Expectedly, the winter months can be a challenging season for athletes and people with active lifestyles. For anyone, really, but let’s talk fitness today. Obviously, it’s a bit harder to stay motivated in under-the-blanket weather, and snow can make roads and trails riskier or even impassable. However, says the active woman, snow is no excuse to stay indoors.
If you’re the type of gal who will not let a few billion snowflakes stop the sweat, here are some adventurous sports you can get into this winter, plus a bonus of new snow sports to try out. So let’s gear up (layers, ladies!) and step out into the cold.
Women and Winter Sports
Snowboarding can be both competitive and recreational, and it takes a real adventurous spirit. Snowboarding involves going down a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard typically attached to the rider’s footwear. Snowboarding made its debut in the Winter Olympics at Nagano in 1998, with men’s and women’s events for halfpipe and giant slalom.
Essentially, this is dancing on ice. It is elegant and graceful, and it might seem easy to some, but know that Figure Skating is a sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform on ice doing jumps, spins, step sequences, and spirals while wearing figure skates. Figure skates should be distinguished from ice hockey skates in that the front side of the figure skates’ blades have a set of large, jagged edges called toe picks used primarily for jumping.
Figure skating was the first winter sport to be included in the Olympics. It was a part of the 1908 Summer Olympics in London and the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp before it was finally introduced into the Winter Olympics.
Also known as downhill skiing, Alpine skiing entails sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis. Unlike cross-country, ski jumping, or Telemark (which all use skis with free-heel bindings), Alpine skiing requires fixed-heel bindings. Whether you’re into skiing for recreation or sport, skiing is typically (and ideally) practiced at manned ski resorts.
Skiing requires more specialized gear such as boots, gloves, goggles, outerwear (ideally an Arcteryx ski jacket), and a helmet. The world’s youngest Olympic skier was Seba Johnson. Hailing from the US Virgin Islands, Seba was 14 when she competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.
New Snow Sports to Try
If you’re more “been there, done that” on those more popular winter sports, below are some snow sports you might want to try for the first time if you haven’t before. These alternative winter sports will surely keep you outdoors and in great shape well into springtime.
Fat biking. Fat bikes are bicycles fitted with large forks and distinctly fat tires. These were first invented for Alaskans, so they were able to move about town on bicycles. However, the recent years saw winter biking turning into more of a recreation than a necessity. Fat bikes have increased in popularity among the Midwesterners as their landscape isn’t too ideal for skiing. Out in the Midwest, the long trails and icy lakes lend themselves nicely to wintertime cycling using fat bikes.
Ice Boating. Winter sailors refer to frozen lakes as “hard water.” Instead of a keel, their ice boats are built with runners and go sailing across hard water. Ice boating is theoretically the same as regular sailing, though the laws of physics governing ice boating are slightly different. Ice boaters typically sail within the 55 MPH range, but speeds of more than 100 MPH have been recorded for some practitioners.
Shovel Racing. It’s exactly what it sounds like: participants slide downhill on a shovel, using its handle to steer the “vehicle.” Shovel racing began as an efficient way for ski-lift operators to travel downhill once the lifts have closed for the day, but it has evolved to becoming a (somewhat legitimate) sport in itself. In 1997, shovel racing was a part of the Winter X Games, although briefly. The next time you visit a ski resort with friends and family, you may want to race your way downhill after you hit the slopes.
Not many know that women were actually barred from competing in the ancient Olympics. Fortunately, it’s an entirely different story in this day and age when women actually dominate certain sports in the Olympics. It’s been found that women active in sports develop improved confidence and self-esteem while lowering the risks for depression. Likewise, women who play sports have been found to have a more positive body image and healthy psychological well-being than those who don’t. So, what’s a little snow, right ladies?