When it's too chilly to get out of bed and getting dark at 4 pm, there's little motivation in winter to do anything but hibernate. Never fear adventure enthusiasts, there are still plenty of winter activities that will keep your pulse racing and get you excited about the possibility of the wind whipping through your hair. Or at least give you something to daydream about in the office.
Like the exhilaration of backcountry skiing and the remoteness of no lift lines? Get dropped off at the top of the mountain by helicopter. Gaining popularity with adrenaline junkies around the world, British Colombia is the most popular location to partake in this death defying act with 90% of the heli-skiing marketshare. Make sure you do your research before you go though as etiquette is different around the world. The U.S. and Canada treat heli-skiing like a ski lift, picking you up and dropping you off repeatedly on the best snow for 5-12 runs, but in Europe it's more like a taxi, once you're out you're on your own for the day so bundle up and grab a map in order to make it back to civilization.
Ever heard of the polar bear club? Now's your change to live it by plunging into the icy waters of Antarctica. Don a wet suit or dry suit and take a shallow dive down (just 30 feet) under the ice floes to experience interesting marine life such as kelp walls, sea snails, crabs, sea butterflies, ice fish, shrubby horsetails, jelly fish, sea hedgehogs, starfish, and even seals and penguins.
A newer winter adventure sport to come about is kite skiing, which can be done on water, land or ice, but is easier to learn on snow than water. Foil kites are the most common to use, as they won't get crushed upon impact. Popular on the many frozen lakes and fields in the US Midwest and East Coast, the sport first gained popularity in Erie, Pennsylvania in the '80s.
Get a taste of Eskimo living by building your own igloo. Both an art and a science, construct your home for the night with blocks of snow in jenga style succession. Lapland Igloo Village in Sweden boasts snow igloos, 20 glass igloos, an ice bar, an ice gallery, ice chapel and the world's largest snow restaurant to get your freeze on.
Strap on the bindings and float across the snowy landscapes by snowshoeing some of the most beautiful trails and mountains in the world. Gorgeous Patagonia offers the ability to traverse it's terrain via snowshoe. Other popular areas are around ski and backcountry areas. Hokkaido, Japan offers snowshoeing out to frozen waterfalls to enjoy legendary hot springs.
An exhilarating scaling of ice walls, grab your crampons, don an ice pick and get your adrenaline pumping. Iceland is a great landscape for winter adventure as the white snow capped mountains mix with the black ash of the volcanoes. Alaska is also a popular place for glacier tours.