5 alternative mountain sports to try once in your life

In the mountains, nothing is more exhilarating than taking off your skis (or almost), grabbing an adrenaline sports guide, throwing caution to the wind and jumping into something new. Here’s our pick of unusual activities to explore...

Speed riding in Chamonix-Mont Blanc

We’re starting at the top with a high-speed sport that demands skill and keeping your cool. Pioneered in ski resorts in the early 2000s, Speed Riding (External link) seduces mountain adventurers with gliding and paragliding. The principle is to ski down the slopes with a sail over your head. In addition to flying over the main trails and off-piste runs, it also lets you mix up the landscapes and venture towards rocks and cliff faces, without so much as putting a foot on the ground.
Tip: Best to have decent skiing ability and an adventurous spirit!

Ice diving in Tignes

It’s a total change of scenery with this one: diving under the ice in the mountains (External link) . One place to try it is in Tignes, Savoie. This experience, to say the least, gives you a feeling of total immersion. In the frozen waters, silence is king and the light is all the more vibrant. Guided by a lifeline and accompanied by an expert, you learn to listen and grow.
Tip: Don’t skimp on mental preparation. Take the time to understand all the safety briefings to ensure you experience the dive panic-free.

Bobsleighing in La Plagne

Only in La Plagne can you enjoy a bobsleigh ride (External link) on an Olympic track. Designed specifically for the Olympics of 1992, the track has 19 turns and extends over 1,500m. As you’re naturally here to push your limits, it’s best to go directly down the Bob Racing box, in a machine approved to run at 120km/h. Sitting behind a professional driver, you’ll feel the same sensations as during a real competition. Expect speed, adrenaline and 200 bpm! Tip: Empty your mind, feel the intensity and enjoy the moment – it’s over in a flash.

Fatbiking in La Giettaz-en-Aravis

Hailing from the USA, the Fatbike (External link) , commonly known as a bodybuilt ATV, has much much wider-than-average tyres (up to 5 inches) for navigating the slopes. To better adhere to the snow, the tires are underinflated, which also prevents skidding – but you must only ride on groomed pistes. Fatbiking requires extreme concentration and lots of physical stamina – it’s imperative to learn how to handle your bike correctly.
Tip: Begin at sunset at La Giettaz-en-Aravis, once the slopes have closed to skiers.

Ziplining over Val Thorens

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For those who have ants in their pants but don’t want to push themselves too much, ziplining in the mountains is a great high-adrenaline option. And the best resort to leap into the void is undoubtedly Val Thorens. This season it opens the world’s highest zipline (External link) ! In just one minute and 45 seconds, you travel 1,300m at a speed of 100km/h, between the Bouchet chairlift at 3,230m and the top of the Thorens Funitel at 3,000m.
Tip: Open your eyes to the breathtaking views over the Maurienne and Tarentaise.