Think paragliding mixed with skiing and you’re close to imagining the hottest extreme sport of the moment – speed riding! To take part in this death defying feat otherwise known as speed flying you need to get yourself over to France (if you want to experience some seriously extreme slopes), be fit, be aged between 19 and 39 and be a good skier. If you can check all of those boxes, it’s time to pack your bags and get going!
If you want to get an idea of how extreme this extreme sport really is, you should know that the world number 1 – Mathias Roten died in 2008 whilst doing it. Not that I’m trying to put you off of course, as speed riding is something you really can brag about to your mates! My love of speed riding began last winter in Wyoming.
My Speed Riding Experience
The first time I went speed riding was in Wyoming. I had planned to go skiing until I heard about the buzz of speed riding. With the highest vertical point being 1,260m high, I thought this was extreme enough to really get my adrenaline pumping! Being the sensible extreme sporter that I am (if you can call an extreme sports enthusiast sensible) I thought I’d better enlist the help of an instructor just so I knew what I was meant to be doing. On the day I got there, the temperature was about -20oc, the snow was fresh on the slopes and the weather was calm – the conditions were perfect for speed riding to take place!
I started off on the beginner piste and did fine – it was exciting but nothing like what came next! My instructor seemed to think I was a natural and so agreed to let me try the advanced slope as long as I agreed to tandem. I can’t describe the feeling that came with flying through the air, weaving through the woodland, landing on the thick snow only to rise again… and all this at speeds of around 100mph! Seriously this is not called an extreme sport for no reason at all!
There were dozens of people speed riding in Wyoming last winter and all of them were having as much fun as me! The atmosphere around the slopes just spurred me on and excited me even more! So much so that ever since I left Wyoming I have been practicing my skiing and am flying to France for the winter. I am determined to tackle some of the most awesome slopes on my own and speed ride to victory!
Winter Sports Vacations
Due to the popularity of speed riding in France (they even host open speed riding championships there!!) dozens of speed riding schools have been popping up all over the place, and with this has come loads of different types of accommodation for all different budgets! I’ve gone for the option of staying in a winter chalet, as I want somewhere cool to chill out (or rest my broken bones) after each day of speed riding.
Of course, the best thing about traveling to France to try speed riding is that the French are lovers of all things extreme. Other extreme sports like snowboarding and (normal) skiing are also available, and I plan on really making the most of my extreme sports holiday this winter! Tune in in January to see whether I broke any bones or not!