of Sizergh Castle, just a few miles from us. And last week we tried out the atmospheric rink outside London’s Natural History Museum. While Hannah hoped to be skating with dinosaurs, she had to settle for her dad, who is a tad younger, but about as graceful. Why not hunt a rink out in an unusual location near you? It’s healthy, fun, and a good excuse to have a gluhwein afterwards. For medicinal purposes of course.
Spice up your winter break…with ketchup
And finally, what’s on your checklist for skiing? Boots? Skis? Warm jacket? Ketchup? Well, if it is you’re not alone. The 2012 World Travel Market Industry Report found that 6% of us take our condiments with us when we travel. After security officials at Heathrow recently made me carry my lipstick and eye pencil through the departure lounge and onto the plane in a see-through plastic bag, I’m keen to cut down even further on lotions and potions. But that’s just me apparently. Anyway, enjoy your winter sports, with or without a bottle of tabasco and a onesie to keep you warm.
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