There's a brawnier side to adventure travel that appeals to those who prefer to escape by strapping on a pair of skis, grinding the day away on a mountain bike or slogging for miles across rugged terrain. Here are some worth traveling for.
Chugach Mountains, southern Alaska Chugach
Chugach Powder Guides located near Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, boasts the "The Ultimate Alaskan Heli-Skiing Experience," with untracked, isolated slopes in knee-deep powder and views of Alaska's mountains. "We've got probably 50 ski runs that we spend the majority of our time skiing," said Henry Munter, general manager of the operation. A skier or boarder can easily tick off 50,000-plus vertical feet on a five-day trip. That may be the big sell for heli-ski noobs, but it's the views that bring 'em back.
What's canyoneering? It's a combination of rock climbing, rappelling and hiking. Moab, Utah-based Red River Adventures takes people canyoneering in Utah's picturesque Moab on a variety of trips. One of the most popular is called Rock of Ages. The moderate-to-hard five-mile route features three rappels, potholes, scrambling, dramatic views and ancient ruins. "The entire walk is through this labyrinth of canyons," said Carl Dec, owner of Red River Adventures.
A nine-day Cusco-to-Amazon mountain bike trip in Peru offered by British Columbia-based Sacred Rides goes from the foothills of one of the world's largest mountain ranges through the Amazon jungle.
It's not as grueling as it sounds. Riders bike roughly 23 miles per day and stay at lodges overnight, though travelers tackling this adventure should be somewhat fit.