6 Relatively Unknown Winter Sports

Everyone knows about traditional winter sports and we all know how expensive they can be.  Why not try something new this winter and save a little money in the process!?

1. Skijoring (or just try dog sledding)!

Do you have a dog at home?  Is your dog a little overweight?  If you said yes to both those questions, then we have a great winter activity for you and the entire family! Joking aside, Skijoring is actually a thing.

If this ever becomes an Olympic sport, these two are ready to go!

Skijoring was said to have derived from a Scandinavian sport called Pulk, where an animal or a person would pull a sled full of supplies.  Pulk later developed into Skijoring, a sport enjoyed recreationally and competitively, where a dog or horse pulls a cross country skier.  Think water skiing, but instead of a boat, there is a dog pulling you.  Today Skijorning competitions have become famous in in many countries where it snows.

If you want to try Skijoring just organize a home exchange in one of these areas of the world: Norway, Quebec region Canada, and south east France.

2. Snow Kayaking

Snow Kayaking, a very new sport, has only “officially” been around since the 21st century. I am sure we can all agree that kayaks probably make for some good sledding.  No longer are kayaks bound to the water, snow kayaking (A.K.A. Snow-boating) is now a winter sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Right idea, but too many trees!
Kayaks, the ultimate all terrain vehicles!

Organize a home exchange in the foothills of the Alps to enjoy some intense snow kayaking.

3. Cross-Country Skiing

An oldy, but a goody, cross country skiing is perfect for winter wonderland exploring.  Commonly used as a method of transportation, cross country skiing can also be a fun recreational activity. Put on some skis, grab your poles and go explore different winter terrains, the options are endless.

He probably could have used the metro, but I admire his determination!

Check out these locations near the Alps for good cross-country skiing.

4. Ice Fishing

A little dangerous, but perfect for people that suffer from sea sickness yet still love to fish. It may be cold, but ice fishing can be quite relaxing.  There are even certain places that have heated enclosures around the ice hole, so you can sit back and relax this winter while trying to catch some fish.

It might be better to ice fish on a lake!
It might be better to ice fish on a lake!

Organize a home exchange near Lake Vonnes in France or check out one of the many frozen lake fishing spots in Finland.

5. Polar bear swimming

Contrary to what you are thinking, this is does not mean swimming with Polar bears!  I assure you that if you swim with polar bears there is a high probability that you will not live to tell your crazy, but interesting tale.  Polar bear swimming is simply swimming in a body of cold water.  Some people do it for fundraising events and in some places around the world it is even a tradition, whatever your reason…try it!

Polar bear swimming
This man is a beast and can probably survive a swim with polar bears.

To enjoy polar bear swimming you just need cold water, but some areas are more popular than others.  Organize a home exchange near Lake Ontario or in Upper Normandy near Calais, France, where large groups of people gather every year to take the plunge!

6. Yukigassen

A little difficult to pronounce the name of the next activity on our list, but that could be because it originates in Japan.  So what is Yukigassen?  Imagine a game that mixes dodge ball and capture the flag, but played in the snow and your ammunition is snowballs.  I know, pretty much the dream sport of everyone’s inner-child.

The perfect Yukigassen camouflage.
The perfect Yukigassen camouflage.

Yukigassen is not just play time in the snow, it’s a serious athletic competition governed by the Japan Yukigassen Federation.  The game is played on a field of officially set dimensions and their are two teams made up of 7 players each.

The popularity of Yukigassen continues to grow and can be played in many different countries around the world.  The official Championship is held in Japan, but you can find other matches anywhere it is cold.

If none of the sports we talked about in this article interest you, don’t worry, we have one final crazy winter sport that not many people have heard of and that I am sure will be a huge hit this winter season…SKIING! 🙂  And while it might be a little expensive for ski rentals and lift tickets, at least you will save loads of money by organizing a home exchange with GuesttoGuest!