10 Winter Games You May Not Have Heard Of

Image Credit: mentalfloss.com

The 2018 Winter Olympics is currently underway, and there is no better time to delve into the world of winter games. Sure, everyone knows of figure skating, cross-country skiing, and ice hockey, but what about skijoring, ice stock sport, and skeleton? Never heard of them? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Now’s your chance to learn more about winter games!

1) Skijoring

What it is: Skiing while being pulled by horse or dog
Status: Not an Olympic Game
Demonstrations: 1982 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: Shih Tzus can participate in this sport

Skier Amy David, Cowgirl Jessie Ann Chrisman, and the flying horse
Image Credit: theinertia.com

2) Freestyle Skiing

What it is: Perform aerial acrobatics while freely gliding down a slope (Further divided into 5 sub-categories)
Status: Olympic Game
Debut: 1988 as demonstration; 1992 as competitive event
Fun fact: It is also known as “hot dog” skiing

Image Credit: blog.columbia.com

3) Luge

What it is: Sledding face-up and feet-first down a slippery ice track at a speed of about 140 km/h, relying on reflexes for steering
Status: Olympic Game
Debut: 1964 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: You can’t brake when on a luge

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Image Credit: japantimes.co.jp

4) Nordic Combined

What it is: A combination of ski jumping and cross-country skiing
Status: Olympic Game
Debut: 1924 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: Since its debut, Nordic Combined events have been featured in every Winter Games till today

Image Credit: olympicchannel.com

5) Skeleton

What it is: The same thing as luge, except that skiing is done head-first and on your belly
Status: Olympic Game
Debut: 1928 Winter Olympics; but only a permanent fixture since the 2002 Winter Olympics
Fun Fact: The USA has won most medals in this sport compared to other countries

Image Credit: thrillist.com

6) Ski Ballet (Acroski)

What it is: A choreographed set of movements performed on a gentle slope with skis and to music, including stunts with ski poles
Status: Not an Olympic Game
Demonstration: 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: It was never an event by itself, but it was one of the events under Freestyle Skiing till 2002

Cathy Fechoz of France does performs during the ski ballet competition at the Olympic Games in Albertville, France.
Image Credit: cbc.ca

7) Ice Stock Sport

What it is: Sliding ice stocks over an ice surface, either to cover the longest distance, or to aim for a target (Similar to curling but the “stocks” are heavier and have a stick attached)
Status: Not an Olympic Game
Demonstration: 1936 and 1964 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: Even though it’s called “ice stock sport”, but it can also be played on tarmac without an ice surface

Image Credit: alpenblick-lofer.at

8) Sled Dog Racing (Mushing)

What it is: Dogs pulling a sled to complete a race course in the shortest period of time
Status: Not an Olympic Game
Demonstration: 1932, 1952 and 1994 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: The dog team members have specific names based on their position: lead dogs, swing dogs, team dogs, and wheel dogs

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Image Credit: daysoftheyear.com

9) Synchronised Skating

What it is: Figure skaters that form a team of 8-20 people skating together as one unit, and includes lifts, stunts, and formations (Synchronised swimming but on ice)
Status: Not an Olympic Game
Demonstration: 2002 Winter Olympics (May or may not be accurate as sources differ on this information)
Fun fact: It is a relatively “young” sport as it was created by Richard Porter in 1956, 62 years ago

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Image Credit: isu.org

10) Speed Skiing

What it is: Skiing downhill in a straight line as fast as possible
Status: Not an Olympic Game
Demonstration: 1992 Winter Olympics
Fun fact: It is one of the fastest, non-motorised sports on land, with the record being at 252.6 km/h

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Image Credit: speed-ski.com