For some people, the thought of being trapped under the ice is the stuff of nightmares. For others, it’s exactly the kind of unique and exhilarating they’re looking for. But one thing is for sure, to try ice diving on a ski holiday in France has to be the best sporting holiday combinations.
Experience the thrill of submerging beneath icy cold waters. Maintain your cool as you slip under a crust of ice and the light begins to fade. Then marvel at the incredible sensation of being separated by the surface by an impenetrable barrier of beautiful ice. It’s a unique experience and one that’s available at a number of France’s premier skiing resorts.
So, if you feel like taking a day off from the slopes and trying something completely new, then try ice diving on a ski holiday in France. Here’s where you can give it a go.
Kit up and slide into the water of a high alpine frozen lake at Tignes. These lakes are usually frozen and covered with snow so that skiers and boarders don’t even know they’re here. As you move from the bustling world of lifts and slopes to the ethereal and eerie under water environment, you’ll notice how peaceful and beautiful it becomes. Find out more and watch a video of a Tignes ice dive here.
One of the great things about ice diving is that anyone can have a go. You don’t need to be an experienced diver to try it. In fact, around a third of all people who ice dive say it is their first diving experience. This is because although it seems like a dangerous pursuit, it’s actually very safe. At Avioraz/Morzine, you can try a circuit-style dive connected by an air supply. Several holes in the ice are connected by a rope, creating an established route for divers to follow, all accompanied by an instructor. You’ll get to feel the underwater currents and rivers, as well as see the spectacular light shows created by the light passing through the ice.
Just a short drive from the Val Thorens is the Frozen Lac du Lou. Discover a new world that’s soundtracked entirely by the sound of your own breathing. Play with the bubbles and light streams as you spend around 20-minutes beneath the ice in this strange and fascinating environment.
Dive with an instructor below 50cm to two metres worth of ice sheet. Again, diving here is suitable for beginners and qualified divers, with each experiencing something completely new. Ice diving is available throughout the season during daylight hours.
Another top French resort that offers ice diving, the activity is available at Lake de Montriond near the resort. The season runs from December to March, although currently only on request.
Under the water you’ll be wearing a thick neoprene dry suit, complete with gloves and boots to keep you warm, which is not vastly different to a wearing a wetsuit on a normal dive. However under your drysuit you should be wearing thermals, thick socks and depending on the temperature possibly even a midlayer fleece.
If you are in a ski resort it is likely you have all the correct cold weather gear anyway. But just in case you don’t, check out Highoctane Sport to pick up suitable ski clothing. Also unlike most diving locations, where a pair of board shorts and flip-flops will suffice, if you want to try ice diving on a ski holiday in France you will need your winter gear before and after the dive too.