Get airborne and soar high above the snow.
Trying paragliding, or parapenting as it's sometimes called, gives you a unique perspective from high above your favourite slopes.
Paragliders use the thermal currents (warmer air which rises) to stay in the air for longer, so your descent can last for around 20-30 minutes. The views and tranquility when you’re in the air make it a memorable highlight to any ski holiday.
Anyone can give it a go, as tandem paragliding with fully-trained instructors is offered at many resorts. You wouldn’t be doing it solo, unless you’ve done a course of instruction to allow you to go alone. Of course, it’s not advisable in a ‘white-out’, so schools won’t fly on days when the weather is suspect.
One of the best places to try paragliding during a ski holiday is Wengen (Switzerland), with spectacular views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Jungfrau. Ski schools such as Evolution 2 offer tandem parapent in spectacular alpine environments such as Chamonix, plus Ski Club members are entitled to a 10% discount.
Snowkiting works on a similar premise to paragliding, though in recent years there have been rapid developments in the equipment used for snowkiting. While it is often done on snow-covered frozen lakes, the more extreme variant - speed riding - is done amongst high alpine terrain.
Backcountry skiers sometimes use snowkites to travel long distances, or access untouched powder outside of ski areas. You may have seen snowkites used by explorers and in crossings of large snowfields or even polar expeditions.
Snowkiting can be dangerous, and there is a steep learning curve, so it's essential that you take lessons and commit to learning the core skills if you're going to do it.
There are many popular locations for snowkiting in both Europe (including Scotland) and North America. The main requirement is an area with a consistent (but not too much) wind.
You can find some good information on snowkiter.co.uk including a kit list and links to other useful websites.