Keeping fit and healthy over the winter months is as easy as participating in a winter sport. It is not difficult to find a program to learn the skills that interest you. The following winter Olympic sports can be fun to learn, and you may discover a talent you were previously unaware of!
Cross Country Skiing
Excellent aerobic exercise that can be done almost anywhere, cross-country skiing is not difficult to learn. There are programs for adaptive skiing as well. Contact http://nordic.usskiteam.com/nordic/cross-country-programs to find a program that fits your needs.
Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding
If you live near mountains, chances are there is a ski area there. Contact them to find out what instruction they offer. Most have beginner classes in skiing and snowboarding. You can rent the necessary equipment there as well. Larger resorts also have instruction in half-pipe, moguls, and freestyle.
The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the governing body for competition in these sports. You can find more information on their website http://ussa.org/about
Bobsledding and Skeleton
Bobsledding and skeleton each use a specific sled to maneuver down an ice track. Special training is required do to the speed and danger involved.
Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, New York host the only tracks in the United States. Each offers a chance to try these sports, and training programs for those interested in competing. http://bobsled.teamusa.org/resources/programs
Another form of sledding, the United State Luge team has its headquarters in Lake Placid, New York. Sponsored by Verizon, they host several events at different ski areas for people who want to try the sport. Call (518) 523 – 2071, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://usaluge.org/ for more information.
A simple online search of ‘ice skating (your location)’ will give a list of local rinks. Contact the one near you to ask about learn to skate programs, hockey training programs, and public skating times. They may even offer skate rentals for a small fee.
Information for competitions and clubs:
- Long track and Short track speed skating: www.usspeedskating.org
- Figure Skating (singles, pairs, and ice dancing): www.usfsa.org
- Hockey: www.usahockey.com
Originating in Scotland in the 16th century, curling became a winter Olympic sport in 1998. It consists of hurling a 42-pound granite rock across ice to score points. Managed by the United States Curling Association, a list of clubs can be found at http://www.usacurl.org/usacurl//index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=9&Itemid=44
All of these sports offer a chance to try before making a major investment in equipment. Getting involved in a winter sport not only provides personal fitness over the winter months, but also a sense of adventure. There is no need to be stuck indoors when there are so many options to enjoy the great outdoors in the sport of your choice.