8 Unusual Winter Sports around the World

“Mountains are calling and I must go.”

Do you have this urge when these rocky giants are all dressed in white, when the air is crisp? You have all the reasons to answer your desire. After all, winter is not just a season, it is more of an emotion. Many love the beauty of the winter while some love the thrill of snow sports. Snow evokes emotions that awaken the kid within you. And, like kids why not make snow all fun and play. Winter sports are some of the most liberating experiences of a lifetime. Skiing, ice skating, ice climbing, sledging, snowboarding, and other snow sports offer limitless fun. Beyond the traditional sports, unusual winter sports and activities have sprouted up all over the world. With some level of training and a daring spirit, you can easily try some of the activities. These offbeat activities cater to adventurers who crave new ways to get their adrenaline pumping.

From a vast list, we have handpicked our favorite out-of-the-ordinary outdoor sports for your next winter vacation.


Skijoring is based on skiing but different from the usual winter adventure sport. The winter sport involves you putting on your ski gear while being pulled by a dog, horse, or motor vehicle. Balance yourself on ski and poles while your dog adds additional power by running and pulling, following your verbal commands. Often, one to three dogs are used. The name comes from the Norwegian skikjøring, roughly translating to ski driving. As long as you have an energetic friend and some skiing skills, you can enjoy the thrilling winter sport.

  • Best Enjoyed in: Sweden (Svalbard), USA (Minnesota, Colorado), Canada, and Europe
  • Best Time: October to February
  • Safety Tip: Get training in skiing to master the sport. If you are not proficient in balancing on skis, sit out on this sport.
  • Trivia: Dogs are preferred for skijoring in the Arctic region as the furry friends, especially the Malamutes and the Siberian Huskies are quite energetic in the cold weather.

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Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is an interesting experience. A fun activity for both you and your furry friend, it is one of the quirky winter sports. The strong breed of energetic Siberian Huskies are taken up for this sport. Ride through beautiful snowy landscapes in comfort while a team of beautiful huskies pulls you along. Dog-sledding excursions range from short trips to holiday experiences. The experience can be stretched over days combining mushing, trekking, and sometimes river rafting depending on your location.

  • Best Enjoyed in: The sport is popular in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, Russia, and Greenland. If you need to choose the best place then, Alaska gives you a memorable experience.
  • Best Time: October to April
  • Safety Tip: Wrap up properly when on the sled. Be attentive to the dogs who take you on a ride.
  • Trivia: Sledding was previously a way to travel in the snowy landscape and now it has become a thrilling sport that allows an experience of exploring offbeat winter landscapes.

Ski biking

Unusual and thrilling, unlike other unusual winter sports around the world, Ski Biking is a tough challenge. While most of us have ridden bicycles, few of us have tried it on snow. And, this is where the sport becomes an exhilarating adventure. The activity involves riding a bike outfitted with skis. And, that is not on the plain ground but down the snowy slopes. Feel the excitement as you glide down the snow. Be it a novice or an expert, ski biking is available for all. At some places, you can even get an expert certification.

  • Best Enjoyed in: Colorado (USA)
  • Best Time: October to May
  • Safety Tip: Get basic lessons on skiing before making an attempt down the slopes.
  • Trivia: Interestingly, this quirky winter sport was discovered accidentally. Some kids crashed into snow on their bike and to navigate the snow, they fitted their bikes with skis.

Ice Karting

Go-karting is a fun activity and when you go-kart racing on ice, you are sure to have the ride of your life. Simply put, go-karting on ice is termed ice karting. This is among the quirky winter sports to try this season. Forget the tracks and off you go on frozen lakes or rivers. If racing is in your blood, this is definitely for you. Even if you like to stick to the tracks, there are many ice rinks builts where you can go for a spin. While this is extremely fun, ice-karting requires basic training on karting. The quirky adventure sport is counted among the most thrilling winter activities that can be taken up by adventure enthusiasts of all ages.

  • Best Enjoyed in: Kuusamo, Finland, Lapland, or frozen lakes
  • Best Time: October to March
  • Safety Tip: Practice go-karting before making an attempt on the ice.
  • Trivia: The karts used for ice karting work similar to other racing karts but with special studded tires.

Snow Tubing

Snow tubing is basically sledding in a tube and one of the non-traditional winter sports from around the world. The quirky winter sport is easy, cheap, and incredibly fun. You do not have to do much besides holding tight while you glide on the snow or down snowy slopes. This quirky sport is for adventure lovers of all ages. Hold on tight and let the tub take you on a ride down the snow-covered slopes. From toddlers to grandparents this sport is fun for all ages.

  • Best Enjoyed in: Canada (Ontario)
  • Best Time: October to May
  • Safety Tip: Hold on tight to the tube and wear protective headgear.
  • Trivia: Unlike other winter sports, snow tubing requires no special skill or training.

Ice climbing

Ice climbing is an unusual winter sport that is worth a try. You can attempt the most adventurous of adventurers climbing a hanging glacier. Besides true exhilaration, the sights are spectacular, so remember to bring a camera. This sport is only for the true adventure enthusiast. Even for the beginner trails, serious training is required. But, once you have got the hang of it, the sport is beyond amazing!

  • Best Enjoyed in: El Morado Glacier (Santiago, Chile)
  • Best Time: All through the year but the preferred months are from May to September.
  • Safety Tip: Learn basics about mountain climbing before attempting –
    • Learn to change body positions efficiently.
    • Balance and control your body’s position.
  • Trivia: Ice Climbing emerged from mountaineering and rock climbing.

Ice Sailing

Sailing is fun as you allow the wind to give you a taste of speed. Feel the blustery wind rush over you as you sail across lakes when they freeze over in the winter. With no waves to slow you down, the winter sport game brings new meaning to the term “smooth sailing”. Iceboats can reach very high speeds, so racing should only be attempted after you get the hang of basic sailing.

  • Best Enjoyed in: Arctic region, Scandivian countries, Iceland
  • Best Time: October to May
  • Safety Tip: Get dressed in thermal clothing that is warm enough to protect you from Arctic winters.
  • Trivia: Ice sailing was started not to break speed records but to transport goods across frozen lakes, rivers, and bays. The people who invented the sport modified their traditional vessels by strapping blades or runners to the hull.

Polar Bear Swimming

Each January thrill-seeking locals jump into the freezing cold water in nothing but their bikinis and swimsuits. The most popular activity is the Polar Bear Swim competition that takes place in Korea at Haeundae Beach every year since 1988. Get ready to run 10 meters across the sand, leap into the icy water, and then swim 80 meters toward the finish line.This weird winter sport is more to spread good cheer.

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  • Best Enjoyed in: South Korea
  • Best Time: January
  • Safety Tip: Bring old shoes or water socks to wear into the water. Change into warm dry clothes after the dip as soon as possible.
  • Trivia: The unique winter sport is the Korean way of welcoming good health in the New Year.

The world is your playground when it comes to winter sports. So before the winter folds its snowy spread, be sure to experience some of these thrilling sports. Gear up for some adrenaline rush while being at play with the soft, fluffy, white spreads. And why go for the tested and tried sports and places? Check out these quirky winter sports. You know what they say, right? When the snow falls, nature listens!

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Debashree Chakraborty

A travel writer by profession and self-professed addict to literature and travelling. Go through her penned down travel experiences on indianholiday.com