Winter sports
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • The main forms of winter sports covered here are skiing, snow boarding and tobogganing.  Ice skating is covered under skating. There are also other more localised winter sports such as curling (popular in Scotland). 

  • These sports comprise a number of different activities under the general heading.  More detailed information on each of them can be obtained from the specialist organisations listed below.  

  • Winter sports have in common the requirement of a surface of snow or ice on which to take part.  Traditionally they have been done outdoors, in the winter in a cold or high altitude area.  But indoor ice rinks were established many years ago, and recent years have seen the development of artificial surfaces and artificial snow for skiing and snow boarding.  

  • Much of the activity is fairly informal and for pleasure, often done on holiday.  But there is an important competitive element in all winter sports.

Find out more


British Bobsleigh Association
British Curling Association  01772 634154
Great Britain Luge Association 
British Ski & Snowboard Federation
English Ski Council  0121 501 2314
Ski Club of Great Britain


Daily Mail Ski & Snowboard Magazine 
Good Ski Guide 
Ski and Board 
Ski 'n' Ice 
The Skier and Snowboarder Magazine 
The Scottish Curler 

Getting started

  • Find a local winter sports group or club (see organisations above).

  • See if there are introductory sessions at your local club or ski centre.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of winter sports and the specialist holidays you can take.

  • Check in your local library/paper or travel agent for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Winter sports are fairly active and involve some degree of skill, but they can be done by people of most ages and both sexes, providing they have the minimum degree of physical fitness. 

  • With the exception of curling, which is team game, you can do all forms of winter sport on your own.  But many people choose to go skiing or snowboarding with friends or family, particularly when on holiday.  Some tobogganing is done in two or four person sleighs.  

  • You may prefer to share these activities with people  of roughly the same standard and stamina as yourself.  But they need not be of the same age or sex.

Equipment or clothing
  • Skis, snow board, sleigh, or the equivalent are required for winter sports, together with appropriate warm and waterproof clothing, including boots.  

  • The equipment and clothing can often be hired at winter sports holiday destinations.

A place or facilities
  • There is not much scope for winter sports outdoors in the UK except up in Scotland and in the mountains of Wales.  

  • Many people take winter sports holidays abroad in order to learn and follow these activities.  

  • There are now a number of artificial ski slopes, some with "real" snow and some indoor, that can be used for practice, and some curling  is done on indoor ice rinks in Scotland.

Have a go - get started now

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