What to do during your ski holiday if you do not ski? Here we tell you 10 funny and adventurous activities you can do on our mountains!
Fairy-tale landscapes dominated by the silent whiteness of nature certainly need no introduction. The finest Hollywood movies have accustomed us to the glamour of the ski week on our snowy peaks. If you don't ski, however, what to do in the mountains during winter?
In this article, we take you through the most beautiful activities and sports that can be done in the mountains even without having to wear skis!
10 ideas to enjoy the mountains without skiing
The combination of mountains and skiing is etched in the minds of many. Not all of us, however, know or have the desire to engage in this sport.
If, however, your goal is a relaxing yet active vacation that allows you to enjoy the wonders of nature to the fullest, here are some activities to experience the best of our incredible mountains.
10. Have you ever heard about Bushcraft on the snow?
Among the winter activities other than skiing, let's start with one of the wildest you can do.
Bushcraft involves living a real adventure in the woods where, thanks to knowledge of the natural world, you will be able to build a shelter, find water, build a fire safely or even recognize edible plant species. In short, a totally immersive experience that aims to reconnect humans with nature in a peaceful way. This is not an extreme moment: in fact, the environment is known and one can return to the base at any time.
Certainly doing bushcraft with snow is even wilder: one of the best known places to practice it is certainly the Asiago Plateau in Veneto. There are no major altitudes, but the expanses of forest are unparalleled.
9. Horseback riding on the snow: a great activity for non-skiers
Among the things to do in the mountains when you don't ski, this certainly stands out. If you like the idea of being on the back of a horse or if you already practice horseback riding, an interesting idea is just to practice it in the snow.
Horseback riding in the snow is an experience that has no major constraints and can be practiced even by children.
There are numerous places in Italy that offer it, and the great locations offered by Trentino Alto Adige show great examples. From the Fassa Valley to Alta Badia to the Stelvio National Park, there are many opportunities indeed.
8. Fat bike: the magic experience of cycling on the snow
What is a fat bike? It is a bike specially designed to tackle different types of terrain, including muddy, sandy or, even, snow-covered terrain.
Since they were invented in the late 1990s in Alaska, "fat bikes" have experienced tremendous popularity, especially in recent years, becoming a symbol at industry events and fairs.
In Italy, many places offer fat bike tours in the snow. Sometimes, you can choose to ride at sunset or moonlight for an even more intense experience.
Where to go. From Val di Feres at the foot of Mont Blanc in Val d'Aosta, to Livigno in Lombardy. But also Folgaria and Luserna in Trentino, the Cansiglio in Veneto, Mount Amiata in Tuscany and the Gran Sasso in Abruzzo.
7. If you do not ski, why don't you try snow kite
An adrenaline-pumping activity, to say the least, is snow kiting. A sport initially practiced by only a few, it has gradually become more and more popular, without detracting from the intensity of the excitement that comes with practicing it. All it takes is a snowboard, or even the same skis, and a kite to take advantage of the winds at higher altitudes.
Easier on flat expanses, the best kiters even manage to climb slopes with gradients of up to 30 percent.
Here, too, there is no shortage of alternatives in Italy. First and foremost is Cortina d'Ampezzo, where the Cortina Snowkite Contest, the first international event dedicated to snowkiting in Italy, has been organized every year since 2008. Other places to enjoy the experience range from Roccaraso and Campo Imperatore in Abruzzo to Colle della Maddalena in Piedmont (the latter also for beginners). But also Madesimo in Lombardy on the icy waters of Lake Bianco, Passo Resia in Trentino and La Thuile in Val d'Aosta.
6. One of the best activities other than skiing: some relaxation at the SPA
While for many the idea of the mountains in winter can be summed up as a nice ski week hitting the slopes, for just as many it is the quintessence of relaxation. A time to devote only to themselves and their well-being.
In Italy we have SPA parks and hotels with SPAs that can offer the very best to one's wellness experience on the snow. Indoor and outdoor pools, perhaps with views of snow-capped mountains and glaciers, Finnish saunas, Turkish baths...
In this regard, our list of places perfect for a week or just a weekend of wellness cannot be exhaustive. However, we can give you some suggestions: from Bormio in Lombardy to Merano in Trentino Alto Adige and Prè Saint Didier in Valle d'Aosta.
Discover here the largest Spa center of the Alps!❯
5. Instead of skiing, some Trekking with Gaiters and Crampons
If you don't ski, that doesn't mean that in the mountains you can't find the right way to enjoy the snow. When the first snowflakes come down and the Italian valleys and mountains begin to turn white, the time is ripe to get out (or rent) gaiters or crampons. And so, even if you don't ski, you can experience a truly magical and rejuvenating time wrapped in the peace and quiet of the mountains.
Here, too, there is certainly no shortage of places to practice snow trekking safely. From Mont Blanc (Aosta Valley) to Val di Sole (Trentino), from Alta Pusteria to Val di Siusi (both in Trentino), from Laghi Fusine (Friuli) to Laceno Lake (Campania). And, under the snow, why not think about a volcano? Perhaps this is the perfect time to explore snow-capped Mount Etna.
4. Like in a fairytale: skating on a iced lake
Ice skating is one of the experiences that allows one to get away from the world. The lightness of one's steps, the fast pacing on the smooth, cold surface of the ice. It almost seems as if it is all the result of enchanting magic.
Although it is possible to skate inside ice stadiums, there are places in Italy where the layer of ice covering Alpine lakes is so thick that it is not only possible to walk on them, but even to skate on them.
The most beautiful lakes are certainly in Trentino Alto Adige: Braies, Lagolo, Santa Colomba... There are also some in Val d'Aosta, Lombardy and Piedmont. All that remains is to hope that, despite climate change, we can continue to enjoy this heavenly experience in the upcoming years.
3. Sleeping inside an igloo? The ultimate experience for your ski holidays if you don't ski
When people think of igloos, they do not normally think of an experience that can be lived in Italy as well. Instead, it is entirely possible.
There are real ice igloos, but also those built of glass, where you can admire the starry sky. It is not even necessary to describe in words the beauty of falling asleep in total silence while the sky is tinged with the most diverse shades of blue and azure. And what about the sunrise?
The experience of sleeping in an igloo is feasible in different parts of Italy: in the Dolomites, from Cortina to Misurina, but also in Trentino and Piancavallo in Friuli.
2. Sleddog: instead of skiing, why not ride in a husky sleigh?
What about the thrill of going through trails, forests and valleys in a sled pulled by the most beautiful Nordic dogs running in their natural environment?
The experience is nothing short of indescribable, in direct contact with nature and its spectacular beauty.
You can experience this thrill in so many places in Italy: in Valtellina (Lombardy), in Val Gardena and Val Badia (Trentino), but also in Val Camonica (Lombardy) and in Sestriere (Piedmont).
1. And finally, let's go in the deep snow with snowshoes
When the snow is not yet frozen, but soft and fresh, it is the right time to take snowshoes and immerse yourself in the peace of mountain trails.
This activity is feasible even without much technical preparation: the so-called "snowshoes," in fact, make the path on the snow much smoother and allow you not to sink at every step. In any case, for beginners, it is always advisable to start with a guided hike, to become familiar with these tools and the terrain.
Where to go. To be honest, even here our list cannot really be exhaustive, because the opportunities in Italy are really numbered by the dozens. In La Thuile and the Conca di Pila in Val d'Aosta, in the Natural Park of the Brenta Dolomites, in Val di Non, but also Mount Cusna in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and in the Gran Sasso National Park.
What other activities rather than skiing would you do during your ski holidays?
Exploring the mountains in winter is an experience that provides great excitement, even when not skiing.
Visiting the Alps mountains, from the Alps to the Apennines, it is possible to encounter an enchanted world that awakens with snow. More lively villages and towns, places to appreciate good food and warm drinks, artisan markets, but also train routes that look at the most beautiful mountain views in Europe.
In short, all that's left to do is to book your own ski week and let the excitement wash over you. Even without skiing!