Faint Hearts BEWARE: Best Extreme Sports Travel

“Why just go when you can totally go off?” is the motto of one of our skiing reviewers. He's the kinda guy who believes activities are vastly improved by having the prefix heli added to them – most guys would be happy with a pub crawl, but he has to organise a heli-pub crawl... When he gets back from holidays he shows off scars not holiday snaps, and believes the one thing travel should give you is the feeling of being alive. So for him, and those like him, here are the best places to top up your adrenalin levels.

I'm sure Chuck Norris would agree.


Heli-ski in Nepal

I'm catching you up with the basics: heli in front of skiing is old news, involving dropping you in somewhere you couldn't normally get to with your ski gear, then letting you ski some dramatic clean countryside out.

You can do it out of the Kamchatka Resort in Siberia, over what used to be a Russian Military Zone – how cold war is that, you can do it in Turkey's remote Kackar Mountains , you can do it out of Whistler, where they're sure to adhere to stringent safety checks, so good for the meek...  

But why would you when you could heli-ski in the Himalayas: land at altitudes of up to 5,200m and ski all the way down, there's no where else in the world you can start off that high, and you're not going to be following in anyone's ski grooves out here.


Heli-biking in the Celestial Mountains 

This time heli goes in front of biking, meaning mountain biking...meaning they drop you and your bike in at the top of the mountain range and let you ride out of it. It could be considered wussy not to have to cycle up to begin with but when you get a look at these mountains you'll see that you're going to have to summit some of them on your bike, so it's hardly plain sailing/ biking.

There's nothing easy about this terrain, but you could easily be the first one to blaze the trail.


Genghis Khan Warrior Training 

Some cultures are bred tough. Ninjas, samuri, those Maasai warriors, but there's potentially no one with a tougher reputation than the Mongol hoards. So training to be one will put you into another league. That you do your training on the vast empty-of-technology steppe, will only add to the experience.

BASE jumping the Cave of Swallows 

The main similarity between BASE jumping and skydiving is that you need a parachute to land both. The main difference is that some of the places BASE jumpers really want to jump off are buildings and antennas in busy cities and that's the kind of thing that will get you arrested post landing.  We at WR don't want to get you in trouble though, and there are some great places no one, except your Mum, minds if you hurl yourself off. Lysefjord in Norway is a sound European choice and the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia is a popular, and legal spot in the US.  For added kick, the Cave of Swallows in Mexico is an almost cylindrical cave drop in the middle of the jungle – way to hurtle into dappled blackness surrounded by creatures with wings.

Shark Diving on South Africa's Western Cape 

South Africa's coast is popular with sharks. You've got your Tiger Sharks off Umkomaas and your Bull Sharks off the Protea Banks.  But if you're going to get up close and personal with a shark why bother with the gentle giants – how about getting in the water with Great White man-eaters in Gansbaai, South Africa. You're secured in a cage, like the ones on the nature programs, then its just you and them in the water. You're probably going to want a bigger boat...

Cave Diving under the Nullarbor

Diving maybe exciting for most people, but you're obviously not most people and are looking for an extra edge to make things extreme. In this case the edge is diving underground. It's dark. It's cold. You can get into a tight spot, and visibility can be almost nil. And it's actually very beautiful.

There are some beautiful cave diving spots in North America, the Mayan Riviera has those cenote holes in the jungle, and there are great sites at Florida's Telford Springs and Devil's Den. But for that extra something it's hard to beat diving under the red desert of the Nullarbor Plains where the water is so crystal clear the rocks glow orange when the sun shafts down on them.



Glacier Climbing on the Mer de Glace 

In the same way that heli and cave add drama to skiing and diving, glacier adds something to climbing. Not that rock climbing or bouldering needs that much more of an edge, but why not take it up a notch just 'cause you can! That notch would be well taken up and cut into the hard, ancient ice of the Mer de Glace, where you can do it with the hovering image of Mount Blanc over your shoulder, the ice that forms on Mount Elias, or Norway's Folgefonna Glacier, with a background of fjords.

Cross the Andes by Mule 

These days tour groups cross parts of the Sahara on camels, travel the Great Silk Road on horseback , or drive the Karakoram Highway , but crossing the Andes with a mule train still sounds pretty original, as well as sounding like a proper old fashioned adventure. Yes, people have been passing along these narrow precipitous paths for centuries but I'll bet no one you know has.


'Do Antarctica'

Antarctica is one of the world's least friendly habitats, but lets face it this isn't an easy place to get to logistically either. If you can wangle your way down here then you fully deserve the bit where you get to trek across a vast peninsular of ice, or dive beneath those same frozen leviathans.

Plan your adrenalin top up with one of WR's Extreme Sports Travel specialists.

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