Whilst experiential travel has been rising in popularity over the years, the traditional ski trip has slowly started morphing into more of a ‘winter trip’. Many ski resorts across the globe have been putting considerable effort into developing non-snowsports activities, and Mabey Ski enjoys nothing more than creating new experiences, whether on the mountain or off — because the adventure shouldn’t end when the slope does… This is great news for friends and family who would rather keep their feet warm in comfy boots, and even better news for the ski-obsessed who now have legitimate reasons to book a winter trip for everyone.
Ice skating at night outdoors on a frozen lake under a clear starry sky
Yep, this is possible, and mind-blowing. It does require some inside local knowledge and a few meteorological circumstances to come together, but this is what makes the experience so special. Without getting too technical about it, lakes surrounding many ski resorts in Canada freeze over in the middle of winter but really come to life during high pressure systems when the air is clear and dry — and absolutely freezing. If you look out your window in mid January to see sunny skies and hear the snow squeaking under your feet, it’s time.
Step out onto densely echoing ice and glide almost silently beneath a towering horizon, where mountaintops are made visible only by billions of bright stars, and a full moon — but only if ‘the planets align’ during your stay, so to speak. And if you’re lucky you’ll see locals rugged up in down jackets pouring out of their homes; beer in one hand, hockey stick in the other — ready to give their nominated goalie some practice defending their post.
Cups of mulled wine are highly recommended, and like all things in the mountains, a dusting of powder on the ice will enhance the experience and make you wonder if you’re actually floating over clouds… (especially if you’ve had a few too many of the aforementioned wines).
A trip to the beach… in winter!
This is no ordinary day excursion, because honestly, who wants to go on one of those? And besides, who said beaches are only for summer time adventures? They’re not. In fact, a day trip to a beach covered in snow will provide mind-blowing memories and Instagram-worthy shots for years to come.
The coast of Hokkaido is brimming with stunning beaches that will change the way you think about winter. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as you walk along the snowy shoreline and watch the waves roll in. If you are lucky you may even see surfers clad in thick neoprene suits paddling out to catch a few mid winter swells. And if you are feeling brave, why not suit up and try it out for yourself? A brisk dip in the Sea of Japan will redefine your interpretation of ‘ice cream headache’.
Snowshoe through the woods with cheese fondue and mulled wine
Do we need to expand on this any further? Okay, if we must… snowshoes have evolved somewhat since the tennis-racquet-shaped-object-strapped-to-foot image that you may still carry in your mind. Either way, snowshoes stop you from sinking into fresh deep snow and allow you to wander around the woods, off the well trodden path, so you can have a sneak peek at what really goes on in the forest.
Explore the forested trails by headtorch and stop in at an old trapper’s cabin on a historic trap line under the starry night. Come together around a campfire as your guide prepares your fondue and mugs of mulled wine. Bliss.
Best experienced early in the morning when the Rainbow Trout are at their most active, and you can watch the sun rise over the lake. As your guide clears the snow for your spot and expertly drills the ice, you can feast your eyes on the beautiful ice plains around you and sip hot cocoa. If it’s really cold you’ll be inside a large insulated tent with a propane heater to keep you toasty, whilst you wait patiently for the fish to bite at your bait.
And the best part… is going home with a sustainably sourced, wild caught, free-range, organic trout!
Dog sledding might not be available in all ski resorts across the world, but the best experiences never are. This is a chance to step back in time and travel through alpine highlands over snow using one of the rowdiest forms of transport known to mankind.
The dogs love their work and make a convincing amount of noise to prove the point — in fact, it’s easy to get swept up in their enthusiasm for dragging you around in your sled. Animal lovers especially will love this adventure, bonds will be formed, and if you are not careful you may end up with a new furry friend when you get home.
Mabey Ski’s adventure designers have travelled and skied all over the world to find those special hole-in-the-wall ramen places and larger-than-life local ski guides. At Mabey Ski, we don’t believe in conventional – we collaborate and dream with small, local partners across the globe to create experiences beyond the norm, that can’t be found anywhere else.