Don’t spend the entire winter on your cosy couch. If you are a winter wanderer there are a few weird and wonderful winter sports (that aren’t skiing) that you need to try out.Grab your thermos, start limbering up and check out the ultimate winter sports list, with the best travel destinations to try them out for yourself… For the not so brave
- Ice skating was invented in Finland more than 4 000 years ago and remains one of the most festive and affordable winter sports you can do.
- Fat biking is a way to glide over winter terrains with ease.
It originated in Alaska’s harsh landscapes but is now hugely popular in Europe – from the French Alps to Norway and even Tuscany.
- Snowshoeing is a way of hiking in wintertime and an increasingly popular way to traverse magical, snowy landscapes otherwise out of reach.
It’s inexpensive at around $50 per pair of shoes, some warm clothing and plenty of determination.
- Curling is one of the world’s oldest (and possibly strangest) team sports. It involves sliding large stones towards a target, while your team sweeps the path in front of it with brooms.
Because of the tactical nuance with regards to friction, angles and arcs, curling has the nickname ‘chess on ice’. It is a strangely addictive sport to play and watch.
- Dog sledding is an ancient practice that originated in Alaska, where American-Indian cultures pulled great loads on sleds through wintry landscapes with the help of their dogs.
These days it is a popular sport in both America and Europe.
- Snowboarding was developed in the USA in the 1960’s. Whether you are a beginner or a master, this is an enthralling wintersport once you get the hang of it.
For the super sporty
- Ice boating is similar to sailing, but your boat is fitted with ski’s designed to run over ice instead of water – at seriously high speeds.
These wooden boats can reach four times the speed of the wind propelling them, which can mean up to 140 miles per hour! The world’s biggest ice boating destination is the lake district of Mazury in Poland.
- Snow shovel racing is about as crazy and treacherous as you’d imagine from a sport that involves barreling down snowy, icy hills on shovels sounds.
It was invented in New Mexico in the 70’s and was even featured in the Winter X Games in 1997.
- Snow polo is regular bolo with a sprinkle of natural beauty and a lot of cold weather. It was born in the town of St Moritz in Switserland, which hosted the first snow polo tournament in 1985 on a frozen lake.
These days the St Moritz Snow Polo World Cup attracts rich and famous from across the world, who wear flamboyant furs, sleep in VIP tents and sip champagne as they watch riders compete on the sweeping snowfields.
- If hiking or snowshoeing is not extreme enough for your, winter mountaineering might be your thing.
It involves conquering all sorts of different terrain like snow, rock and ice and usually requires technical winter hiking gear.
- Skijoring is the sport of being pulled along on skis at breakneck speeds by horses or dogs.
Although it is not an Olympic sport, it is great fun. It originated in Scandinavia but the most popular places to try it out, is in North America.
- Biathlons are arguably the most grueling of winter adventure sports that requires a mix of physical endurance and psychological precision.
The Olympic Biathlon mixes cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. Though predominantly a winter sport, biathlon training happens throughout the year with roller skis and tarmac, particularly on cycle tracks, so getting involved isn’t as tricky as you’d think.
- Few experiences are more thrilling than surging through snowy forests on a snowmobile.
- Ice racing is definitely a sport for the not-so-fainthearted as it involves driving cars, motorbikes or 4x4 on snowy race tracks or frozen lakes.
Compared to other motor sports or extreme racing, ice racing is pretty affordable, too. All you need is a set of snow tires and you are good to go.