Travel

Six Potentially Life-Threatening Adventures to Push You to Your Limit

Volcano Boarding, Heli-Skiing and Ice Diving, Just Because

By AnnaMarie Houlis ·
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Photo: Jonathan Murrish/EyeEm/Getty Images

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Sorry, just felt like we needed to put that out there, in the event that something happens to you while you're surfing down a slope of volcanic rock, plunging into subzero waters in search of shipwrecks or gliding through the air at up to 100mph in your wingsuit, which is something that makes our palms sweat just putting into words. 

Certainly, these six adrenaline-pumping, potentially life-threatening adventures are not for the faint of heart (or even the not-faint of heart). But if you're willing to push the boundaries, to test what you're really capable of as a human being who experiences fear and stuff just like the rest of us, well, we say: go for it?

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Adventure: Volcano Boarding
Destination: Cerro Negro, Nicaragua
Rationale: The hike up Cerro Negro, just outside of Leon, will take about an hour, but the surf down the 2,385 feet of volcanic rock will only take about three minutes—if you can beat the heat. Don’t worry too much, though: the volcano hasn’t erupted since 1999 and, while no one knows for sure when it’ll splurge scalding lava again, its activity is monitored regularly. It's a rush worth the risk.

Adventure: Heli-Skiing
Destination: Chugach Range, Alaska
Rationale: Alaska’s Chugach Range is one of the most-coveted heli-skiing destinations in the world, boasting 750,000 acres of uncharted powder, an average annual snowfall of 700 inches and lines as steep as they are deep. Chugach Powder Guides will fly you up in a Eurocopter AS250 and then promptly chuck you down the mountain to ski ramps, couloirs, steep spines, powder fields and more terrains than any other heli-skiing operation on the planet. And because Chugach Mountains is uniquely sandwiched between the warm, moist-air currents of the Pacific Ocean and the arctic winds that blow in from Alaska’s vast interior, you’ve got the ideal conditions for steep powder.

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Adventure: Ice Diving
Destination: Lake Huron, Tobermory, Canada
Rationale: Ice diving is exactly what it sounds: diving under the ice, typically with only one entry and exit point. It’s most people’s worst nightmare, falling through the cracks and getting trapped under a thick sheet of suffocating ice. But for those donning winter diving packs and freeze-proof gear, it’s a sweet dream. Lake Huron, home to Fathom Five National Marine Park, usually freezes over by March, allowing divers to pull sleds of gear across the ice and explore the 22 shipwrecks below the surface.

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Adventure: Swimming with Sharks
Destination: Great White Shark Tours, Gansbaai, South Africa
Rationale: If plunging into the water patrolled by the world’s largest predatory fish and the apex predator of the ocean sounds at all appealing, Gansbaai, South Africa is the place to do it—it’s just a two-and-a-half hour, scenic drive from Cape Town, and it’s known as the Great White Shark capital of the world. Don’t worry, Great White Shark Tours has a 20-year safety record (we’re unsure of how many humans were eaten before then).

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Adventure: Parkour
Destination: Superfly Monkey Dragons, Singapore, Singapore
Rationale: There’s no one destination to practice parkour, but you can take courses at Superfly Monkey Dragons in Singapore by seasoned traceurs—you know, people who professionally launch themselves off railings, walls, stairs, benches, bollards and buildings. The sessions focus on strengthening the body and developing control, coordination and balance to master the movements. And because Singapore is a concrete jungle itself, you can go test your limits after class. 

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Adventure: Wingsuit Flying
Destination: Taupo, New Zealand
Rationale: Lest you thought only flying squirrels could glide through the air with grace, you, too, could don a wingsuit to do just the same—ideally, though indefinitely, with the same level of grace. How? The wingsuit you’ll be wearing increases your surface area by adding fabric under yours arms and between your legs, which, in turn, increases your free-fall time and offers you better maneuverability. You’ll still have to manipulate your body position in flight to create the desired amount of lift and drag but, once you nail it, you could reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Should be a cinch.

AnnaMarie Houlis excels in sleeping in middle seats, occupying shared armrests and asking strangers questions to which they have no answers because they're not watching her airplane movie.

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