What kind of sport to do? Which sport is fashionable in Europe today?

No one will answer the question of how many sports there are in all – a human imagination is inexhaustible, and new sports are invented almost every day. Someone estimated that there are about 200 thousand sports today. But this is not a fact.

You can go in for sports all your life – both the same and different types. You can succeed in sports. Anyway, there will be the abyss, which will separate you from ideal results. There are no ideal results in sport: you can always be higher, stronger, and faster.

Those who play sports professionally know that you can’t just leave sports. You can leave the big sport, reaching a certain age. The habit of playing sports should remain as natural as brushing your teeth before bedtime. The body gets used to certain loads for years, to adrenaline regular portions, struggle and freedom feelings. And God forbids a professional athlete or someone who regularly experiences intense sports loads to forget about sports for a couple of weeks and lie on a sofa.

Any doctor will say that the lack of habitual load is fraught with a change in blood sugar, and the situation can quickly end with diabetes, stroke or even a heart attack. Not to mention the external factor. “Rest from sports” (meaning the physical activity complete absence) leads to the fact that muscles quickly lose their ability to burn fat, which provokes metabolic disturbances. You can return to your previous shape and slim figure only by resuming training.

There is one more “pitfall” that every athlete knows about – in sports you slowly progress and quickly regress. You need to train hard every day to achieve high results. It’s easy to lose a shape; you can skip a few workouts, and the sad result is evident.

Nevertheless, sports and only sports make our lives full and happy. It’s nice to like yourself in the mirror, stay in a good mood, radiate confidence, strive and win. It is pointless to give advice on how to choose a sport to your liking – you need to try yourself what the soul lies. And you need to do this in the right beautiful place, preferably in the fresh air and when the sun is shining. Moreover, both in winter and in summer.

Start with winter. Andorra is a European country with one of the largest sunny days’ quantities in winter. The sunny days per year number is rarely less than 300. Andorra is one of the most popular ski resorts for this reason. The Grandvalira ski resort occupies 1.926 hectares and has 112 slopes alone, being one of the largest ski resorts in the world.

It is true, that skiing has been losing its popularity recently – and, mainly, among residents of countries that have ski resorts. Not the last reason is that this sport is very traumatic and expensive due to the price of ski passes or equipment rental.

The Andorrans themselves, the Spaniards and the French, who are constantly vacationing in Andorra, no longer consider skiing their favorite sport. This is already boring and not fashionable in Europe.

They can be understood. For example, skiing is an obligatory part of the educational program for Andorrans. In other words, they have been confidently skiing since the age of six.

So what kind of sport to do in winter?

What winter sport is becoming more fashionable and less traumatic?

Andorrans, as well as their neighbors – Spaniards, and Frenchmen who come to train in Andorra – have been actively practicing ski mountaineering for several years running. This is a combination of downhill and cross-country skiing, only the emphasis is not on the downhill, but on the ascent to the mountain with a special anti-slip tape, which is easily attached to the outside of the skis and is also easily removed during the descent. If you are not a professional, it’s not at all necessary to climb the highest point of the Pyrenees and descend from there with a dizzying “out of piste” speed. You can practice ski mountaineering along the same slopes of ski resorts – blue, red or black. Just starting from the bottom up.

Most of the time “eat” the lifts during alpine skiing. In other words, if you ride well, then for every 5 minutes downhill there is as an average 15-minute climb. Plus there are queues for ski lifts, especially on weekends and holidays. It turns out that the skier spends four to five times more on the lift than on the track.

Ski climbers do not need lifts.

Ski mountaineering is a pure sport, it is a load on all muscle groups involved in walking, an ideal cardio workout, and in the end – the long-awaited well-deserved descent. At the same time, ski climbers do not need ski passes, which seriously saves the budget: they can start climbing right at the parking lot in such ski villages as Grau Roig, Pas de la Casa (Grandvalira), or Arinsal (Vallnord).

Ski mountaineering is becoming increasingly popular among professionals. Andorra has hosted for many years the Font Blanca (ski de randonnée) World Championship stage in the categories “Individual Race” and “Vertical Race”, where the best ski climbers from all over the world gather. Competitions are held among these sports fans. The second SCIMO competition was held in 2017, in which 180 teams took part (there 2-3 people at every team: men, women, and mixed teams).

By the way, for those who like to experiment, a new sport will be available in Andorra this winter – a fat bike, or a bicycle on the snow. Snow bike is a fairly new sport in southern Europe, but already popular in Switzerland, as well as some northern Europe mountainous countries.

Cycling is widely available in the summer, which is especially popular in this country due to the numerous routes of various difficulty levels, both for “road” cyclists and for off-road cycling lovers. The best road racing cyclists in the world prefer to train in Andorra, including Purito (Joaquim Rodriguez), who was the Katusha team captain until 2016.

Grandvalira and Vallnord from ski slopes turn into bike tracks and hiking trails in summer.

You can play golf at the highest altitude in Europe (altitude – 2250 m above sea level) or also go climbing on several Via Ferrata routes in the summer in Andorra.

And, finally, equestrian sport, including horseback riding in the Pyrenees (about 250 km of routes of varying difficulty), is a popular summer outdoor sport. And all this – in the open air in a country with an ideal environmental situation! There are no industrial enterprises on the principality territory, and almost 30% of the territory is a national park protected by UNESCO.

There are 36 sports federations and organizations registered in Andorra, which are also funded by the state to a greater or lesser extent. We list the most popular sports organizations: including the Andorran Ski Federation, Andorra Automobile Club, Andorra Basketball Club, Andorra Volleyball Club, Andorra Athletics Federation, Andorra Cycling Federation, Andorra Judo Federation, Andorra Mountaineering Federation, Andorra Rugby Federation, Andorra Swimming Federation , Andorra Tennis Federation, Andorra Golf Federation, Andorra Motorsport Federation, Andorra Football Club, Andorra VPC Andorra Rugby XV and even Andorra Sailing Federation in the country surrounded by mountains.

Read more: Sport and the Pyrenees with Irina Rybalchenko ...