6 Winter Sports You Never Heard Of

Snow adds an extra layer of fun to our outdoor playground. With a little of that fluffy white stuff, we can ski, snowboard, snowshoe and explore the outdoors in ways we aren't able to in warmer months. You probably have one or two winter sports that make your ears perk up when snow is in the forecast, but the world of winter activities is much more vast than you can imagine. Take a look at these six winter sports that you probably never heard of.

1. Skijoring

skijoring Photo by PhotoBobil.

Skijoring is simply cross-country skiing with a dog. Attach a dog sledding harness to your dog, and then use a rope or towline to connect the dog's harness to your very own skijoring harness. Slap on some cross-country skis and you're all set to go skijoring, which is Norwegian for ski driving. While it may be tempting to let your energetic pooch pull you on Nordic skis, the sport does still require you to make an effort in creating some momentum.  The point is for you and your four-legged friend to work together in experiencing a fun new way to explore in the snow! Any breed of dog that is willing to join you on this adventure (and big enough to participate) can skijor with you. These winter hiking tips are good to keep in mind when doing snow sports with your dog.

2. Snow Kneeboarding

If winter has you missing all of the summer sports you can enjoy on a lake, snow kneeboarding may be for you. It's essentially the same as kneeboarding on the water behind a boat or jet ski, but instead you are kneeboarding on snow behind a snowmobile. You could even go to the same lake, depending on how chilly it is in your neck of the woods. All you need is a tow rope, a kneeboard, a snowmobile and a wide open, snow-covered space. We highly recommend investing in a good helmet and some ski goggles if you want to try this sport. Safety first!

3. Ice Sailing

ice sailing Photo by Carter Brown.

Ice sailing is a competitive winter sport involving ice boats that can reach speeds over 100 miles per hour. An ice boat is very similar to a sailboat, but it has runners attached to the bottom that look like large skates. Ice sailing, also referred to as ice yachting, was first done over 2,000 years ago in Europe as a means to transport goods when rivers and lakes were frozen over. Today, this activity is enjoyed as a racing sport in Europe, Canada and the United States' Eastern and Midwest regions.

4. Snow Kayaking

Another water sport turned winter, snow kayaking is just as it sounds. Kayakers who don't want to hang their boats up for the season haul them to the mountains or snow-covered hills instead. Creek boats, or mid-sized kayaks, work best for this sport. Play boats, or small kayaks used for doing tricks in a river's eddy, also work well. Kayakers who really want to fly through the snow wax their kayaks before hitting the slopes. Again, helmets are highly recommended!

5. Kicksledding

kicksledding Photo by Visit Lakeland.

If you combined a stroller or a cart with a scooter, you'd have something similar to kicksledding. A kicksled is a sled made up of a small chair on two metal runners. There's a handlebar attached to the back of the sled's chair, which the kicksledder holds onto as the sled is pushed along snow or ice using the same motion that skateboarders use to propel themselves across pavement. Sometimes people who participate in this sport wear spiked shoes so they can better grip a slippery surface. Adding chains or crampons to your shoes can also help you get a grip. If you don't want to buy special equipment for your shoes, take a look at this video for a DIY way to maximize traction on ice.

6. Ice Blocking

We're not all lucky enough to have a snowy oasis in our backyards. Sometimes people need to improvise. That's where ice blocking comes in. Want to sled but don't have any snow? Take a giant block of ice to the top of the hill, sit on it, and let the ice substitute for a slippery snow surface. That pretty much sums up ice blocking.

*Featured image by Carter Brown. This image was modified.

Have you done any of these winter activities? Which would you like to try?
posted by
Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
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