It’s the middle of January and we are now in the thick of winter. There’s been snow on the ground and let’s not mention those double digit temperatures that we’ve already witnessed. If you are like me and hate winter, this time of year can get pretty tough. No matter how many layers I put on, I can’t stand being outside in the cold for more than 5 minutes. This time of year I start hibernating inside and cozying up with a glass of wine and binge watching my old favourite television shows. I just don’t get tired of watching Ross and Rachel’s comedic up and down relationship! “We were on a break!”
But there are many people out there that love winter and spending time outside in the snow. These people can’t wait to hit the slopes and put on their skates. I am terrified of doing both those activities- (maybe that has a lot to do with my feelings towards winter). Hockey seems to be the quintessential winter sport in Canada. But there are a few off the radar sports that some people have found to be exciting winter passtimes. Let’s take a look at some of these wacky winter sports:
Skijoring is where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, dog or a motor vehicle. It’s a sport that comes from Scandinavia and now made its way to North America. Skijoring can be done like cross country skiing where you can follow a trail or as a race with obstacles and ramps. Fun fact, Skijoring was in the 1928 St. Moritz Switzerland Winter Olympics.
Wok Racing is exactly what you think it sounds like. A person races down a bobsled track on specially designed woks with added handle bars. Inspired by a German TV show in 2003, wok racing became so popular it turned into a real sport which can be competed in as an individual or as a team. So now when you think of making a stir fry, you now might also think about taking your wok outside to play after.
Shovel Racing began when ski lift operators used shovels to make it quickly down to the bottom of the slope. This sport is simple; all you need is a standard snow shovel and a toboggan hill. The rider sits on the shovel, leans back and keeps their feet pointed forward. Fun fact- in 1997 shovel racing was featured in the X Games, but was quickly removed for safety reasons.
Baseboarding is a hybrid of skeleton, bodyboarding and tobogganing. A person rides face first down a hill on an aerodynamic board. The Bromely Baseboard has been developed by four-time Olympian Kristian Bromely. You can find baseboarding at Whistler Olympic Park in British Columbia. This sport is suitable for anyone aged 8 and up and you doesn’t require any prior experience.
Our last winter “sport” was apparently founded by the Georgia Tech swim team. They were on the road when they found out that their swim meet had been cancelled. They were also snowed in—stuck in their hotel room in Virginia. So, they decided to do what any swim team does when they’re snowed in– some outdoor snow swimming. They snow swam in different styles including backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. Watch out this may catch on as a new winter sport.
Now these sports all seem kinda crazy to me and I’m sure all of you reading this may stick to the popular winter sports like hockey, skiing, tobogganing and ice skating. To be honest even those sports all seem crazy to me. I may be the only Canadian out there that feels lost while watching hockey (Sorry Canada– don’t hate me for saying that!) So next time we get a big snow fall and the ground is all covered, go get a shovel or a wok and have some fun…. or be like me and get all cozy on a couch, turn on your favourite tv show and pour a glass of wine. Now that sounds like fun to me.
Skijording Picture: Kaila Angello
Shovel Racing Picture: Lynn Eubank
Wok Racing Picture: DPA