If participating in extreme sports is what it takes to get your adrenalin going, then you’re in luck. Nowadays you can choose from a selection of wonderful locations with a host of different types of activities designed to energize and animate extreme sports enthusiasts. Here are a few of the opportunities currently available to whet your appetite.
Europe: skiing or cycling the Alps
The Haute Route passes through the snowfields of the Alps, one of Europe’s greatest mountain ranges, commencing at Chamonix in France, passing through Italy and ending at Zermatt in Switzerland. The ski version takes roughly seven days to complete, including stops along the way in Swiss Alpine Club Huts, where you can eat heartily and sleep well. Out of snow season, cyclists regard this route as a real challenge, offering as it does the steepest, highest and most famous cycling terrain across the iconic cols of Europe.
Other excellent cycling routes include mountain biking along the Hoover Dam or the Red Rock Canyon’s Mustang Trail; touring the Vienna Woods in the Austrian Alps; and Bolivia’s exhilarating 40-mile (64 km) narrow mountain bike route starting near La Paz that is sometimes dubbed ‘Death Road.’
Peru: hiking to Machu Picchu
Even if you don’t think of hiking as a sport, the prospect of climbing to the pinnacle above the Urubamba River (7,970 feet or almost 2,500 meters) to see the amazingly preserved Inca ruins is not for the faint hearted. Start your trip in Cuzco and take the time to explore the Plaza de Armas public square and the colorful local markets before traveling through the Sacred Valley on your way to the trailhead.
After an undoubtedly arduous journey, which you finish at Aguas Caliente, a small town at the base of Machu Picchu, you can plan your ascent to the ruined city. When you finally achieve your goal, you are bound to be impressed by the stunning engineering feats among the ruins, including the Inca Bridge and the Temple of the Sun.
Egypt: diving the Red Sea
For a year-round challenge, why not visit the mega salty Red Sea, where you can swim alongside stingrays and reef sharks and catch sight of fields of great quantities of marine life, sea grass and gardens of coral. There are superb diving spots, many of the best close to Cairo, particularly at Marsa Alam, as well as great opportunities to snorkel.
If sharks really catch your imagination, pack the right gear and venture out to go deep-sea diving with sharks off the coast of South Africa’s Cape Point. You can catch a two-day expedition into False Bay, which is about 30 minutes from Cape Town, anytime between November and June.
For all extreme activities, in order to ensure proper protection, support and pain relief, make sure you have included compression underwear alongside other necessary equipment and clothing, such as strong hiking boots or appropriate cycle accessories. When hiking in Peru, for example, long-sleeved nylon shirts and long pants are recommended, as well as bug spray. With the right clothing and equipment, you can enjoy your extreme sports adventure to the full, knowing that you are minimizing the risks of injury.