Dying to escape the heat of Singapore? Here are seven ways you can enjoy the adventure of a lifetime this winter
Some might say winter is the time to curl up in thick blankets with a hot cup of chocolate, but we beg to differ. There’s nothing more exhilarating than putting yourself out of the comfort zone. Whether it’s heliskiing, dog sledding or cruising beyond the Antarctic Circle, get yourself out there and go on an adventure.
National Geographic Expeditions takes you on a hiking and snowshoeing adventure
Best for: The nature lover
Price: From US$7,995 (S$12,689) for seven nights
What about: How does an eight-day expedition through Iceland with National Geographic sound? Iceland, the land where fire meets ice, is home to some of the world’s magnificent sights. Together with National Geographic Adventure Guide Sölvi Úlfsson, trek or snowshoe through the mystical terrains of Iceland and witness Snæfellsnes Peninsula’s lava fields, Dettifoss Falls (Europe’s most magnificent waterfall) and lava formations of Lake Myvatn. And if you’re lucky, you’ll also get to witness the Northern Lights, which you can enjoy from the comfort of Hotel Húsafell.
Robb tip: Skip the down jacket for a lightweight, insulated puffy jacket or a high-loft fleece jacket. Down is useless when you perspire, unlike the latter, which will dry quickly and keep you warm no matter what.
Try your hand at some yacht-based heliskiing
Best for: The thrillseeker
What about: This could well be the skiing holiday to end all skiing holidays. Elemental Adventure, an expert in heliskiing since 1999, invites you to explore the world’s best off-trail ski slopes from the comfort of your own luxury yacht (you can charter through them, too). With their help and team of experienced guides and pilots, you will be able to organise your own heliski adventure to places like the Antarctica, West Greenland and Patagonia.
Robb tip: Book as early as six months in advance to maximise your options. The season for places like Greenland, Alaska and Iceland run as short as mid-February to early June.
Make a run for the world’s coolest marathon
Best for: The brave and crazy
Where: The North Pole
Price: From €15,900 (S$24,011)
What about: Running a marathon in sublime weather can be excruciating, but imagine running in the freezing temperatures of the North Pole. Definitely curated for the fit and the brave, the FWD North Pole Marathon is the running experience of a lifetime. If you’re looking to push your physical boundaries or want a kick-ass marathon story, this one’s for you. Join race director Richard Donovan, the first to complete the North Pole and South Pole runs, for a run of your life.
Robb tip: Feeling charitable? Use this opportunity to raise funds for an organisation you care about. Many previous entrants have raised millions, and maybe you can follow suit.
Head to Chamonix for paragliding and speed riding
Best for: Those with a need for speed
What about: Nestled at the base of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is as enjoyable in the winter as it is the summer. Great for skiing, Chamonix also offers a variety of other activities to do. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Chamonix Valley by paragliding through, climb a mountain or give speed riding a shot. The latter’s a blend of paragliding and skiing, which allows you to soar through the snowy hills at immense speeds.
Robb tip: Ascend the 2086-m high Mont Aiguille for the most spectacular views and delicious fruit tarts by Refuge du Plan de L’aiguille, a sustainable bed and breakfast that offers pet-friendly accommodation. Do also make plans to stay at La Ferme Du Bois, an old farmhouse restored in luxury and style.
Fjällräven Polar: Be the first Singaporean to cross 300km of Arctic wilderness on a dog sled
Best for: Those who love dogs and the great outdoors
Where: Norway and Sweden
What about: A true testament of stamina, willpower and fortitude, the Fjällräven Polar expedition is for those who want to test their limits in the sub-zero terrains of Northern Scandinavia. Inspired by Iditarod, the world’s most difficult dog sledding competition, this expedition is the Swedish equivalent, but for ordinary people. You’ll sled through blizzards and 300km of arctic wilderness, and with the aid of over 200 highly skilled sled dogs at your service.
Robb tip: The expedition is free with everything provided for, but it comes with a catch. Only a handful of people will get to go, and you will have to earn it. Tell the world about yourself via video and photos, and spread the word across social media. Get creative, and the entry with the most votes (per region) is guaranteed a spot. Applications end on 12 December 2019.
Atlas Obscura invites you to photograph Chernobyl in the winter
Best for: The history buff and photography enthusiast
Price: From US$3,920 (S$5,351) for eight nights
What about: If you have an eye for photography, this is for you. The Atlas Obscura Photographing Chernobyl in Winter tour will take you on a journey to the lesser-known photographic spots in Kyiv. From Soviet architectural relics and underground network of Tsarist-era tunnels to the Chernobyl exclusion zone and Ukrainians testing their limits in frozen lakes (all part of their religious holiday, Epiphany), there’s no limit to “capturing the moment”. Get your trusty camera and capture the beauty of Ukraine through the lenses of Atlas Obscura.
Robb tip: Don’t hop on this trip expecting five-star accommodation, especially in Chernobyl, but you can look forward to having the essentials covered. You’ll be guaranteed good food, warmth, wifi and a chance to return with a good story to tell.
Explore Beyond the Polar Circle
Best for: The explorer who wants to take it easy
Where: Ushuaia, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula
What about: Wish to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat beyond the Antarctic Circle? This 15 January 2020, join a group of like-minded individuals and naturalist guides – including Robert Hernandez, an experienced biologist from the National Geographic Society – on a leisurely cruise expedition that forays into the northern realms of our world. Starting from Ushuaia, Argentina, where you can enjoy some sailing, skiing and kayaking first, the cruise will take you to stunning Falkland Islands, emerald bays of South Georgia and beyond the Antarctic Circle. Keep your eyes peeled for diverse wildlife such as rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatrosses and elephant seals.
Robb tip: All activities may be light, but travellers should be in good health and comfortable walking for extended periods of time.
Winter Wonderland in Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Best for: Those who want the best of both worlds
What about: Emirates One&Only Wolgen Valley has a myriad of winter time activities for you to choose from. This luxury villa boasts amenities like a private shimmering pool, gourmet meals and signature spa treatments, ergo, we totally understand if you want to stay in the luxurious comfort of your villa. However, if you choose to leave your paradise and step into the cascading snow, you can look forward to outdoor activities such as after dark nocturnal adventures, horseback riding and star gazing. Whether you want to curl up near the fire or embark on a wild life adventure, you can count on Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley to make your wintry escape a memorable one.