Thursday, August 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New winter sports to experience on snowy terrain

Skier Blair Weathers of Wilmot, N.H., flies off a jump in February, 2011, as he is pulled by Summertime and rider Jennifer Elliot during the Skijoring competition at the Newport Winter Carnival in Newport, N.H. AP photo

By
From page B3 | February 20, 2013 |

By Karen Schwartz

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — After nearly 50 years of living in the Rocky Mountains, I thought I knew how to enjoy the winter. I’ve gone skiing, skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tobogganing, sleigh riding, dog-sledding and more.

But until this winter, I’d never heard of bumper cars on a skating rink. And it wasn’t until recently that I had my first chance to carve turns down a ski hill on a snowbike.

It’s part of a trend to provide visitors to ski resorts and other snowy destinations with a wider variety of choices, said Troy Hawks, managing editor of the National Ski Areas Association Journal.

“What we’re seeing is a larger swath of the family — you’ve got the grandkids all the way to the grandparents — and all of them have their idea of how they want to spend their day,” he said.

Some activities are more popular in certain regions, and some aren’t well advertised, so for a different spin on a snow-destination vacation, here are some things to look for:

Air bags:
These massive, inflatable air bags are placed at the bottom of jumps to allow skiers and boarders to try flips and spins. Nail the landing on your feet and you ride off down the hill. Fail, and you have a soft landing; http://www.bagjump.com or http://www.bigairbag.com.

Airboards:
A high-tech spin on winter tubing, these snow body boards are inflatable sleds with molded plastic runners on the bottom and handles on the top. The sleds can reach speeds of 60 mph or more (nearly 100 kilometers per hour), and users steer by shifting their body weight. They’re offered at some ski areas (though banned at others) as well as through some private operators; http://www.airboard.com has a partial list of rental locations.

Bumper cars on ice:
Just what it sounds like, these are turning up at skating rinks from coast to coast. The battery-operated “cars” are large rubber tubes with molded seats that can hold one adult or an adult and small child. Controlled by two joysticks, they are easy to steer or spin as they bump along on wheels with tiny cleats. Most rinks have age, height or weight restrictions.

First tracks:
The opportunity for intermediate and advanced skiers to take the first runs in the morning before the slopes open to the public is an option at more resorts. Some, like Northstar in California, require skiers to stay with a guide; others, like Aspen, Colo., include a gourmet breakfast. Steamboat Springs, Colo., has been experimenting with multiple day First Track passes, some of which can be shared among buddies.

Skijoring:
From the Norwegian word meaning “ski driving,” skijoring is still primarily the stuff of winter carnivals and cowboy competitions. But some places, like the adult-only Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Mont., offer guests the chance to see what it’s like to be pulled on Alpine skis behind a horse. Other resorts, like Eden Mountain Lodge in Eden Mills, Vt., and Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colo., work with experienced skiers and their own dogs to learn what it’s like to go mushing on Nordic skis.

Ice castles:
These massive ice castles are formed by thousands and thousands of icicles. A series of pathways take visitors through ice columns, tunnels, caverns and archways. Introduced last year in Silverthorne, Colo., the castles were being built this winter in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

Snowbikes:
Bicycles that ride on skis, rather than wheels, have been around in various forms for decades, but now they have the blessing of some ski resorts, which rent the bikes and offer instruction. Smaller skis clip to your ski boots, helping with balance and maneuvering. The bikes can be taken on the chairlifts to access a variety of terrain; http://www.snowbike.info.

Snowkiting:
Snowkiting or kite boarding is a cousin to ocean kite surfing. For the winter version, an experienced, fearless skier or snowboarder is harnessed to a kite and uses wind power to propel themselves around. An extreme sport, it requires strength and an understanding of wind patterns. Lessons are recommended.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Marsh trial still scheduled to begin Monday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    The show must go on: DMTC celebrates 30 years

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Here’s a guide to Fifth Street etiquette

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Puppy love: dating sites match up animal lovers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Aid workers with Ebola out of hospital

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Actors, crew needed for touring eco-play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Onramp crash injures two

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
     
    Free electronic waste recycling service offered

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    NAMI support group meets Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Village Feast offers a taste of Yolo County with a hint of Europe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Sign up soon for Sac City’s fall classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Animal Services issues warning about rabid bats

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Museum sets brick dedication date

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Peregrine School is open for tours, registration

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Fish-friendly river water intake takes shape

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Qigong class starts in September


    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Meet K9 officer Dexter at Davis Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    Join the fun at the DMTC Gala on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Poets will read their original work on Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Great game kids, pass the beer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Frank Bruni: The trouble with tenure

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Will you help serve Davis’ senior citizens?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Many thanks to Brooks Painting

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    I really miss cal.net, too

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Where are the Water Police?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    River Cats clip Redbirds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Giants cruise past Cubs in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie coaches nearer starting lineups for Stanford opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    A’s lose to split series with Mets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Scoring machine propels Republic to another win

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers’ Dawson still learning to kick in new stadium

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Wineaux: A sparkling prescription for a new disease

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

     
    Free classical concerts set at Covell Gardens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    ‘La Cage aux Folles’: a refreshing take on a classic

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Dora Mae Clark Anderson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, August 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6