Imagine inventing a sport that’s played on ice. But it doesn’t involve skating, hockey sticks or pucks. Instead, you push a heavy, polished disk of granite forward while your teammates frantically sweeping the ice in a desperate attempt to clean it as quickly as possible. Because nobody wants to walk around on dirty sheets of ice, right? And then something dumb happens or whatever and everybody cheers. Congratulations! You have just given birth to curling! Personally, I’m all for pointless sports that take a lot of skill and training and which result in an Olympic medal at best, but in 99% of cases a firm handshake for your efforts. In fact, here are a few more weird sports that should merit Winter Olympic consideration.
1. Snow Kiting
Picture water-based kiteboarding. Now imagine wearing skis or snowboarding footwear and being able to travel uphill or downhill with the help of the wind. That’s what snowkiting is all about. The sport began to develop in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that it really began to gain attention. If this description has suddenly inspired you to give this sport a try, be aware that it’s the most dangerous activity on our list. In particular, if you’re riding on sleep slopes blocked winds and turbulence can cause the kite to behave erratically and even send you crashing to the ground far below.
2. Dog Sled Racing
Ever dream of asking your dog, “Who’s a good Olympic gold medalist, huh? Who’s a good Olympic gold medalist? Yes, you are!” Dog sled racing is one of the paths that can turn this dream into a reality. In fact, this sport has found its way into the Winter Olympics as a demonstration sport on three occasions (most recently during the 1994 games in Lillehammer, Norway), but there don’t seem to be very many people who are hankering for it to receive official event status.
3. Ice Karting
Whether you’re a professional racer or a casual enthusiast, karting is a hell of a lot of fun. What could possible beat zooming your way through a quarter-mile track against your friends in a tiny little machine? Well, how about doing it on a frozen lake? Ice karting involves all of fun of regular karting, but with more slipping and sliding. If any sport deserves Olympic consideration, this should be the one.
Take something like a volleyball or soccer ball. Grab some brooms. Attempt to whack the ball into the goal net. This is basically the kind of game that your PE teacher would throw together. While it is played on a hockey rink, it doesn’t involve ice skates and therefore doesn’t require you to know how to skate. There is some controversy over who actually invented the game. Canada says they did. Sweden takes exception to that claim. The only way to really settle this argument is through a game of broomball, we suppose.
5. Snow Kayaking
Snow kayaking is exactly like water kayaking, but – get this – it’s on snow instead!!! Hope that wasn’t too difficult to explain. There isn’t a hell of a lot more to say about this sport other than the fact that it sounds like a stunt that they would have done on MTV’s Jackass way back when.
6. Ski ballet
Creating a ski ballet was pure, unadulterated lunacy. It featured skiers doing these choreographed 2-minute routines down slopes while flipping, prancing and doing pirouettes to music. Ski ballet actually did make it as far as a demonstration sport at the 1988 games in Seoul, but the results were so disastrous that by 2000 the International Ski Federation had discontinued all formal competitions under its flag altogether.
7. Snow Polo
At first, I assumed this was like water polo but with athletes diving around in snow, and that thought got me excited! But no, it’s actually the horse kind of polo. But colder and snowier. Consequently, St. Moritz, Switzerland has been hosting the pre-eminent snow polo tournament since 1985, so it has something of a following.
8. Ice Climbing
Ice climbing became an officially sanctioned sport in 2002, making it a relatively new sport. Unlike the other sports on this list, ice climbing would actually make perfect sense as an Olympic event. It’s basically like attempting a 100 meter sprint, but doing it vertically. It requires strength, precision, and nerves of steel. Of course, it would also be kind of cool if they had to allude somebody whose job it was to yank them off the ice American Gladiators-style.
This is another sport that is fairly self-explanatory. You grab some skis, latch yourself to the back of a truck, horse or a pair of dogs, and do all sorts of ski-related things like navigating around slalom gates, doing jumps, and all that good stuff. It sounds like an idea that somebody would come up with while drunk, basically.
10. Polar Bear Swimming
If you were hoping this sport involved actual polar bears taking part in swimming events, sorry to burst your bubble. We’re talking about Olympic athletes swimming across icy lakes. It’s all about doing the polar bear plunge, but getting rewarded with a medal for being faster than the rest of the insane competitors.