Winter sports

Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sports or non-competitive recreational activities which are played on snow or ice.[1] Most are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally, such games 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, ski orienteering 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 have their own multi-sport events, such as the Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Universiade.


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.

Outdoor winter sports will likely be severely impacted because of climate change in the next century.[3]

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



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



  • Free style
  • Snocross
  • Recreation
  • Cross-country
  • Hill climbing

Team sports

Other sports


Recreational sports

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

Notable winter sporting events

World Cup

World championships

See also


  1. "winter sports, noun". Chambers 21st Century Dictionary. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Climate Change and Winter Sports: Environmental and Economic Threats
  4. "Cross country for the Winter Olympics". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. "Snow Bowling". Strictly Snow Games. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  6. "Snow Golf". Strictly Snow Games. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
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