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5 Unique Winter Sports to Try This Season

Guest Blogger




Just because the cold sets in, doesn’t mean the loss of the gym routine is inevitable. With a little pre-planning and season-specific clothing, the snow is the perfect medium for a variety of challenging winter sports.


Fat bikes have rolled into the biking realm and are only gaining in popularity due to the versatility of the bike design. Created by enthusiasts looking to cover ground on soft conditions like snow and sand, the fat bike with its oversized frame, large tires and lugs allows for riding all year round opening up the winter trails on land and frozen water for endless biking. Bikers can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour while enjoying their own winter wonderland. Most bike shops now include them in rentals as well as many local nordic centers.


Ski mountaineering also known as ski-rando racing or ski touring, involves racing uphill and down through a course set in mountainous or hilly terrain. Racers compete on skinny, light race skis with synthetic skins attached to the bottom of the ski allowing the racer to “ski” uphill, and are ripped off for the descent portion of the event. The sports origins hail from the European patrolling of the Alps and their mountainous borders. Inter-military competitions caught everyone’s attention and now the sport is growing worldwide with the recent inclusion into the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. Governed in the U.S by the United States Ski Mountaineering Association, the sport is rapidly gaining in popularity. In addition to an excellent workout it allows for beautiful exploration of the backcountry created by mountain professionals. Races come in all different distances and elevation gains, with evening climbs uphill being the most popular for beginners. If racing against the clock isn’t appealing, slow it down and just go for a tour with a local professional.


Channel your inner “nordork” and take a Nordic ski lesson. Nordic skiing comes in two lung-busting styles, classic and skate style. Classic style conjures up old-school images with skis gliding forward through a snowy wood or on grooved trails around nordic centers (many golf courses double as nordic centers in winter). Skate skiing resembles actual skating with the skis pushing side to side diagonally on wider, groomed trails. Deemed as one of the toughest cardio workouts out there, both offer an excellent workout guaranteed to keep you warm. Lessons are a good idea as proper technique and balance can save energy and are offered at most nordic centers.


If Nordic skiing sounds like a good idea but maybe too much work, skijoring might be the perfect solution. Skijouring (sled driving in Norwegian) is a cross between dogsledding and cross-country skiing. The sport involves being towed by harness on skis, by horse or more commonly by dog. Not only is it a great way to bond with Fido, it also guarantees both human and canine a great workout outside. Don’t kid yourself, the dog doesn’t do all the work, skier momentum is a requirement! The sport has firmly entrenched itself into winter culture with a World Ski Joining Championships being held in Whitefish

Montana, and an annual event in Leadville, Colorado. There is even an IFSS, the International Federation of Sleddog Sports. Skijoringusa offers a list of clubs and more information on getting involved. Expertise in nordic skiing is not required, nor is a horse-sized dog. Any pooch that meets the weigh requirement can become a skijourdog.


The 2018 Olympics are just around the corner and since its televised reappearance in the Games, curling is ever increasing in popularity. The unique sport involves sliding large stones weighing 44 pounds across a sheet of pebbled ice towards a target 150 feet away. Played into teams of four, it requires a deceiving amount of skill and ability for accurate throws. Players use a broom to propel the stone along the curling sheet by scrubbing vigorously in front of the stone. Check USA curling for a list of clubs nationwide.


Sure, skiing, snowboarding and sledding are always fun activities in the snowy winter months. This year, step out of your comfort zone and give these unique sports a try! Let us know how it goes.


All content provided in this blog is supplied by Lyndsay Meyer and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.


Image credit: iStock

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Professional skier, adventurer and multi-sport gal who trave...