6 Winter sports you need to try

There's more to winter sports than just skiing and snowboarding - they're a great place to start, but if you're looking for something a little bit more exciting this winter, the Expertrain team have been hard at work, rounding up 6 quirky winter sports that you need to try. Whilst there's a chill in the air and the slopes are covered with snow, get kitted out and take to the slopes on an activity holiday to try your hand at some of these slightly more unusual winter sports - we can't wait to get stuck in!

#1. Snow Polo

Playing polo in the snow? Don't sound so surprised; it isn't really anything new. In fact, the world's first snow polo match took place in Switzerland back in 1985, on a frozen lake. Today, the game is popular in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and parts of the USA. We don't recommend the frozen lake route - it's just not safe. If you're on a winter sports break, many resorts will offer activities such as snow polo as part of your package - it's a great upper body workout!

What you'll need:

Horses (obviously), polo malllets and a ball are the only equipment you'll need - friends too, of course, as you can't play polo alone!

Adrenaline rating:

3/10 - Playing on ice and snow is a bit more exciting than playing on grass or other surfaces, as there's the added risk factor!

#2. Kite Skiing

A relatively modern sport, kite skiing's roots can be traced back to the Second World War, when paratroopers were brought in to deliver supplies to troops in the Alps. Today, kite skiing, also known as snow kiting, has a popular following amongst adrenaline junkies, and for good reason - it's pretty exciting! Ok, so there might not be so much of a life-or-death factor nowadays as there was during the war, but it's still a thrilling ride and a challenge. Skiers use a large kite which they hold onto, using the wind to propel themselves along the ice. Whilst you'll stay grounded most of the time, there are speed flyers who take off from time to time.

What you'll need:

You'll need specialised skiis which can be used on land or ice - it's easy to find more information online, and resorts offering kite skiing will usually provide you with everything you need.

Adrenaline rating:

9/10 - This is as thrilling as it comes! You'll actually find kite skiing on ice and snow is easier than kite skiing on water, as snow is easier to stand on and propelling yourself forwards is much more fun.

#3. Bandy

If you've never heard of bandy before, you're not alone, neither had we! it's actually a mash-up of American Football, field and ice hockey and soccer. Popular in Russia and played in some parts of the USA, it's still relatively unknown in Europe and the UK, but you could change all that! If you're already into ice hockey, why not encourage your team to get together for a bandy match next time?

What you'll need:

Bandy is played with bowed hockey sticks and a ball rather than a puck

Adrenaline rating:

5/10 - About as thrilling as your average ice hockey match, depending on the opposition and how many fights occur!

#4. Snow Kayaking

Often on offer as part of an activity holiday, snow kayaking is a great adrenaline sport that's sure to get those endorphins flowing - as an added bonus it means you can use your kayak year round instead of storing it away til the summer months! It's sort of like extreme sledding - participants wax up their kayaks and take off down a steep incline - except you have the paddle to steer with. Sounds like fun, right?

What you'll need:

Nothing other than your kayak, some wax and a paddle. You might want to consider a crash helmet too!

Adrenaline rating:

10/10 - You'd be surprised how a kayak can pick up speed on an icy slope - wheeeeeeeeee!

#5. Ski Ballet

Before you think we've totally lost the plot, ski ballet was actually once an Olympic sport and part of competitive freestyle skiing (honestly) from the 1960's until 2000. If you don't believe us, look here! As if skiing itself wasn't challenging enough, ski ballet incorporates a routine of jumps, spins, rolls, flips and leg crossings, performed to music. You could still give it a go - we think it should make a comeback - but you'll need a smooth slope and some serious gymnastic skills, not to mention flexibility! When you consider how easy it it to injure yourself skiing, bear that in mind if you're thinking of giving ski ballet a shot.

What you'll need:

Skiis, gymnastic skills and determination

Adrenaline rating:

6/10 - You'll need some pretty sharp gymnastic skills to pull off these moves!

#6. Ice Yachting

Why should you give up yachting just because its winter? We guess that's what some guys in Finland thought, and so ice yachting was born. A popular sport in the Gulf of Finland and the Netherlands (where we're told it's incredibly cold), we're sad to say you won't spot any suntanned bikin-clad beauties lounging on the deck of these yachts! A cross between traditional sailing and wind surfing, ice yachting uses runners on the base of the boat which operate in a similar manner to ice skate blades, gripping the frozen surface of the water.

What you'll need:

A very frozen lake - ice yachting isn't usually available in the UK as it's just not cold enough, so you'll need to head abroad for this one, plus you'll need a yacht with the right runners attached. You can get more information from the British Ice Yacht Racing Organisation here.

Adrenaline rating:

7/10 - Depending how fast you go and how confident you are of the lake you're yachting on, it can really get your adrenaline pumping.


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Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 8th Jan 2015 at 12:07
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