From snow kayaking to skijoring, we’ve found five thrilling winter sports that you never knew existed…
1. Shovel Racing
In Angel Fire, New Mexico, shovel racing was purportedly invented by impatient ski lift operators heading home for the day.
The sport, which sees riders sit on a snow shovel and use it to race downhill, soon grew competitive and was even featured in the X Games in 1997.
But as competitors’ modified racing shovels became more elaborate, they also became more dangerous, and after a serious injury the sport was put on hiatus.
In 2010 shovel racing returned to its birthplace at the Angel Fire Resort. Now racers keep their shovels un-modified for safety, though they can still hit speeds over 60 mph!
Skijoring is just like water skiing on snow, only instead of a boat, you’re pulled by a horse or a team of dogs.
The sport is thought to have originated in Scandinavia, and its name comes from the Norwegian word skijøring, which translates to “ski driving”.
A number of competitions are now held in Sweden, Canada, Norway, and other cold climes.
3. Ice Sailing
Also known as “ice yachting”, this sport has its origins in practicality. Dutch sailors are thought to have invented ice sailing, which sees small sailboats skid their way across the ice as a way of transporting goods across frozen lakes.
As with anything that goes fast, though, it soon attracted thrill-seekers from all over the world. Today the sport is practiced all over, from Britain and Poland to the Netherlands and the US.
4. Snow Kayaking
Similar to sledging, snow kayaking offers a little more control, thanks to the paddle, not to mention a lot more speed due to the waxed underside of the vessel.
Races of the extreme sport typically take place on ski tracks, though amateurs can also get some speed on snowy slopes.
5. Snow Polo
You’ve got polo, water polo. . .and snow polo? While it may not get the same attention as its sibling sports, snow polo is genuinely popular in countries like Poland and Switzerland.
While its rules are largely the same as regular polo, horses are outfitted with special cleats and the ball is generally larger and brightly coloured so as not to get lost in the snow banks.
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