What motivates you to take a vacation? Is it discovering a certain country or having a specific experience? Do you travel to connect with loved ones? Or do you perhaps travel to get the most out of your time off work?
Whatever your reasons might be, here on The Travel Tester one of our biggest motto’s is “Try Something New“.
We believe that on any trip you take, you have the opportunity to explore an abundance of new activities that can enrich your life in some way or another.
They can be experiences unique to a certain destination or climate, they can be interactive like classes, workshops or tours and they can even be done by simply standing in nature and admire the world around you.
Coming from The Netherlands (read: the flattest a country pretty much can get), we’re always a bit jealous of countries covered in amazing mountain ranges. There are so many things to explore in these destinations that we just can’t do back home. Especially in winter, when the mountains are covered in thick snow, a whole new world can open up in terms of activities and events you can participate in.
In the last years, we’ve been fortunate enough to experience a few memorable winter mountain activities in Canada, Finland and Austria, but as it often goes with travels: our hunger to explore more has only grown.
That is why today, as part of the “This Is What Epic Looks Like” campaign, we’d love to take you on Bucket List-filled fun ride along 35 of the top mountain experience you can have. Which one are you keen to explore?
What we'll cover in this article
- 30 WINTER BUCKET LIST MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCES
- 01. Learn How To Ski
- 02. Learn How To Snowboard
- 03. Go Ice-skating
- 04. Take A Scenic Gondola Ride
- 05. Make A Snow Angel
- 06. Stand On The Top Of A Mountain
- 07. Go Snow Tubing
- 08. Go Horseback Riding Through The Snow
- 09. Go Snow Shoeing
- 10. Go Cross-country Skiing
- 11. Participate In A Local Mountain Event
- 12. Dine On A Mountain
- 13. Relax In The Spa
- 14. Party During An Après Ski
- 15. Try Ice Climbing
- 16. Go Stargazing
- 17. Go Speed Gliding
- 18. Sleep In A Mountain Cabin
- 19. Go Ice-Fishing
- 20. Ride A Snowmobile
- 21. Learn About Mountain Nature & Wildlife
- 22. Go Shopping In A Mountain Village
- 23. Sunbathe On Top of A Mountain
- 24. See The Sun Set On A Mountain
- 25. Explore The Area With A Ranger
- 26. Go Night-Skiing
- 27. Experience Cat-Skiing
- 28. Ride A Horse-drawn Sleigh
- 29. Join A Yoga Class
- 30. Build A Snow Man
30 WINTER BUCKET LIST MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCES
01. Learn How To Ski
One of the first things you probably think about when it comes to winter activities in the mountains is skiing! I learned to ski only a few years ago in Austria and we’re going back again next year and I love it! After a few lessons you’re able to make your way around the beginner slopes and being able to enjoy some of the views along the way is just incredible.
02. Learn How To Snowboard
Snowboarding is another obvious thing to learn when in the snowy mountains, and I had some lessons in Canada a couple of years ago. While I didn’t feel comfortable going onto the slopes, I definitely enjoyed the lessons and would love to try again! Would you choose skiing or snowboarding?
03. Go Ice-skating
One thing we did learn from a small age in The Netherlands, was ice-skating and it’s still one of my favourite winter sports! From figure skating to ice hockey and long-distance skating, there is a lot your can experience… you just have to make sure you’ll find your balance first!
04. Take A Scenic Gondola Ride
You don’t have to go skiing or snowboarding to be able to enjoy the view from the slopes. Simply get into the gondola and be amazed from the views you’ll see from high above.
05. Make A Snow Angel
Do I need to say anything else? Best feeling in the world!
06. Stand On The Top Of A Mountain
If you want to feel small and humble, try making your way to the top of a mountain (either by ski, snowbaord, snowscooter or just taking a gondola)… and look around you!
07. Go Snow Tubing
Ever want to feel young? Have a go at snow tubing! Basically, you sit down in the inner tube of a giant truck wheel (or just a floatie, like you see below) and you slide down a mountain. I did this in Canada and it was just so much fun!
08. Go Horseback Riding Through The Snow
I love horseback riding and always try to do it when I travel. Still on my personal bucket list is riding a horse through the snow!
09. Go Snow Shoeing
Another thing I tried for the first time in Canada was snow shoeing. Again, this is so much fun to do! When the snow is super heavy, you just can’t get through it with normal shoes, but it gets a lot easier with the snow shoes. You’ll be able to explore the area much easier than on skies.
10. Go Cross-country Skiing
Another thing I still like to try: cross-country skiing. It must be a great way to discover the area, but I guess it can also be quite exhausting!
11. Participate In A Local Mountain Event
Dress up warm and explore what the town of your ski resort has to offer in terms of annual or seasonal events – you’ll be amazed! From winter festivals to Christmas markets and from local music to arts & crafts, there is usually so much to discover.
12. Dine On A Mountain
Many ski resorts have excellent dining options and it’s a great way to taste some of the local dishes, or try some of the local drinks.
13. Relax In The Spa
After a day getting active outdoors, I’m sure you can use a bit of relaxation. Many ski resorts and towns offer spa options and you can choose from a variety of treatments to make you feel refreshed even more.
14. Party During An Après Ski
Even if you’re not such a party person, experiencing an après ski is definitely something for your bucket list. Whether it’s enjoying a few drinks after skiing on the slopes, or going to the village to dance all night long (off course in your ski outfit!), it’s all good fun!
15. Try Ice Climbing
Ice climbing can be done on pretty much anything that is frozen, such as ice-falls, frozen waterfalls and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice. This is not something you can just go and do, but there are many companies offering lessons and guided tours to give it a go!
16. Go Stargazing
When the air is all crisp and clear at night in Winter, it’s the best time to go stargazing. Of course, being in the mountains, you’ll have less light-pollution, so expect some serious amazing starry nights!
17. Go Speed Gliding
For the more adventurous types, at some places you’ll have the chance to experience something called ‘speed gliding’ or ‘ski gliding’. In short, this is wearing a fast fabric wing (parachute) in close proximity to a steep slope, of which you can then ski. It’s a bit of a mix between paragliding, parachuting and skiing. Would you dare give this a go?
18. Sleep In A Mountain Cabin
This is definitely one of my dream winter experiences: after a long day of getting active in the snow, returning to your own mountain cabin and warm up in front of the fire. How about you? If you’re looking for some great Mountain Resorts in the USA, have a look here.
19. Go Ice-Fishing
While this activity is definitely not for everyone (I know I didn’t have the patience for it in Canada), but it’s definitely a great experience to see or do at least once in your life. Even if it’s just to watch the fishermen opening up a hole in the meters-deep ice with a massive drill!
20. Ride A Snowmobile
Ah! Another one of those experience I still love to experience so much! It must be amazing to be able to whizz through the snowy landscape in such a fast pace!
21. Learn About Mountain Nature & Wildlife
When we were in Canada, we went on a nature trail that led us to see wild deer! It was one of those amazing moments when you just can’t deny how awesome our planet is. If you get the chance, see if you can go on a nature walk around your ski resort and perhaps you’ll get to see some wildlife up close as well!
22. Go Shopping In A Mountain Village
Done with the adventure activities for the day? Then head to the village for some fun shopping! See if you can pick up some unique souvenirs like local food or crafts to take home.
23. Sunbathe On Top of A Mountain
Nope, sunbathing isn’t just a summer activity! In fact, the sun on a mountain (with all that reflecting white snow around you) is actually much stronger. So make sure to use plenty of sunscreen and don’t stay out too long, but definitely soak up some sun rays while you have the chance!
24. See The Sun Set On A Mountain
There isn’t much that’s more magical than a sun set, but seeing it on a mountain, in this surreal snowy landscape, it is definitely an experience you won’t soon forget!
25. Explore The Area With A Ranger
A lot of ski resorts these days offer much more than just the outdoor activities like skiing and snowboard that you would expect. For example, you can go on a hike or snow-shoeing trip with a ranger or firemen to learn more about the area and history of the place you’re vacationing in.
26. Go Night-Skiing
Did you know that many ski resorts and mountains offer the option to go skiing at night? Perfect if you want to do other activities during the day, or if you simply want to have a unique experience under the stars.
27. Experience Cat-Skiing
Experience What? Cat Skiing! The concept of cat skiing (or snow-cat skiing) began over 30 years ago in British Columbia, Canada, when a couple thought it was a brilliant idea to use ski hill grooming machines for giving skiers access to the back country. It’s now a popular alternative to the much more expensive heli-skiing and you’ll find it at a lot of ski resorts.
28. Ride A Horse-drawn Sleigh
I guess it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to drive around in a one horse (or two horse) open sleigh, right? If you’d like to have a relaxing tour through the area, but don’t ride horses yourself, this is a great option.
29. Join A Yoga Class
You wouldn’t expect it, but a lot of ski resorts actually offer yoga classes! Of course they’re done inside, not in the freezing cold snow, and it’s a great way of flexing your muscles before or after you hit the slopes.
30. Build A Snow Man
And finally, one of my personal favourites… Don’t we all love to build a good snow man? When was the last time you did this?
We hoped you enjoyed this round up of our favourite winter bucket list experiences. Which ones would you add to your own list?
Disclaimer: This is an article written by me on behalf of Vail Resorts. The opinions and text are 100% mine. Some of the photos are mine, but from the experience I haven’t yet tried myself, I used Royalty Free Stock images from Pixabay. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.