Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Some winter sports are just plain odd. Whether for humor or to add local color, wacky winter sports definitely add to winter sports culture. Here is a brief sample of some of the strange winter sporting events that abound:
Polar Bear Clubs:
This is a dip into a lake that is frozen on top. A hole is drilled into the ice, or a large area of ice is removed from a frozen lake. People then take turns jumping into the icy waters. Often, very little clothing is worn. this is probably wise since after you get out, you would be wearing cold, wet clothing and dropping your body temperature even more. Some people who do this do it for the thrill of taking a risk, and others believe that a quick dip in icy waters will stimulate your immune system. Polar bear club contests are held in the Great Lakes states, Canada and Alaska throughout the winter months.
Outhouses are placed on skis and raced down a slope. Bets are sometimes held to see which outhouse crosses the finish line first. Teams will decorate their own outhouses and race them against each other, similar to slotcars. In Alaska, Outhouse Races are held during Anchorages' Fur Rendesvous winter festival, and in Fairbanks at the Chatanika outhouse races. For the Chatanika version, five-person teams race the outhouse, with one person riding inside, and four people pushing the outhouse down the racing track. Outhouse races are great spectator sports, often generating stories you can share at parties for years!
For those of you who used a shovel for a makeshift sled, you may be surprised to know that Shovel racing actually has a championship! In Angel Fire, New Mexico, every February a World Championship shovel racing competition is held. Different categories allow racers to go down on a basic shovel, or to use specially modified shovels that have attached skis and high-tech modifications to gain even greater speeds.
If the cool wind through your hair isn't enough for you in the summer months when bicycling, you can always try snow biking. Once snow reaches a couple of feet, you won't be able to bike through it. Still, there are those out there who race bicycles on ice or through snow.
These sports just prove that boredom can be busted anytime of year! If you are looking for something new to do, why not try to come up with your own wacky winter sports - feel free to share your ideas and experiences in the winter sports forum!