ADDY BINK | SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
In America, we are used to our standard number of sporting events to watch during the winter months. There is basketball, football, hockey and occasional Olympic events, depending on the year. Across the world, and our nation, you can tune in to a variety of weird winter sports.
Skijoring: Across Canada, Norway, Sweden, and parts of the United States and Germany, skijoring draws crowds of viewers. Skijoring is primarily a winter sport with a number of variations, but all include the same concept. A person on skis is pulled through a course by a horse, motor vehicle, a dog or team of dogs. In some competitions, ramps and slalom gates are included. Some variation allows skiers to instead use a snowboard.
Ice Cross Downhill: Finally, one of the most intense winter sports out there is ice cross downhill. This sport sends tough skaters down slopes which include jumps and rollers while wearing ice skates. The skaters go down in groups of four, trying to get the best position. While going upwards of 45 miles per hour, skaters are encouraged to push, slide and shove. This is against the rules, but skaters are not heavily punished for it. In a friendly fashion, the last skater to reach the bottom of the hill buys the others drinks.
Snow Kayaking: When the word ‘kayak’ is said to anyone, they likely think of paddling along a river or maybe around a lake. But in some areas, such as Colorado, some may think of snow kayaking. According to a number of travel websites, only some resorts allow their guests to take kayaks down the slopes. Monarch Mountain in Colorado does allow snow kayaking on their hills and even holds competitions. Gravity does help the kayaks travel down the slopes, but the paddles are still crucial in avoiding trees and such.
Wok racing: The absurd sport of wok racing began on a German television show. According to its Wikipedia page, the sport reflects bobsledding. Riders sit in woks, or round-bottomed Chinese pans, and travel down bobsledding tracks. Ireland and Germany often produce the majority of participants. Races can include single woks with one rider, or a modified sled with four woks for four riders. The annual World Wok Racing Championship is only televised via a German television channel.
Yukigassen: In Japan, Norway, Canada and Finland, the sport of yukigassen has grown in popularity. Yukigassen is essentially a large snowball fight. A game consists of two teams, each with seven players, competing to capture the flag of the other team. Players can be eliminated once they have been hit by a snowball or if they leave the designated playing field. According to a Wikipedia page for the sport, players wear protective face gear and are limited to the 90 snowballs premade prior to the game. Annual competitions occur in each of the countries mentioned earlier. participants. Races can include single woks with one rider, or a modified sled with four woks for four riders. The annual World Wok Racing Championship is only televised via a German television channel.
Shovel racing: According to a 2012 article by Wired, shovel racing was started by lift operators. During the 1970s, lift operators in a small ski town were tired of using the lifts to get back down the mountain every day. They decided to use their shovels to slide down the hill. One thing led to another and the lift operators began racing. As the sport gained popularity, competitors were ‘pimping’ their shovels. Some were hundreds of pounds and had braking systems. Shovel racing became so popular, it became a part of the 1997 X Games. That was the first and last time the sport was included after a competitor was severely injured.
These sports may be out of the ordinary, but they do make the winter months pass by a little faster. And who would not want that?