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Is There a New Extreme Sport in our Midst? Meet Snow Kayaking

Snow kayaking is a relative new, niche winter sport that takes place in a kayak in snow. The wintertime alternative to kayaking down a river, this sport has all the adrenaline and excitement of more established winter sports. Let’s get into it!

Snow Kayaking

Now wait a second – snow what? Snow kayaking? You mean kayaking in the winter weather? 

Nope.

Snow kayaking is a niche winter activity that takes place in a kayak, in snow. So if you are afraid of water, or just don’t feel like getting splashed in the face while whitewater kayaking, but love going fast – snow kayaking is the wintertime activity for you. 

But…what actually is snow kayaking?

Let’s get into it.

 

What is Snow Kayaking?

Snow kayaking is a new snow sport, where kayakers take to the snow slopes with their kayaks. Usually taking place in the back country – or once in a while at ski resorts – it’s fast-paced, high adrenaline activity that offers snow sport enthusiasts a new way to experience the winter world. 

Starting at the top of a hill or slope, the goal is to race down a hill, with various twists and turns, to a finish line as fast as possible. Creek-boats or play boats are often the most popular that are used, generally down to what you already own and the style of snow kayaking you are doing, and paddles are used to help maneuver your kayak!

Snow kayaking is slowly but surely building its own following. With the first official event held in Lienz, Austria, in 2002, a local group of kayakers came together to bring kayaking to the slopes. In India, the sport is also growing, as the Winter Games Association of Jammu and Kashmir hosted a 10-day workshop at the ski resort Himalayas Gulmarg just last year. 

Check out this EPIC footage of snow kayaking, and you’ll understand why so many people are becoming enthralled with it:

 

A perfect winter alternative when rivers are frozen in colder regions, over the past decade snow kayaking has built an international community of kayakers who have organized and created snow kayaking techniques, styles, and competitions. The competitions often happen within indoor settings, to better control the variables with speed and snow. 

 

How Can You Participate? 

Want to try this nutty sport out for yourself? We get it. While you might get some people to raise an eyebrow when they see you speeding along the highway with your kayak strapped to your roof while it’s snowing, who cares what anyone else thinks! 

Snow kayaking is one of the easiest sports to learn – all you need is your kayak and hill with snow. From there, you’ll need to hike to the top with your kayak, get it, and use your paddles to guide you down on your path! At least you don’t need a life vest and can always bail if you think you are going to fast. 

You’ll want to do your research, too, and see if any nearby ski resorts allow snow kayakers. Since the sport is growing, more and more ski resorts are opening their doors to snow kayakers as well as the normal skiers and snowboarders. 

 

What About the Snow Kayaking World Championships?

If you think snow kayaking is cool, get ready for this. There are even snow kayaking World championships since 2007, which have previously been held at Snowworld Landgraaf in the Netherlands and in 2019 at the Snow Arena in Druskininkai, Lithuania in the Baltic region.

Winter sports are a large part of the Baltic States culture, and are growing each year. There are around 70 indoor snow centers across the world, and The Snow Arena is one of the most unique. With the largest indoor snow slope that continues onto an outdoor snow slope, it’s one of the best locations for snow kayaking – especially the world championships. 

The Championships held at The Snow Arena in 2019 were the biggest yet: Taking place on a dedicated 2,100 foot long slalom track prepared just for this competition, the competitors will end the race with a finish in an ice-water pool, just adding to the excitement and skills needed. 

The Championships partnered with a multi-winter-sport festival, called LTeam Olympic Winter Festival. Huge crowds come from around the world to see some of the most unique, exciting and popular winter sports in the world take place at The Snow Arena.

 

As you came to imagine, seeing kayakers in action in a river is cool….but seeing them sliding, jumping, bending at top speeds down a ski slope is freaking amazing. If you are located in the US and wondering where you can get in on the action and see it for yourself, you should know that the winter sport haven that is Colorado state also hosts and annual Snow Kayaking event, so strap on your kayak or book your plane tickets in advance to see this epic event. 

Held at Monarch Mountain Ski area during its signature “Kayaks on Snow” event, it’s free and fun for the whole family. The only place so far in the USA to host snow kayaking on an official level.  In an area that is already well-known in extreme sports for its Arkansas River adventures.

So what do you think – will snow kayaking pick up and become a staple winter sport? Would you try it out if you could? If you have use of a kayak and some open hills, why not give it a try and go WIDE OPEN?

 

Check out this short film about Snow Kayaking: 

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WFO

You’re telling me….this….is FUN?!? (via @danyonpaniora14) #bunge

WFO

It was so much fun✨😻 #SHEINcares #laketahoecalifornia #southlake