Winter sport

Ski resort Jasná in Central Slovakia

A winter sport or winter activity is a recreational activity or sport which is played on snow or ice.[1] Most such sports are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally such sports were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and artificial ice allow more flexibility. Artificial ice can be used to provide ice rinks for ice skating, ice hockey and bandy in a milder climate.

Common individual sports include cross-country skiing, Alpine skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, speed skating, figure skating, luge, skeleton, bobsleigh and snowmobiling. Common team sports include ice hockey, curling and bandy. Based on the number of participants, ice hockey is by far the world's most popular winter sport, followed by bandy.[2] Winter sports often have their own multi-sport tournaments, such as the Winter Olympic Games.


Snow and ice during the wintertime has led to other means of transportation, such as sledges, skis and skates. This also led to different pastimes and sports being developed in the winter season as compared to other times of the year. Naturally, winter sports are more popular in countries with longer winter seasons.

While most winter sports are played outside, ice hockey, speed skating and to some extent bandy have moved indoors starting in the mid-20th century. Indoor ice rinks with artificial ice allow ice skating and hockey to be played in hot climates.

List of winter sports

Note: the Olympic rings next to a sport indicates that this particular sport is included in the Winter Olympic Games, as of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Paralympic logo indicates the same for a sport not in the Olympics but in the Winter Paralympic Games.

Ice skating


United States biathlete Jeremy Teela at the 2002 Winter Olympics.


An East German bobsleigh in 1951, Oberhof track, Germany

Sports that use sleds going down ice tracks or pulled by something:



A snowmobile tour at Yellowstone National Park.
  • Free style
  • Snocross
  • Recreation
  • Cross-country
  • Hill climbing

Team sports

Based on the number of participating athletes, bandy is the second most popular winter sport in the world

Other sports

Recreational sports


Some 'sports' are competed (or simply enjoyed) on a more casual basis, often by children:

Notable winter sporting events

A postage stamp with a blue background and two figure skaters skating, the date 1968 is centered on the top of the stamp along with the Olympic rings. The word "Winterspiele" is written down the right side, the words "X Olympische" are written down the left side. The number 25 is in the lower left corner and the letters "DDR" are in the lower right corner
A postage stamp issued by East Germany in 1968 in commemoration of their first Winter Olympics as an independent country under a communist regime

World Cup

World Championship

See also


  1. "winter sports, noun". Chambers 21st Century Dictionary. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  2. "Cross country for the Winter Olympics". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. "Snow Bowling". Strictly Snow Games. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  4. "Snow Golf". Strictly Snow Games. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  • Syers, Edgar; Syers, Madge (eds.) (1908) The Book of Winter Sports London: Edward Arnold OCLC 4531800
  • Dier, J. C. (ed.) (1912) The Book of Winter Sports, an attempt to catch the spirit of the keen joys of the winter season The Macmillan Company
  • Jessup, Elon Huntington (1923) Snow and ice sports: a winter manual E. P. Dutton & company
  • Cereghini (1955) Five Thousand Years of Winter Sports Edizioni del Milione
  • Liebers, Arthur (1971) The Complete Book of Winter Sports NY: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan
  • "Winter Sports: Sport guides". BBC Online. 20 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
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