Here are some of the uncommon sports in the winter or in the snowy areas that you may be unfamiliar with (but might want to try):
Curling is an unusual sport which originated in the Old World. This sport, which consists of sweeping stones to reach the “eye” (target) of the ice rink, is most popular in Canada but can be seen whenever the Winter Olympics occur. Perhaps you may be curious to try it!
Dog sledding is popular in Alaska; in fact, it is the US state’s official sport. Also called as mushing, dog sledding is much like normal sledding but with a pack of adorable but powerful Siberian huskies pulling the load.
It is just a sport now but earlier, for centuries, these sled dogs were the only means of transport of the northern winter world. Here is a great book; you might want to read about them: Born to Pull: The Glory of Sled Dogs.
This is considered less of a sport than a recreational thing among buddies. Ice blocking consists of riding on a large ice block and sliding down the grassy slopes. Usually, this is done during the summer but it can be done in any other season. Winter is also the best time to do it since the block of ice will last longer.
Ice climbing has been a popular sport since ages. It’s like mountain climbing in a way, but the difference is, of course, scaling the ice formations. These formations can be a glacier, a frozen waterfall, or rock formations covered in thick ice. The essential gear for ice climbing consists of ropes, axes, picks, ice clipper, harness, and proper clothing for this sport.
Want to learn ice climbing? Here is a great guidebook on it: Washington Ice: A Climbing Guide.
Known also as ice boating, ice sailing, ice yachting, or ice boating, this sport gives a new definition to “smooth sailing” as there are no waves to crash. It’s more like gliding on ice. This sport can attract danger but it can also be extremely exhilarating!
Igloo building is something that can be enjoyed by people of any age. It will help you build your architectural skills and can be really fun too! Igloo building should be done in a place with abundant ice and snow. It can also help improve your survival skills, so in case you are stranded somewhere that is covered in ice, you can build one by yourself and make it as your temporary shelter.
Interested in building the best igloo? This guidebook contains all the help: How to Build an Igloo: And Other Snow Shelters.
Polar Bear Swims
Also known as the polar bear plunge, polar bear swimming challenges your mettle to dive into the icy cold water! This sport is usually held to raise funds for charity or to celebrate the New Year (in some countries such as Canada and South Korea). So, in the name of generosity and good old fun, you wouldn’t hesitate to take the plunge in the freezing lake, or would you?
Shark Ice Fishing
Shark ice fishing is popular in northern regions such as Norway and Greenland. Test your bravery in facing the icy waters to catch the Greenland shark, one of the very few sharks that live in the cold sub-Arctic seas. These sharks can reach up to 21 feet and weight up to 2,000 pounds, so catching one in the sub-zero winter is no mean feat.
Shovel racing has become a serious sport, and there are many competitions held in the United States. It consists of mounting onto a garden shovel and sliding down the icy slopes. You also need the proper winter gear to protect yourself from the cold and the possible accidents along the way. In most competitions, contestants even go as far as to wax their shovels to enable them to glide faster down the slopes.
Cycling in the snow can be quite hard when the wheels get stuck in ice. But try cycling down the slopes by riding a bike outfitted with skis instead of wheels. It can give you the thrilling feeling! Whether you try with or without the wheels, you will enjoy a lot.
Skijoring is a combination of skiing and sledding. The person on skis can be pulled by a dog (or a couple of dogs), a horse or a small motorized vehicle (like a motorcycle or snowmobile). If you want to have a winter adventure with your own pooch, try skijoring at the Midwest Skijorers Club in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
You can skijor with your dog too! Here’s a great book to help you train yourself and your dog to skijor and enjoy: Skijor with Your Dog.
Snow kayaking is like regular kayaking but instead of the river current, you use the mountain slopes and gravity for the action. You don’t have to worry about the rocks that poke out of the waters, but you do have to avoid trees while racing down the slopes. This sport is pretty recent as it was made official in 2002.
Snowkiting is almost similar to kiteboarding, as it also uses large kites to catch the wind. But the difference is that the players glide over snow or ice instead of water. They may also do some spectacular jumps while traveling across the snowy expanse.
Snow kneeboarding is also known as redneck kneeboarding. The person on the kneeboard is pulled by a motorized vehicle such as a car or a snowmobile.
Snowtubing is recommended for those who do not or cannot ski or snowboard. It consists of sledding down the slopes using a tube. It is easy, cheap, relatively safe and really fun.