Halfway house on Everest, or go the distance for the Pole

12 best ice and snow holidays
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The Independent Travel

1 Cruise the Antarctic

1 Cruise the Antarctic

Watch whales from the observation deck and step ashore to see penguins and seals on a cruise around the Antarctic. Voyages, departing between November and mid-March, range from eight to 18 days. An eight-night Antarctic Adventure on the Peregrine Mariner, staying in a standard twin cabin, costs £2,556 per person, based on two sharing. The 18-night cruise, taking in the Falkland Islands, staying in the Cooke Suite, costs £6,744 per person, based on two sharing. International flights to Ushuaia cost from £800 per person. Contact Exodus (tel: 020-8675 5550; net: www.thisamazingplanet.co.uk).

2 South Pole expedition

Experience "the eternal silence of the great white desert" with Adventure Network International (tel: 01494 671 808; net: www.adventure-network.com). Holidays include skiing to the South Pole, £30,000 per person, climbing Wolf's Fang mountain in Dronning Maud Land, £16,666 per person, and scaling the Vinson Massif, £17,333 per person. The prices include return flights from Carlos Ibanez airport (Punta Arenas, Chile), accommodation, food, the services of guides and the doctor at the Patriot Hills camp. International flights cost extra.

3 Husky sledding

Test your skills as a dogsledder in Alaska's Denali National Park on a nine-day trip in February. Transferring from Anchorage to the Denali West Lodge station, you will meet the dog teams and learn how to steer the traditional mode of transport of the Alaskan glacier. On the way, you might see wolves, wolverines, lynx, otter, mink, caribou and the mighty moose. Departing on 16 and 24 February, the holiday costs £3,295 per person, including return flights, transfers and full-board accommodation with Wildlife Worldwide (tel: 020-8667 9158; net: www.wildlifeworldwide.com).

4 Igloo building

In Austria's Saltzkammergut, Club Yeti Alpin (tel: 00 43 664 241 9591) runs three-day treks around Bad Ischl during which you build your own igloo and take snowshoe walks to some of the peaks in the area. The three-day tour costs £143 per person, including accommodation, equipment, guides and food.

Or you could choose to go ice diving in Langbathsee. Padi-qualified and dry-suited divers can plunge into the frozen waters and experience the weird white-blue light. The Atlantis Diving School offers two-day seminars, including theory lessons, three to four dives, a heated tent and use of the sauna for £85 per person. Accommodation is at the three-star Sporthotel Kofler on a b&b basis and costs £16 per night, based on two sharing. International flights cost extra.

5 Sea kayaking

Explore the iceberg-strewn fjords of Greenland in a sea kayak. The Inuit vessel is stealthy enough to allow you to approach resident wildlife without disturbing it; there are birds in abundance and you might get to see the elusive narwhal. You might also get the chance to meet some Inuits ,and witness some of their traditional customs. Arcturus Expeditions (tel: 01389 830204) offers a 17-day expedition to Ammassalik for £2,930 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights via Rekjavik, transport, accommodation and all food.

6 Skidoo to Hell

Hell crater in Iceland, that is. Take a three-night Arctic Edge holiday with Arctic Experience (tel: 01737 218 800; net: www.arctic-experience.co.uk) and explore this extraordinary landscape of glaciers and volcanoes. During your stay you can take several excursions, including crossing glaciers by skidoo or in a high-tech four-wheel drive. The trip costs from £495 per person in February, £525 in March and £559 in April, including return flights, b&b accommodation and transfers. The excursions cost extra and are paid for locally, ranging from £66 for a five- to six-hour safari, and £95 for a five- to six-hour skidoo adventure, based on two people sharing a bike.

7 Experience Everest

Visit monasteries, walk through rhododendron forests and climb to the summit of Kala Patar, with views of Everest Base Camp and the mountain itself, on Guerba's (tel: 01373 826 611; net: www.guerba.com) Everest Base Camp trek. On this 21-day trek a guided group of up to 14 people will cover hundreds of miles and climb to a maximum altitude of around 17,700ft. The trip is 27 days long and costs £1,215 per person, based on two sharing, including five days' half-board in a hotel in Kathmandu and full board in tents during the trek. International flights cost extra. The next trip departs on 19 May.

8 Winter walking

Ramblers Holidays (tel: 01707 331133; net: www.ramblers.co.uk) offers snowshoe hiking from the village of St Agnan, in the French Alpine Vercours Massif. The guided walks through the snow-blanketed forest floor of the Vercours National Park offer a peaceful way to see the wildlife and the scenery of the area in winter. One week costs from £470 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers and half-board accommodation.

9 Fire and ice

Witness the aurora borealis in northern Canada. Tours depart from Churchill, "polar bear capital of the world", by dogsled and arrive six hours later at the Dymond Lake lodges. From here you will track moose or wolf, possibly see a polar bear, and learn how to build an igloo. The five-day Fire and Ice Adventures costs £1,606 per person. through Seal River Heritage Lodge (tel: 00 1 204 675 8875; email: ecoseal@ cancom.net), including internal flights and transfers and full-board accommodation. International flights cost extra.

10 Lagoon bathing

Take a day trip from Rekjavik to enjoy the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. Arctic Experience (tel 01737 218 800; net: www.arctic-experience.co.uk) offers a wide range of seven-day holidays and fly-drive packages to Iceland between May and September from £550 per person, including return flights and accommodation (usually full board).

11 Ice fishing

Try ice fishing in the wilderness of the Lainio river basin in Sweden. A four-day trip costs £194, based on two sharing, including full-board, accommodation in two- or four-bed cottages, two hours' tuition, equipment and permits. International flights cost extra. Contact the Baltic Travel Service (tel: 01449 743121).

12 Sami cuisine

Learn how to cook Sami style. An expert wilderness chef will show you how to rustle up dishes from reindeer, whitefish, ptarmigan and lingon berries. You will also visit a Sami village to discover how to herd reindeer. The price is £519 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, full-board accommodation and tuition. Departing 29 March. Contact Baltic Travel Service (tel: 01449 743121).

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