However, A few fallen leaves and a little frost shouldn’t stop the serious competitor from getting out there and beating some fools into submission. Cold weather isn’t a hindrance to the world of sport. It merely adds an environmental obstacle into the mix that can turn the tide for anyone who knows how to use it to their advantage. Nearly everyone is familiar with the classic cold weather sports of skiing, snowboarding, and hockey, and if you like those, then go and enjoy. Still, for the true frozen fighter and polar powerhouses among us, it might be time to try something a little bit different.
When you want a change of pace and are seeking a weird new way to work out those winter kinks, here’s an array of 17 strange sports that you do in the cold. Most require limited equipment and almost no training, just like all the best things in life.
Please, be careful engaging in these activities, as they can all be mortally hazardous.
Ballet is hard, and anyone who says otherwise has never tried to go en pointe through the entire Nutcracker Suite. Adding in poles, skis, and thermal gear creates a nearly impossible art form that’s part dance, part skiing, part acrobatics. Unlike in other cold weather sports, the best part about ski ballet is that there’s no loser. If you do it well, it’s gorgeous. If you do it poorly, it’s hilarious and will leave you giggling all the way to the emergency room for your wrenched groin. However, if you’re not built for regular ballet, then this may be more of a spectator sport.
Instead of navigating the flow and eddies of a whitewater river, you can use gravity and the paths of the snow to engage in this take on sledding. Don’t be fooled by the soft white powder; it’s far more frightening than it sounds. Instead of dodging rocks, you’re going to be avoiding trees as you careen down a slope, unable to bail out like you would with a simple toboggan. When inner tubing has lost its luster or the lakes are frozen over, the move into cold weather sports such as this is the next “logical” step.
So, you’ve gotten yourself a pair of skis but hate the idea of hitting the hill along with every other snow bunny, waiting in long lift lines, and contending with inebriated souls who class drinking in the snow as one of the primary cold weather sports. Then it’s time to attach yourself to a horse, a motorcycle, a set of dogs, or anything else that moves to find the unbridled fun (read: stark terror) of being drug along like a water skier over the unforgiving ground. Make sure you add in some jumps for good measure.
The Japanese competition of snowball fighting, Yukigassen, is a brutal game of dodgeball ramped up to be more than a little dangerous. You’ll need two teams of seven and a whole array of pre-made snowballs, as well as protective gear to keep your face and head from feeling the sting of the balls. Believe us when we say that you’ll be grateful for the padding when it’s all over. Certainly one of the more aggressive cold weather sports, it is also quite the intriguing experience.
Snowy cities like Boston and New York have already put this into practice with a lot of weird results. You would be forgiven for thinking there are not many cold weather sports that you can do cooped up in the city. However, the urban Iditarod is about to change that. Like a soapbox derby using shopping carts pulled and pushed by people, you can start a whole league in your neighborhood with a few folks, a decked-out cart, and great costumes.
Forget about the Quidditch players running around with a broomstick betwixt their gams. This new cold weather sports trend is less magical and more terrifying. Shovel racing puts naught but a chunk of steel between you and the ground, along with a control stick jammed right into your family jewels. Capable of being done with a standard shovel, the pros prefer tricked-out shovels that aren’t any good for digging.
Here’s the poor person’s version of the shovel race – though if you can’t afford a shovel, a wok might be out of your price range too. So climb into a steel dish and hop down the hill without even the comfort of a handle to guide you, and you’ll soon be riding an adrenaline high right into winter Nirvana. Of course, if you want even more adrenaline from your cold weather sports, you can chain your woks together for a bobsled feel.
This fraternity-driven event may be the most tenuous of cold weather sports; it is undoubtedly an experience. Though beer isn’t technically a requirement of Ice Blocking, it can certainly help. A grassy or snowy hill coupled with a giant block of ice and a thin pad for a saddle is all your team needs to start your own racing league. True, it’s drunken frat shenanigans, but don’t knock it until you’ve done a few runs yourself.
The amateur version of this is the polar bear contests held every year where grizzled old men tempt death by heart failure by leaping into the freezing water in their skivvies. However, for real cold weather sports enthusiasts, there is an upgraded version. All you need is insulated diving equipment and a desire to see sea life under the ice.
Speed Flying AKA Blade Running
This is not one of the best cold weather sports for those faint of heart, a little bit of hang-gliding and parasailing coupled with careening down a hill. Anyone who fears heights, speed, danger, or embracing death by tree might want to give this a miss. Anyone else: get a parachute, get some skis, get a big hill, and get your will updated and notarized.
We had to add this to the list of cold weather sports. Although, technically, it’s not really a sport, but more of a spectacle. Wrenchers who like to tweak their snowmobiles and hit the track will enjoy this mix of motocross and snow. We’re not saying you have to be crazy to give this a try, but it certainly helps. Whatever you do, just don’t get drunk and think it’s a good idea to cross this with skijoring.
If you like a bit of speed in your cold weather sports, then ice sailing could be the winter endeavor for you. True, you’ll need to get a specialized boat for this. One that is mounted on skids that can move across the ice. Once you do, there’s no end to the enjoyment that can be had on a blustery day. It’s paddleboarding and windsurfing meets ice skating and a hell of a good time.
Snow makes everything more challenging, especially cold weather sports. The real players do it without the aid of a saddle, bit, or bridle to enhance the difficulty and give the animals more fun.
Ice Cross Downhill
Speed skating is already one of the more brutal cold weather sports but put in the added danger of doing it with gravity pulling you down and the sweet pugilism of hockey, and you’re really going all in. It’s a beating that will leave you wrung out, black and blue, and aching to do it again.
Here’s another sledding offshoot and one of the more famous extreme cold weather sports that was actually taken out of the Olympics due to its danger to competitors. You go diving headfirst down a hill using nothing but a tiny sled that resembles a skeleton (hence the name) to do it. You can use any sled you want, but for the love of all that is holy, please put on a helmet and a mouthguard. If only to reduce cleanup later on.
Mountain biking is a fine sport in its own right. If you take a fat bike into the hills, you can even do it when there’s a little fluff on the ground. Ski biking takes it to a new tier by swapping your wheels for a slick set of boards. Because your weight is spread out further than on skis, you can often get more speed this way than doing standard downhill skiing. It’s the perfect addition to your cold weather sports list when you need that extra rush.
If you haven’t heard of Broomball, it’s time to educate yourself in one of the more random cold weather sports on this list. It’s hockey sans the gear. The sticks, the puck, and skates are all stripped away. All you need is a frozen lake or a street, some literal brooms, a couple of makeshift goals, and whatever ball you have lying around.