Spending quality time together as a family is important — but sometimes tricky to squeeze into our busy schedules. You should consider getting involved with an extreme sport to boost health and communication while creating solid family memories!
However, how do you go about selecting the best sport? From what equipment you need and safety processes you should be aware of, to relevant trivia and a look at the origins of each sport, Chill Factore, one of the top tourist attractions in Manchester, explores the nation’s best extreme sports for families…
Also known as kite skiing, this sport is building in popularity and a great choice for winter. Generally, the snowkiting season runs from October until June, with the best time to go snowkiting being around Christmas time — ideal for a winter sun or festive family break with a difference. In snowkiting, your family will use the power of a kite to board or ski over snow. After time, you can learn to pull off big jumps and land with ease, plus you have the opportunity to snowkite over frozen lakes which offers an unforgettable experience.
Where did snowkiting come from? It’s been considered a serious sport for a few years but started as a fun activity involving foil kites (an aeroplane wing shaped cloth structure). Although the US and France are both touted as being the sport’s origin, snowkiting is now available across Europe and North America in resorts such as Tirol and Haugastøl.
Winter holidays are a great way to beat the blues. When considering snowkiting as a family, bear in mind that this is not a simple activity to master and there are risks involved — so only book a session that is designed for youngsters by a reputable company.
What to wear is definitely worth considering. Snowkiting is an intense aerobic activity and you can easily overheat, so wear layers — including a helmet and snow shoes — that you can easily remove and put back on. You’ll also need goggles and gloves to make sure your vision is not impaired, and your hands stay warm and easy to move. There are excellent kids’ snow gear available online but check with the snowkiting company first to see if you can simply hire what you need on the day.
A board or pair of skis are both fine for this activity — which would you and your kids prefer? It also might be a good idea to book your child a few extra snow lessons at a venue in the UK prior to your holiday to make sure they’re refreshed on how to hold themselves on the slopes!
Most kids love rock climbing — and adults, too. But where did it all begin? Rock climbing started to become a loved sport around the end of the 1800s, with the Lake District considered one of three, major ‘birthplaces of rock climbing’ (the others are in Italy and Germany).
Popularity grew in the 1940s and 1950s, which meant that the safety of the equipment did too — excellent news for families. From steel carabiners to nylon ropes, technology has helped to propel rock climbing into mainstream sport. Today, you can climb all over the UK — both at indoor venues and on outdoor walls — and the sport has grading system that rates the difficulty of a climb and the climber’s skill to help make the sport even safer — but still just as exciting!
Luckily, the UK is packed with certified places to rock climb. If you’re just starting out, make sure you choose an instructing company with a high customer rating — especially for safety and teaching. The Association of British Climbing Walls is a good place to start if you’re looking for a climbing wall in your area.
Rock climbing requires strength more so in your lower limbs than your upper limbs — so make sure you and the kids are prepared. Although you and your family will improve in time, it may be worth opting for a few indoor sessions until you’re all confident with the height and physical strain. Once your family feels ready and has learned a few techniques, why not book an outdoor climbing session? There are lots of packages at popular landmarks across the UK and you can even make it into a weekend away.
Another adrenaline-pumping sport, rafting requires teamwork which makes it a perfect family activity. A great way to explore British waterways and countryside, it’s no surprise that families opt for rafting experiences to enjoy quality time together.
There are lots of companies that will organise a safe and fun rafting experience for you and your family. The British Canoeing organisation — the UK’s national governing body for paddlesports — has been around since 1936, while the International Scale of River Difficulty is adopted by most nations to rate rapids to help keep rafters safe.
The River Tummel in Scotland, River Derwent in England and Tryweryn River in Wales mean that you don’t have to book flights to enjoy rafting. Sailing is a huge part of British history, but did you know that the first rubber river raft was invented nearly 200 years ago by US soldiers?
Of course, like with any extreme sport, you must prepare. What do you need to think about? Firstly, rafting isn’t without its risks, so we recommend booking with an on-board instructor. As for the kit, wear synthetic layers (e.g. long-sleeve shirts and trousers), life jacket, windproof jacket, and helmet. Renting a wetsuit might be a good idea and you’ll need to make sure you have rescue throw bags. But check that your rafting company doesn’t provide you with these before buying.
Bring your family together, learns something new and get fit with these extreme sports in 2018