Seven people on crazy Christmas-time adventures

Forget sleigh rides and ice-skating – these adventurers are aiming for something more interesting.
Manon Ossevoort, happy to be at the South Pole © Antarctica2 Expedition
By Evan David

Roasting chestnuts on an open fire sounds like a great way to spend Christmas – if your open fire is 20km deep in the backcountry,  prepping for a day of powder skiing, ice climbing, or whatever December adventures fit your fancy. As far we're concerned, any time of year is good for fun, be it in winter wonderlands, or warm Hawaiian waters.

We asked some of our world-roaming friends to send us their updates from around the globe. Here's how these incredible athletes and explorers are celebrating their Christmas!

1. Going Underwater

Cave diving: The world's most dangerous sport? © Jill Heinerth

Who: Jill Heinerth
What's the fun? Cave diving
Where: Northern Florida, USA
Christmas wish: good visibility and getting back safe – cave diving is dangerous!

Jill Heinerth has done some amazing stuff – like biking across Canada, diving under icebergs or snorkelling wide-open Arctic waters – but her favourite activity is cave diving. Over the holiday, she'll be testing equipment in the Northern Florida's intricate aquifer system – home of some of the longest and largest submerged cave systems in the world.

2. Coming home from the South Pole

Manon Ossevoort
Manon Ossevoort © Antarctica2 Expedition

Who: Manon Ossevoort
What's the fun? Driving a tractor in the snow
Where: The South Pole
Christmas wish: Catch the plane by Christmas

It's a journey that started years ago – Dutch actress and adventurer Manon Ossevoort wanted to go to the South Pole. Using a tractor. This December, the Massey-Ferguson sponsored expedition arrived 90º South, after 17 days crossing ice and snow in serious Antarctic winds. The mission now? Get back in time to catch the plane back off Antarctica, leaving... today, December 19th.

3. Getting ready to fly

TommyD is packing for Argentina © Tom de Dorlodot

Who: Tom de Dorlodot
What's the fun? Training for Red Bull X-Alps
Where: Argentina
Christmas wish: Get fit, stay healthy!

Our good buddy Tom de Dorlodot had a tumultuous year – a full-frontal collapse of his paraglider put him in the hospital for a few weeks with serious spinal cord damage. But now he's recovered and getting for Red Bull X-Alps 2015. His winter training grounds? Argentina – he just sent us this packing selfie, and is heading out this week. In the plans? Lots of miles and plenty of airtime – and no crashes!

4. Doing flips in Santa hats

Who: Jason Polakow
What's the fun
? Flipping!
Where: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Christmas wish: Land this move

Jason Polakow does love to snowboard  – but he loves waves even more. That's why he stays at his adopted home on Maui during the holidays, when winter swells slam into the North Shore, producing mega-size waves perfect for jumping and doing forward loops (like this) or scoring rides like the one below...

5. Riding mega-waves at JAWS

Kai Lenny scores mega-waves at JAWS © Erik Aeder

Who: Kai Lenny
What's the fun? Big-wave surfing
Where: Also in Maui, Hawaii, USA
Christmas wish: Don't wipe out.

Kai Lenny – stand-up paddler, windsurfer, surfer  – grew up on the North Shore of Maui. But that doesn't mean waves like this feel at home – at least not entirely. One wipe-out, and you're going for a very long swim – make sure you've taken a deep breath. In the third week of December, the famous break came alive, and the northern shore was a wet, wild, winter wonderland.

6. Running up a mountain

Ryan Sandes grabs a run on Table Mountain © Nick Muzik/Red Bull Content Pool

Who: Ryan Sandes
What's the fun? An 'FKT' on Table Mountain
Where: Cape Town, SA
Christmas wish: Go fast 

Ultra trail runner Ryan Sandes scored an epic this year when did the Drakensberg Traverse – but over the holiday, he's taking it a little easier and sticking closer to home. The fleet-footed speedster is aiming to set a FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the iconic Table Mountain, which looms over Cape Town. Ryan, may we suggest you lay off the holiday sweets? Good boy.

7. Running up Aconcagua

Who: Kilian Jornet + Emilie Forsberg
What's the fun? Elevating your heart rate, battling lack of oxygen
Where: Aconcagua
Christmas wish: Set a new world record

Adventurer, sky-runner, and ski-mountaineer Kilian Jornet, plus girlfriend Emelie Forsberg, is spending December on the next peak of of his 'Summits of my Life; project, in which he intends to set speed records on seven of the world's most famous mountains. He's already ticked of Mt Blanc, Denali, and the Matterhorn. Up next? Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.  

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