A winter sport or winter activity is a recreational activity or sport which is played on snow or ice. Traditionally such sports were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and artificial ice allow more flexibility. On this page, you can see the top 10 list of popular winter sports in the world.
10 Ski Jumping
Ski jumping is a winter sport in which competitors aim to achieve the longest jump after descending from a specially designed ramp on their skis. Along with jump length, competitors’ style and other factors affect the final score. Ski jumping was first contested in Norway in the late 19th century and later spread through Europe and North America in the early 20th century. Along with cross-country skiing, it constitutes the traditional group of Nordic skiing disciplines.
Ski jumping has been included at the Winter Olympics since 1924 and the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships since 1925. Women’s participation in the sport began in the 1990s, while the first women’s event at the Olympics has been held in 2014. All major ski jumping competitions are organised by the International Ski Federation. Stefan Kraft holds the official record for the world’s longest ski jump with 253.5 metres (832 ft), set on the ski flying hill in Vikersund in 2017.
9 Alpine Skiing
Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, unlike other types of skiing (cross-country, Telemark, or ski jumping), which use skis with free-heel bindings. Whether for recreation or sport, it is typically practised at ski resorts, which provide such services as ski lifts, artificial snowmaking, snow grooming, restaurants, and ski patrol.
Skiing changed from a method of transportation into a sporting activity during the late 19th century. The first non-military skiing competitions are reported to have been held in the 1840s in northern and central Norway. The first national skiing competition in Norway, held in the capital Christiania (now Oslo) and won by Sondre Norheim, in 1868, is regarded as the beginning of a new era of skiing enthusiasm. A few decades later, the sport spread to the remainder of Europe and to the US, where miners held skiing competitions to entertain themselves during the winter. The first slalom competition was organised by Sir Arnold Lunn in 1922 in Mürren, Switzerland.
Men’s and women’s alpine skiing both debuted on the Olympic programme in 1936 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The only event that year was a combined competition of both downhill and slalom. In 1948, this was held along with separate downhill and slalom races. Four years later the giant slalom was added and in 1988 the super giant slalom became a fourth separate event.
8 Freestyle Skiing
Freestyle skiing is a skiing discipline comprising aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe and slopestyle as part of the Winter Olympics. It can consist of a skier performing aerial flips and spins and can include skiers sliding rails and boxes on their skis. It is also commonly referred to as freeskiing, jibbing, as well as many other names around the world.
The first competitions, which included alpine skiing and acrobatic events, were held in Attis, NH, in 1966 thanks to the efforts of Norwegian Stein Eriksen, who is considered the father of freestyle. Eriksen is an Olympic champion and three-time world champion in alpine skiing.
In the 1960s the new popular skiing discipline was known in the US as “hot doggin.” Back at the time it had no clear rules and was quite dangerous.
Freestyle history as we know the sport today started in 1971 when the state of New Hampshire in the US held the first official competitions.
In 1978, the International Skiing Federation officially recognized freestyle and formulated official rules aimed at making this kind of skiing safer.
The Freestyle Cup has been held since 1978. The first world championship was held in France in 1986. In 1988 freestyle appeared as an exhibition sport in the program of the Olympic Games. Mogul skiing was introduced into the Olympic program in 1992, aerial acrobatics — in 1994, ski crossing — in 2010, half-pipe and slope-pipe — in 2014.
Edgar Grospiron from France became the first Olympic champion in mogul skiing, and American Donna Winebrecht became the first champion among women.
7 Figure skating
Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport included in the Olympics, in 1908. The four Olympic disciplines are men’s singles, ladies singles, pair skating, and ice dance. Non-Olympic disciplines include synchronized skating, Theater on Ice, and four skatings. From novice through senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs (short and free skating) which, depending on the discipline, may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other elements or moves.
Snowboarding is a recreational activity and Olympic and Paralympic sport that involves descending a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard attached to a rider’s feet.
The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledging, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the United States in the 1960s, became a Winter Olympic Sport at Nagano in 1998 and first featured in the Winter Paralympics at Sochi in 2014. Its popularity (as measured by equipment sales) in the United States peaked in 2007 and has been in a decline since.
Hockey is a sport in which two teams play against each other by trying to manoeuvre a ball or a puck into the opponent’s goal using a hockey stick. There are many types of hockey such as bandy, field hockey and ice hockey.
In most of the world, hockey refers to field hockey, while in Canada, the United States, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, hockey usually refers to ice hockey.
Games played with curved sticks and a ball can be found in the histories of many cultures. In Egypt, 4000-year-old carvings feature teams with sticks and a projectile, hurling dates to before 1272 BC in Ireland, and there is a depiction from approximately 600 BC in Ancient Greece, where the game may have been called kerētízein or (κερητίζειν) because it was played with a horn or horn-like stick (kéras, κέρας). In Inner Mongolia, the Daur people have been playing beikou, a game similar to modern field hockey, for about 1,000 years.
Bobsleigh or bobsled is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sleigh. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score.
Competition naturally followed, and to protect the working class and rich visitors in the streets and byways of St Moritz, bobsledding was eventually banned from the public highway. In the winter of 1903/1904 the Badrutt family, owners of the historic Kulm Hotel and the Palace Hotel, allowed Emil Thoma to organise the construction of the first familiarly configured ‘half-pipe’ track in the Kulm Hotel Park, ending in the village of Cresta. It has hosted the sport during two Olympics and is still in use today.
Although sledding on snow or ice had long been popular in many northern countries, the origins of bobsleighing as a modern sport are relatively recent. Its foundation began when hotelier Caspar Badrutt (1848–1904) convinced some English regulars to remain through the entire winter at his hotel in the mineral spa town of St. Moritz, Switzerland. Keeping them entertained with food, alcohol, and activities, he quickly established the concept of “winter resorting”. Badrutt has done it because he was annoyed his regular English clientele were only staying at his hotel during the summer months. It only took a couple of years for wintering at Badrutt’s St Moritz hotel to become very fashionable in Victorian Britain. But increased numbers led some guests to search for new diversions. In the early 1870s, some adventurous English guests began adapting boys’ delivery sleds for recreational purposes. However, they soon began colliding with pedestrians in the icy lanes, alleyways and roads of St Moritz.
Guests soon began to invent “steering means” for the sleds. This led to the development of the bobsleigh (bobsled): two cresta’s (skeleton sleds) attached with a board that had a steering mechanism at the front. However, the impetus to steer the sleds permitted longer runs through the town. Longer runs also meant higher speeds on curves. Local sentiments varied about these informal competitions but eventually, complaints grew so vociferous that Badrutt was forced to take action. His solution was to build a basic natural ice run for his guests near the town. Badrutt had worked hard to popularize wintering in the mountain resort and was worried customers would stop coming due to boredom. He also did not want to make enemies in the town from locals injured by bobsleds. He opened the world’s first natural ice half-pipe track in the late 1870s.
3 Short Track Speed Skating
Short track speed skating is a form of competitive ice speed skating. In competitions, multiple skaters (typically between four and six) skate on an oval ice track with a length of 111.12 metres (364.6 ft). The rink itself is 60 metres (200 ft) long by 30 metres (98 ft) wide, which is the same size as an Olympic-sized figure skating rink and an international-sized ice hockey rink. Short track speed skating is the sister sport too long track speed skating and the cousin sport to inline speed skating.
Skeleton is a winter sliding sport in which a person rides a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled (or -sleigh), down a frozen track while lying face down and head-first. The sport and the sledge may have been named from the bony appearance of the sledge.
Unlike other sliding sports of bobsleigh and luge, the race always involves single riders. Like bobsleigh, but unlike luge, the race begins with a running start from the opening gate at the top of the course. The skeleton sledge is thinner and heavier than the luge sledge, plus the skeleton gives the rider more control making it safer than luge. Skeleton is the slowest of the three sliding sports, as skeleton’s face down head-first riding position is less aerodynamic than luge’s face up, feet-first ride.
Previously, skeleton appeared in the Olympic program in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1928 and again in 1948. It was added permanently to the Olympic program for the 2002 Winter Olympics, at which stage a women’s race was added.
A luge /luːʒ/ is a small one- or two-person sled on which one sled supine (face up) and feet-first. A luger steers by using their calf muscles to flex the sledge’s runners or by exerting opposite shoulder pressure to the seat. Racing sledges weigh 21–25 kg (46–55 lb) for singles and 25–30 kg (55–66 lb) for doubles. Luge is also the name of an Olympic sport.
Lugers can reach speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph). Austrian Manuel Pfister reached a top speed of 154 km/h (96 mph) on a track in Whistler, Canada, prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Lugers compete against a timer in one of the most precisely timed sports in the world—to one one-thousandth of a second on artificial tracks.
The first recorded use of the term “luge” dates to 1905 and derives from the Savoy/Swiss dialect of the French word luge, meaning “small coasting sledge.”