3 Winter Sports You've Never Heard of But Will Want to Try
What is it about the cold that gets our InsureMore winter sports travel insurance specialists so excited? Perhaps it’s the prospect of all the winter sports insurance they get to sell, but mainly it’s because they’re all winter sports aficionados themselves. Between them they’ve tried pretty much everything – even, it turns out, these three cold weather sports you’ve probably never heard of…
Sometimes the oldies are the goodies! The ancient art of skijoring dates hundreds of years (it’s believed to have originated in Scandinavia), and was developed as a way for people to get around during winter. In simple terms, the idea is to strap on a pair of skis and leash yourself to the nearest moving object and “mush’! Traditionally, skiers were pulled along behind dogs or horses, but nowadays the sport is experiencing a revival and there are competitions held all over the world that also use motor vehicles.
While one of the prerequisites of ice diving might seem to be a touch of insanity, for a properly trained diver (and you must be) with the right equipment (including a dry suit and specialised facial mask) it’s been acclaimed as one of the most exhilarating and adventurous experiences on Earth. Divers don a special harness beneath their suits and plunge in through a single entry/exit point cut in the ice, tethered to a central line. Beneath the icy Arctic landscape is a fascinating and breathtakingly beautiful sub-aquatic world, revealed to but a few brave (and slightly crazy) souls. Ice diving is not without its risks, however, so if you plan to take on the challenge, you must ensure your travel cover will appropriately cover you for this kind of extreme activity.
Never mind the fun you’re used to having on two legs, snow polo is the most winter fun you can have on four legs. Modelled along the lines of regular polo, the main difference is, of course, the surface – which is made of hard-packed snow – and the size and colour of the ball – it’s bigger and bright red, for obvious reasons. The horses are fitted with special snow polo shoes to provide supersonic traction on the slippery arena surface. Snow polo is fast and furious, but loads of fun. Channel your favourite prince and saddle up in the snow!
Just because you haven’t heard of these three winter sports doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them. As long as you get proper training (in the case of ice diving) and protect yourself with a comprehensive winter sports travel insurance policy, your next winter adventure awaits!
High Tech Ski Gadgets You'll Wonder How You Did Without
As well as selling the best winter sports travel insurance, here at InsureMore we like to keep abreast of technology and the latest gadgets. Many of our travel protection experts are avid skiers themselves, so they’re in the know when it comes to what’s heating up the pistes. Apparently, these three gadgets are doing just that right now.
Oakley Airwave Goggles
This is the ultimate ski gadget for the techno geek ski freak. Ok, they might look like a pretty cool set of ski goggles, but put them on your head and you’ll truly be master of your own domain – at least on the ski slopes. Using cutting-edge technology, the goggles are equipped with features like inbuilt sensors to give you instant access to information for jumps (height, distance, speed and vertical data); GPS tracking to find your friends and scope out the next trail; and give you full control of your music – all without touching a thing. Imagine Google Glass for the winter sports brigade. Do you need them? Doubtful. Do you want them? Definitely. Just make sure you cover them under your winter sports travel insurance – they don’t come cheap.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a James Bond? Then the Suunto Ambit is the watch you’ve been waiting for. As well as looking sinister enough to gain some serious slope cred, this watch is the most innovative piece of equipment since the shoe phone. It can measure your elevation, track your speed and has an inbuilt GPS to get you to where you’re going or get you out of a tight spot. And it’s all wrapped up in a slick black shiny exterior – a perfect match for a tuxedo.
When you wipe out in the powder, sometimes it can be impossible to find an errant ski or two. This device screws on to your skis and you’ll never have the problem again. The waterproof and shockproof trackers use RF technology to talk to the credit card sized receiver, which can detect tagged skis up to 30 metres away to a depth of 1 metre.
All these gadgets can make your winter holiday even more enjoyable – and let’s face it, they’ll certainly make you look the part! Just remember, any gadgets and gizmos you take with you will need to be covered under your winter sports insurance cover, so make sure you get the appropriate policy.
Best 3 Apps to Keep Your Winter Break On Piste
While you can rely on InsureMore’s winter sports insurance to cover you financially in case of any unforeseen events, there are things it can’t do: like find your friends, measure the incline of a ski slope, or predict an avalanche. However, our winter sports travel insurance experts know a few apps that can do just that. And here they are.
Find My Friends
When you’re out there with the powder in your face and the mountain air in your lungs, it’s easy to get carried away in a 007 James Bond fantasy and lose track of your friends. Find My Friends uses GPS tracking to pin point exactly where everyone is, and the maps are extremely easy to read, unlike some apps. Of course, this is assuming you actually have friends – if not, this isn’t the app for you. Sorry. There are others for that…
Now, we’re not suggesting you’d be one to brag about your skiing abilities. But just say you DID want to record your progress for posterity, this app can help. It will record your speed, distance, descent and times and produce your average results for the day, the week or the entire season. You don’t even have to wait until drinks time to share, as you can upload directly to Twitter, Facebook or join the dedicated Ski Pursuit online community.
Mammut Safety App
Skiing always presents a certain amount of risk (which is why it’s essential to get covered with winter sports travel insurance), and extreme powder or off-piste trails even more so. The Mammut Safety App is invaluable for predicting the risk factors of conditions on a particular day by measuring slope angle and exposure, as well having an SOS button feature that sends your location coordinates in case you get lost. It also has links to real time avalanche information all over the world.
So, before you set off on your winter holiday, now you know what you have to do: cover yourself with our winter sports insurance and download these handy apps to keep your holiday on the right piste.
Essential Gear for a Winter Sports Holiday
While the thought of winter sends a chill through the hearts of most people, at InsureMore our winter sports travel insurance team are never happier than when the days draw in and their thoughts turn to… winter sports insurance! Oh, and skiing! In between coming up with our brilliant comprehensive packages, they like to research the latest gear available to get them (and you) out on the slopes in style.
The Perfect Ski Jacket
A good quality jacket is your most important piece of kit – now’s not the time to go looking for dodgy market bargains. You’ll be in your jacket all day, and as well as core warmth you need to consider movement and, yes, we’ll say it, fashion. Here are the words you need to look for: lightweight; waterproof; insulated; breathable. As the Armani of ski gear, Helly Hansen’s Enigma jacket is the bees knees of jackets: it’s got all those buzzwords covered along with extras like a built in transmitter to help rescuers locate you in an emergency.
High Tech Gloves
Unless you want to be calling us to use your winter sport insurance to cover a touch of frostbite, you’re going to need some decent gloves – and by that we mean the very best you can afford. Look for gloves that fit snugly under the cuff of your jacket, with fixed breathable inserts to repel sweat away from your hands. One of the best models on the market at the moment comes from Bern Tyler. Their Tyler Rawhide not only has slick good looks, it is also extremely functional, with removable wrist plates, dorsal wrist guards and even a velvety soft nubuck panel to mop a sweaty brow.
The Perfect Helmet (With Tunes!)
Nowadays, mobile entertainment can be classed as an essential. But when you’re skiing, a helmet is far more important than staying connected to your tunes as you hurtle down the slopes. So we’ve found the answer to both. The PR Tec Audio Force is a good-looking helmet with plenty of slope appeal. Not only does it offer superb protection, it’s heated and has inbuilt headphones compatible with most MP3 players. Triple threat!
If you pay attention to these three essentials, the rest of your winter holiday will fall into place. There’s a time to save money (like with InsureMore’s winter sports insurance), but purchasing ski gear is not that time.
Europe's Most Exclusive Winter Resorts
When it comes to winter sports insurance, Insuremore has you covered. But we’re not all about business, and our experts enjoy sharing more than simply their astounding knowledge of winter sports cover. They know the winter sports scene well, and while this list of Europe’s most exclusive winter resorts won’t be for everyone, it doesn’t hurt to do a little daydreaming…
The winter playground of British royalty, the name Klosters has traditionally been spoken in hushed tones in high society circles. However, over the past couple of years the celebrity crowd seems to be losing its credentials a little, and amidst revered names like Rothschild and Wales, a Price, a Cowell and a couple of Beckhams are beginning to slip in. Regardless of the clientele, Klosters offers superb pistes, jaw dropping Swiss mountain scenery and sumptuous accommodation. If you really want to live it up, get yourself some winter sports insurance, book a week in a suite at the Walserhof Hotel (Prince Charles and Camilla’s favourite) and blow a couple of months’ salary in one glorious go.
Courcheval 1850, France
Courcheval 1850 has the reputation for being popular with not only the famous (think Beyonce and several Formula One drivers) but also the nouveau rich Russian set – which makes for some very interesting fashions on the piste! To set the scene in context, nine of France’s fifty five-star hotels are located here. While the Courcheval resort includes three other villages (1300, 1550 and 1650), it’s 1850 that steals the limelight, with three Michelin starred restaurants and over 100 luxury boutiques – including a host of diamond dealers. The skiing is fabulous (in case you’re interested) and it’s possible to buy an inclusive ski pass to open up the entire Three Valleys for your skiing pleasure.
St Moritz, Switzerland
Old money, A-list celebrities and Russian oligarchs rub mink draped shoulders in St Moritz – and as long as you’re filthy rich you’re welcome. It’s a shame the resort is more renowned for its clientele than for its skiing, because the high altitude and picturesque lake setting make it an incredibly attractive proposition – including for glacier and heli-skiing. While conditions are excellent (it is Switzerland’s sunniest location), it must be said that St Moritz is definitely for the more experienced skier – with over 70% of its runs classed as advanced. (So make sure you have that winter sports travel insurance in place!) Still, you can always shop…
So there you have it. Europe’s most exclusive winter resorts – but be warned, you probably won’t find them on lastminute.com