This is the perfect experience for those who love to escape from the crowd. Instead of having to navigate hundreds of tourists doing their thing on the piste, in this type of back-country skiing, a helicopter whisks you to usually inaccessible slopes of virgin powder snow.
Perhaps this high-risk activity, which is the branch of mountaineering that entails ascending inclined ice formations using crampons, a harness and ropes inter alia, is the ultimate physical and mental challenge. Hardy individuals pit their wits against icefalls, solidified waterfalls, and cliffs covered in ice. Dangers number avalanches, the biting cold, and plummeting into deep crevasses.
If you thought the only people who get to have fun in a bobsleigh are elite competitors, think again. You too can feel the exhilaration of hurtling down a narrow, embanked ice-covered slope at speeds of up to 125km/h, even on some tracks used at former Winter Olympic venues – Innsbruck-Igls, Lillehammer, Utah and Whistler, etc.
Bjørn Kaupang and other members of his team teach a variety of courses out of his family’s hotel, Haugastøl 1000m.o.h (www.haugastol.no). Prices from HK$740 per person per night in a dorm (including breakfast and dinner), or HK$950 per person per night self-catering in an apartment. A weekend snowkiting course in winter for a group of six to nine beginners with two instructors is HK$2,600 per person. Prices include accommodation and snowkiting equipment, but participants should bring their own skis and snowboards.
Gregorio Ceccoli does one (HK$900), two
(HK$1,650) and three-day courses
(HK$2,550), all of which can have a maximum of four people, from his base camp in Vetan (www.snowkitingcentre.com). It’s also possible to arrange private lessons – from
HK$450 per hour, with a two-hour minimum – and snowkiting holidays that include a stay in an affiliated hotel.