Travellers who like to get plenty of exercise while having fun on their vacations should seriously consider booking a trip to Alaska. The Last Frontier has plenty of zany activities that will give your muscles - and your smile - a workout. Here are five wacky sports that you compete in while visiting Alaska.
1. Downhill Waterskiing
If you're into snow sports as well as water sports, then the Slush Cup is the perfect event for you. The competition features contestants skiing down a hill leading to a 90-foot pond of freezing water that they'll try to skim across - all while wearing costumes, from unicorns to Batman.
So if you like dressing up and getting wet, head to Girdwood - the resort town outside of Anchorage that hosts the Slush Cup every April as part of its Spring Carnival festivities.
2. Outhouse Racing
Okay, let's start with the logistics of this odd event. A racing outhouse is like a rickshaw mixed with a chariot. One person sits in the outhouse (which is mounted on skis) while their teammates push and pull it along the snow. And the vehicles competing in Anchorage's annual Fur Rendezvous aren't used as actual port-o-potties, so there's no need to worry about them tipping over in the streets.
The "Fur Rondy" runs from the last week of February to the first week of March, so you've still got lots of time to put together a racing outhouse and head up north to take on the locals.
3. Mountain Marathon
If you're looking for a more traditional sporting event, check out the Mount Marathon Race in the Southcentral Alaskan city of Seward. Since 1915, runners have gathered there on Independence Day to compete in the 3-mile run. That might not seem long, but keep in mind that you'll be running up and down rugged terrain that's over 3,000 feet above sea level. And by "rugged," we mean steep inclines, cliffs and slippery rock surfaces.
At the top of the mountain, you'll be initiated into Alaska's chapter of the League of Shadows (we assume).
4. Arctic Golf
If you're the kind of golfer that likes chipping through roughage, then you've got to check out the Aleutian Tundra Golf Classic, which is held every year on Unalaska Island. The terrain is so bad that vegetation growing up to your knee is considered "smooth," knee-high vegetation is called "semi-rough" and greenery growing up to your waist is listed as "rough."
If that's not enough of a challenge, travel north to the town of Nome, which hosts the Bering Sea Ice Classic every March. Even with bright green balls, golfers have a tough time finding where their strokes have landed in the fields of snow. But contestants get to tee off using shotgun shells and miniature liquor bottles. And there's a mandatory stop at the local bar midway through the six-hole tournament. So you'll be in good spirits even if you don't win.
5. River Raft Racing
Nome is also a hotspot for northern river raft racing. Every year on the Summer Solstice, contestants hit the local river in homemade rafts that vary in shape and size. The event is part race and part war as competitors are allowed to use squirt guns and water balloons to get an edge in the tournament.
And spectators are allowed to dump buckets of water on all the racers. So it really is an all-out water war.
Banner image: blog.skis.com (Slush Cup)