When you picture a classic kayaking adventure, your mind might not immediately go to snowy banks by the water’s edge, air so cold you can see your breath, and wintry alpine terrain. You wouldn’t be alone. Kayaking, for many, is simply seen as more of a summery pastime. Thing is, when you boil down and categorise an activity like that you miss out on so much of what it has to offer.
Take winter kayaking in Interlaken, for example. It’s maybe not the first thing you’d imagine doing on a colder season trip to the Alps but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t absolutely, 100%, be on your list of things to do there at that time of year. This part of Switzerland is generally really great for watery adventures (the stand up paddle boarding in these parts, for example, is also very special).
We caught up with Dave Storey, from Hightide Kayak School, to find out more about winter kayaking in the region.
A lot of people think of kayaking as more of a summer thing. What’s the best thing about kayaking in winter?
This is absolutely not the case, you’re only limited by what you’re wearing and when you have a drysuit on, you can wear normal clothes underneath, stay nice and warm and dry even if you end up in the water.
“It’s good for the mind, body, and soul”
Kayaking in winter here on the lakes of Switzerland is beautiful.
You have the lake to yourself, there’s always a special atmosphere and no matter what the weather is doing it’s always a special experience. You can really experience the quiet, feel close to nature and switch off from the world… away from the distractions of modern life… It’s calming. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul.
Is there a favourite area / spot for you when kayak touring in the region?
I love the paddle right here on Lake Brienz in Bönigen by Interlaken. You have stunning mountain views, cliffs, and space. No matter how much you are out on the lake, those special days, the special light and the power of nature still blow you away… I’m very grateful to live in such a stunning place.
Do you think travel and adventure in the next few years will, more so than ever, be about getting outside comfort zones and trying new things?
For me it’s less about going outside your comfort zone and more about trying new things. With all our technological advancements, the ease of everything with the internet and the pace of modern day life I think people are yearning for genuine experiences. They want to get away from it all, find peace of mind, and get away from the constant stress of the day.
“There’s nothing more memorable and enjoyable than spending the day out on the water, setting up camp, and sharing stories”
Being out in nature, whether that’s on foot, on a bike, or on the water brings us back to the simple things in life. It slows us down and helps us to get back in the moment. For me the trend will be reconnecting with nature, with ourselves and having genuine and authentic experiences alone, with friends and with family.
There’s nothing more memorable and enjoyable than spending the day out on the water, setting up camp, and sharing stories around an open fire in the evening.
This is what we’ve all been missing… it’s the simple things.