For a lot of us, the summer is a time when we feel more adventurous, spontaneous, and up for the next challenge.
Most extreme summer sports aren’t necessarily deadly, but they do instil a sense of danger, which provides that thrill and excitement that many of us crave! There are many opportunities in B.C. to let your wild side run free and get that heart pounding! Here are my 10 recommendations of the most extreme adventures that will give you that adrenaline rush you’ve been waiting for.
Up, up and away! Take off into the air in a light aircraft with triangular wings.
For beginners, like myself, there’s Grouse Mountain, probably one of the most gorgeous flying sites in North America. The Air Dance Hang Gliding School in Kamloops has an amazing course that teaches people about the theory of gliding, along with how to set up, secure a hang glider and launch on a training hill. Paragliding is a riff on hang gliding, except that you sit in a harness hanging from a parachute. For more experienced pilots, the three most popular and consistently flyable sites with the West Coast Soaring Club are Mount Woodside, Lower Bridal Falls, and Pemberton.
The extreme sport for thrill-seekers who have no fear of heights. You’ll freefall alongside rugged mountains that seem to stretch forever. Vancouver Skydive operates out of Pitt Meadows Municipal Airport, where your first jump is a tandem skydive with a seasoned professional.
Such a thrill ride! It’s all about strapping a kite to your board, heading out on the water and letting the wind do the rest! Vancouver Kiteboarding School in Squamish teaches both group and individual lessons from beginner to pro. Spanish Banks at Jericho or Ambleside are great spots to practice what you’ve learned, amongst spectacular mountains and cityscapes.
Not for people who fear high altitudes. Parasailing involves attaching one or two people to a parachute that’s tethered to a motorboat. Great opportunity to cruise around high above everything and really get a great bird’s eye view and see the sites. Kelowna’s Lakefront Sports Centre offers trips on Lake Okanagan.
Feel the exhilaration of leaping from a bridge high above the glacial-fed Cheakamus River. This one will get the blood rushing for sure! Whistler Bungee Jumping features a 50-meter (160 foot) drop, British Columbia’s highest year-round bungee jumping venue.
Mountain biking is a big part of outdoor recreation in B.C. You can take your bike for an exhilarating and challenging ride in almost any mountainous community. Whistler’s world class mountain bike park with 1,507 metres (5,000 ft.) of vertical and almost 300 kilometres of surrounding cross-country trails, there are endless opportunities to take your dream ride for a rip in the wilderness. For beginners, the Trek Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps offer personalized instruction, professional programming, and an incredibly skilled, enthusiastic, and supportive coaching staff.
Be sure to get a secure grip as you pit yourself against the side of a mountain or rock face. The Via Ferrata (or “Iron Way”) is a unique and exciting way to climb Whistler Mountain, using an engineered vertical pathway with metal rung ladders and fixed cables for safety. Get ready for stunning mountain views, big skies and a huge sense of achievement when you reach the top. Plus a chance to see snow in summer! The Whistler Via Ferrata tour does not require special skills or previous mountaineering experience however a moderate-high level of fitness is recommended.
So much fun! All-terrain vehicles (ATV) allow you the experience of taking on some of B.C.’s toughest trails. The Sand Creek trail near Fernie is a 71-kilometre ride with an elevation of almost 2,000 metres, with lookouts over Kootenay Lake and Tie Lake.
Want to feel like one of the early pioneers? You can find horseback riding expeditions all over B.C. that will challenge you to tough it out and rough it like a cattle rancher. Bring your beef jerky! Chezacut Wilderness and Ranch Adventures offers packages where you can herd cattle through B.C.’s Chilcotin region and camp out in the wild. There are also many ranches in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and Mission B.C. to saddle up for a trail ride such as Leghorn Ranch, MeadowRidge Stables and Mustang Riding Stables.
Not for the faint of heart! Challenge yourself to a river’s mercy with a whitewater rafting trip. This activity requires strategic navigation of a river’s current since one wrong move can send you flying out of your boat.
The Kicking Horse River in Golden B.C. is one of the wildest and most intense recreational waterways in Canada and will get your adrenaline pumping. The middle and lower canyon are dominated by class 3 and 4 rapids with names like ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Roller Coaster,’ which hint at the thrills to come on your raft trip.
For a more relaxing experience, sit back and enjoy the breathtaking scenery through the Rocky Mountains during a gentle float on the upper canyon. Chilliwack River Rafting also takes rafters on both day and overnight trips for experienced and first time rafters from their riverside resort.
Header image courtesy of Vancouver Kiteboarding School