If you’ve enjoyed ski holidays in the past but are looking to up the excitement level, the new and extreme airboarding craze might be just what you’re looking for.
Invented by a Swiss snowboarder, who was recovering from a snowboarding injury but didn’t want to give up adrenaline-fuelled fun, airboards hit the market about ten years ago. But the craze has only begun to take off properly in the last five years or so, becoming particularly popular in the ski resorts of Europe and North America.
This winter sport is just like body surfing, but on snow. Practitioners are given an inflatable board with grooves on the underside and handles on the upper, which they then throw themselves down on, hurtling off downhill as fast as they can.
This may sound a little dangerous (and I would recommend making sure that your winter sports insurance is in place before trying this out), but actually the inflatable equipment makes this a ‘softer’ option than either skiing or snowboarding.
What to Expect
The first thing to know is that this activity, while relatively safe, is not for the fainthearted. You can reach speeds of about 50km/h, and learning how to turn the board by using pressure on the handles and by redistributing your body weight does take a little practice.
Of course, practitioners are given helmets to protect their heads, but stopping is as easy as digging in your feet, turning yourself 90 degrees, or simply throwing yourself into the snow.
After a short introduction by an instructor you’ll be ready to go, and then the most important thing to expect is a whole mountainside of fun!
What to Wear
This is a snow-based activity, so obviously you’re going to want warm, waterproof clothing and proper ski gloves to protect your hands. Sturdy and waterproof boots are also a must, as you’re going to be using them to help you stop in the snow.
Where to Go
This is a winter sport that’s growing in popularity – it’s being introduced to more and more resorts each year. However, since this activity still relatively new, it’s worth checking that your ski resort offers airboard rentals, instruction and proper runs.
In Europe, resorts such as Courchevel, Val Thorens, Valmorel and La Plagne all offer airboarding. Those who are really keen to try their hand at this new sport should head to La Plagne, which is the only resort with a five-kilometre route that’s dedicated exclusively to airboarding.
Be Safe, Get Covered
As with skiing or snowboarding, airboarding carries its own risks, making it vital to invest in winter sports insurance before setting off downhill. Whether it’s to cover your travels, the expensive board or a medical emergency, InsureMore’s winter sports insurance is your best bet.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family and annual travel policies including comprehensive winter sports insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.