Allianz Your Cover looks at the top winter outdoor pursuits, and how to insure yourself.
If you’re a lover of the outdoors, the cold weather does not mean shrouding yourself in clothes and hibernating somewhere indoors: it means a change of activity, and the advent of your exciting winter sport season.
With global warming causing some unpredictable changes in the weather in recent years, which have seen extremely snowy and icy winters give way to very mild ones, like this year, certain winter sports mean travelling to somewhere dependably cold for the most action.
However, whether you’re a keen winter walker or a globe-trotting skier, keeping track of your precious sports items and expensive equipment is important, especially with the freeze-thaw and cracking potentials caused by winter weather.
At Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk), you can add Sports Equipment insurance to your current policy at any time.
So, with your best bits of scuba, ski and hiking equipment well insured, here are our top five sports for the cold weather months:
1. Skiing and snowboarding
The world’s favourite winter sport involves planks under your feet and a lot of snow.
Skiing, and its cooler, surf-inspired cousin, snowboarding, remains one of world tourism’s biggest consistent earners, from the Alps in Europe, to Canada, to New Zealand and even Japan.
Britons have a history of skiing in the Alps - including a centenary recently celebrated in Switzerland’s Murren, as the Guardian reports.
2. Ice skating
A prettier and less expensive pursuit than skiing – and one that can be enjoyed all year round, in the UK’s indoor rinks.
Outdoor rinks in London and other city centres like Manchester, Nottingham and Cardiff are great places for some fun, skating to music and enjoying the festivities - but if you want to take it seriously get some practice at an indoor rink on a weekday.
3. Hiking and rambling
Poles, and thick outerwear, including great boots and a good emergency pack, are the main necessities for this winter favourite.
Many part-timers shy away from hiking in the winter, but especially in the Scottish Highlands, and across the sea in cooler Scandinavian climates, it can be absolutely stunning.
4. Ice hockey
Bit of an American one, but most major UK cities with an ice rink also have an ice hockey team: you can usually sign up for practice or kids’ classes during weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. Keep an eye out for little leagues and games.
Indoor or outdoor, winter climbing can be amazing either in the extreme terrains of the mountains (anywhere you can ski, if you go high enough, you can climb too - strictly for the real experts) or in lower-lying areas.
Try to pick a day that’s dry and make sure you check all your safety equipment, carabinas and ropes before leaving.