Friday, December 26, 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

.

News

 
Pastor has many plans for CA House

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Exchange students bring the world to Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to campus

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Special holiday gifts

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

 
Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Learn fruit tree tips at free class

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explorit: Get a rise out of science

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

 
NAMI meeting offers family support

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Yoga, chanting intro offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

How much for the calling birds?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Many ensured a successful parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Thanks for putting food on the table

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Patterson is college football’s top coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Clippers get a win over Golden State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

James J. Dunning Jr.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Floyd W. Fenocchio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7

 
Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: A9