Ice Canoeing—and Other Unusual Winter Sports Anyone Can Try

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Ice Canoeing—and Other Unusual Winter Sports Anyone Can Try

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The Swiss Snowkiting School.

The Swiss Snowkiting School.

We can depend on next week’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to captivate us with its limb-threatening, frosty-air sports—who doesn’t love skaters who nonchalantly pull glistening blades to the back of their head as “Bolero” swells? But for those of us who fell just shy of making the team this year (2022 in China!) and aren’t content to zone out in front of a flat-screen, here are four offbeat winter activities to pursue ourselves. So plump up the parka, clip on the cleats and find a sitter for the remote. The national anthem may not play after your run, but any one of these adventures will prove your Olympian mettle.

Go Snowkiting in Colorado or the Swiss Alps

For this winterized version of surfkiting, riders on skis or a snowboard glide along frozen lakes and reservoirs or ride down—and up, given enough wind—hills and mountains as their convex kite sails above them like a giant halo. “There are no lifts, no ticket scanners, no crowds,” said Anton Rainold, founder of Colorado Kite Force, which teaches snowkiting (coloradokiteforce.com ). Learn the ropes with Mr. Rainold or hop the pond and try the Swiss Snowkiting School in the Swiss Alps (pictured at top). snowkiting.ch

Ice Canoeing—and Other Unusual Winter Sports Anyone Can Try


Wage snowball war in Japan

In the remote town of Sobetsu, hot springs and a volcano brought tourists in summer, but winters were dead. So town stewards invented yukigassen (“snow battle”), a mashup of dodgeball and capture the flag, and started a competition. Now an international phenomenon—pro baseball players have taken it up—yukigassen is played on a small snowy court; two teams of seven sling machine-made snowballs at each other in a dual mission: tag opponents and capture the flag. Practice sessions, open to all, are held from January to March. www/yukigassen-intl.com

Ice Canoeing—and Other Unusual Winter Sports Anyone Can Try


Master Skijoring in Montana

What leisure pursuit isn’t more fun with a beast? Skijoring (Norwegian for “snow-driving”) brings man and horse—or hound—together in treks through flat, snowy terrain. When skijoring with dogs, generally 35 pounds and up, the skier is harnessed to a pup or two who run in front. In horse skijoring the human hangs on to a long rope, like a water skier does, as the steed and its rider make tracks. Give it a try at the Resort at Paws Up in western Montana, where the beginner course mimics those used in competitive skijoring. “Some ski ability helps,” said Paws Up activities director Mark Houseman, “but we take first-timers out.” pawsup.com

Ice Canoeing—and Other Unusual Winter Sports Anyone Can Try


Ice Canoe in Quebec

Can you canoe? Of course you can. But can you canoe on an ice-packed river? The folks at Quebec’s Canot a Glacé answer in the affirmative and offer hourlong excursions on the St. Lawrence River, maneuvering around and over the floes. It’s a trip you won’t forget, because it’ll be filmed by the canoe’s skipper. quebecicecanoeing.com

By | 2018-02-01T18:46:00+00:00 February 1st, 2018|0 Comments

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