As some of you will recall, we had a fabulous time at Center Parcs earlier this year. You may think that activity holidays are best suited to the Summer months, but not only do Center Parcs offer lots of indoor activities, there is also no reason not to carry on getting your thrills in the outdoors all year round, whatever the weather. When we were there my teenager went paintballing in the snow- awesome fun! I hand you over now to a guest post featuring Center Parcs experts with their Top 5 sports to get your blood pumping this Autumn:-
Autumn is an under-appreciated season. The summer hangover kicks in, as we gear ourselves up for another long winter. But I really don’t think it has to be this way, in fact I think it should be enjoyed to its fullest. Use it as a last opportunity to flex those muscles and blow the cobwebs out of your hair. It is a perfect time of year to enjoy some extreme sports; the sweltering heat has gone but the sun still shines and the leaves turn to shades of brown and yellow. What better time to grab life by the proverbials and get your heart rate pumping? Center Parcs relish autumn breaks and know a thing or two about activity breaks as well. They have given me a list of their five favourite adrenaline-fuelled sports and have stressed that you don’t try these at home without proper training, equipment or supervision. They are:
- Mountain Biking – A fantastic sport that can be split into three main categories: cross-country, downhill and trials. All three are based on the same concept but need different skills and disciplines. Cross-country biking is the most popular form of mountain biking. An aggressive riding position is used with a high saddle and low handlebars to allow greater speeds. It differs from downhill as the latter involves a steeper gradient of the track. Downhill is often faster and the equipment necessary is more robust than cross-country. The bikes are sturdier and the rider wears full body protection as well as a helmet with a visor for the face. Trials biking is similar to motocross with a man made dirt track negotiated by a group of riders. This is a sport that is simple to get involved in; all you need is a bike, helmet and the great British outdoors.
- Water-skiing – This sport entails a skier being pulled along by a boat so that the skis attached to their feet enable them to skim along the surface of the water. It is a very modern sport, being invented by Ralph Samuelson in 1922. Since then it has branched into many different disciplines, such as slalom, jump and trick as well as barefoot. The sport only entered into the Olympics in 1972. A thrilling sport where professional riders reach speeds of up to 120mph. This thrill-seekers delight has mushroomed in popularity in the 80 years it has existed. With around 100 clubs across the UK you are never far from a taste of the extreme.
Thrill Meter: 3/5
- Wakeboarding – If water-skiing is a recent inclusion in the world of high-octane pastimes then wakeboarding is fresh from the workshop. Born in Australia during the 1980s from a mixture of surfing and water-skiing this sport offers a training ground for off-season snowboarders. A sport in its own right it has many variations. Riders can use the wake from the boat to jump off and perform tricks. Ramps can also be built into the water to use as a platform to perform huge jumps. With just a board as opposed to two skis the rider is more able to perform many tricks; these tricks more often than not find their home in the skate parks and half pipes of skateboarders.
Thrill Meter: 4/5
- Skydiving – This sport has come to the fore in the last year with a man called Felix Baumgartner performing the highest skydive ever. He jumped from 21,818m and broke three world records in the process. Not only did he jump from the greatest height ever, the balloon ride to this altitude became the highest manned balloon ride ever. He also broke the record for the highest speed in free fall ever, reaching a speed of 843.6mph. This speed meant he was the first person to break the sound barrier outside a vehicle. Whilst fascinating this isn’t the norm for skydiving. Normally the jump takes place between 1000 to 4000 metres. Hurtling at speeds of up to 200mph headfirst towards the ground, this sure isn’t for the feint-hearted. The thrill-seeker looks to free-fall for as long as possible and only open their parachute at the last possible moment. The British Parachute Association recognises 25 clubs across the UK with beginner’s tandem jumps as well as more advanced solo jumps. The skies are your oyster, get out and try it.
Thrill meter: 5/5
- Surfing – Autumn is one of the best times to go surfing; the crowds have left the beaches and the surf tends to be a bit more consistent also. In terms of all the other extreme sports I’ve picked this has to be the oldest and started off in Polynesia. First seen by the western world in the late 18th century, surfing was more than just a sport. It was a way of life and means of ordering society. The better the rider the more important they were deemed to be. It made its way to the States in 1907 and has gone from strength to strength from there. I don’t think there’s a more graceful sport to be honest the way the riders weave down the wave, followed by a ribbon of surf is spellbinding.
Thrill Meter: 4.5/5
If thrill seeking is your thing then these five sports are sure to take your fancy. Whether you find your thrills hurtling down a hill on two wheels, skimming over water on a plank of wood or simply plummeting to earth headfirst there is something here for everyone. But to simplify these sports as such is wrong, as there is so much more to them than that. They make us feel alive. They reconnect us with the world around. What better way to propel you into winter than give one of these a go? With what sport do you get your thrills? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.