You might not recognize all of these Canadian winter sports.
Oh Canada, our cold and wintry land. Given the abundance of ice and snow we get, it’s no surprise that winter is incorporated into many of our sports activities. There’s a wide range of winter sports practiced by Canadians during the chillier months of the year, including some that everyone recognizes such as ice hockey, skiing, and snowboarding. This list, however, is dedicated to the ones you are less likely to know about — the more unusual winter sports activities. Check out the below compilation of ten unique winter sports that you can find in Canada.
1. Dog sledding
In dog sledding, a pack of dogs are tied together (often in pairs) to pull a sled through the snow. This practice was originally developed by Canada’s northern Indigenous people as an efficient mode of transportation to get people and goods across snow-covered terrain during the winter, but nowadays it’s been converted into a primarily recreational activity.
2. Ice fishing
Ice fishing is quite similar to regular fishing, except, as the name suggests, the water is frozen. When going ice fishing, you’ll definitely want to layer up, and don’t forget to bring some extra equipment since you’ll most likely have to drill a hole in the ice.
Snowshoeing started as a way for people in Canada to get around in areas with deep snowfall, but now it’s mainly recreational. It’s popular and easy to pick up, all you need is a pair of snowshoes and warm clothes and you’re good to go. But make sure you learn how to get back up if you fall!
Skijoring is reminiscent of dog sledding, except instead of a sled, the participant uses a pair of skis to slide through the snow. Furthermore, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog pulling you — it could be a horse or vehicle, or maybe even a cat?
5. Sledding / Tobogganing
Sledding and tobogganing are extremely popular and accessible Canadian winter activities, the main difference between the two being the type of sled used (toboggans have no runners while a sled does). There are also related winter sliding sports such as luge, skeleton, and bobsled, all of which appear in the Winter Olympics.
6. Ice Climbing
Climbing a mountain is one thing, ice climbing, however, is on a whole other level, and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Ice climbers scale anything from frozen waterfalls to ice-covered rock walls. This thrilling activity is challenging and technical, but it’s great for adrenaline junkies. You’d absolutely need to learn to use the proper equipment and techniques before you participate.
To snowkite, you use a kite propelled by the wind to glide through winter terrain. It is similar to kiteboarding/kitesurfing, although snowkiting takes place on snow or ice instead of on water, and it requires the equipment needed for snowboarding or skiing.
As the name surely gives away, iceboating consists of sailing a boat over ice. The specifically-designed boat has thin metal skates/runners on the bottom, one of which is steerable, and the vessel’s movement is powered by the wind. Iceboats can reach speeds of over 200 km per hour, even faster than the velocity of the wind propelling them.
A snowmobile is a motorized vehicle built to travel through snow thanks to its skis at the front and drive belt at the back. It’s not unusual to see snowmobiles driven in Canada during the winter months as a method of transportation, for hunting and trapping, and as a form of winter recreation.
One of the more “common” winter sports on the list, curling is huge in Canada. It’s a unique team sport where players slide ‘stones’ across the ice towards a target area (known as a ‘house’) in an attempt to keep them near the centre and accumulate the highest score. As of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Canada has the most Olympic medals in curling.
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