The Winter Olympics are just around the corner and hosted by our neighbors to the north, it welcomes the world’s best athletes—and arguably some of the most extreme—for a range of high-intensity activities. Though Oregon isn’t known for its luge parks or curling ice rings, the state boasts its fair share of outrageous winter sports.
Snow Kiting is a hybrid of kiteboarding, where skiers and snowboarders alike use large inflatable kites to pull them along the mountain. ‘Kiters’ are attached by a harness and with wind gusts up to 20 mph, these riders spend ample time in the air. Central Oregon‘s Ball Butte has become a popular place for snow kiting over the last decade because of its wide and unobstructed landscape.
Winter Kayaking in Oregon is not for the faint of heart, but rather for those seeking an intense and fast-paced aquatic adventure in near-freezing waters. Just like skiing, winter kayakers are outfitted head-to-toe in hats, gloves, thick dry suits and booties to weather the sub 50-degree water temperatures. Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe hosts year-round lessons on Portland’s Clackamas River and Hood River’s White Salmon River.
Portland’s Worst Day of the Year Ride, ironically happening this year on February 14, is an 18-mile trek around the city. It attracts more than 3,000 participants with promises of donuts and hot cocoa at various checkpoints.
In a state known for its biking advocacy, it’s no surprise that Ski Biking is the latest craze to hit the mountains. Just like the name implies, a ski bike is a bike-like device with skis instead of wheels. Test one out at Mt. Hood SkiBowl, where they offer full and half-day rentals.