The UK is a relative dearth of winter sports facilities, that notwithstanding, we’d be looking out for the best activities in wintertime around Great Britain.
Albeit, the winter is rarely serious, as it’s mostly unpredictable in the UK, there are several great indoor slopes for skiing dotted everywhere around the country. The most notable indoor ski slopes include those in Manchester, Yorkshire, and Milton Keynes, which are laced with layers of permanent fake snow.
Wintertime also led to several means of transportation, like sledges, and skates. With different recreational and sports activities being championed in the winter season as compared to other seasons of the year, the following winter sports are very much popular in regions with longer winter periods.
But seriously, when the weather is 30 degrees, cloudy, and perhaps windy, it isn’t that easy to get your lazy bottom off the couch to go jogging. So, before going for any winter activities, just like usual cold-weather routines, remember to brave the outdoors with suitable outdoor clothing and sports equipment.
7 Winter Sports to Help You Stay Active in the UK
These following winter activities are put together to help you face the cold without compromising on your normal lifestyle, with some inspiration on what to wear in the 30-degree weather.
Ideally, such sports are only played during winter, but with the help of artificial snow and ice, it now allows for flexibility. The artificial ice provides ice rinks suitable for ice skating, and ice hockey, even in hot climates.
1. Ice Skating
Ice skating involves the propulsion by one’s own power across a sheet of ice, usually with metal-bladed ice skates on the ice surface. This activity can be classified as recreation, exercise, and sport, while maintaining your posture is very crucial when skating.
The good news is that there are some great pop-up and permanent ice rinks in the UK, though the best rinks include those at Plymouth and Hampton Court’s permanent ice-skating rink, with a snow machine and ice disco, including live DJs, and disco lights.
Both facilities offer private and group lessons, and of course, you can’t deny ice skaters sure have great glutes.
Snowshoeing is a winter activity that involves walking on a snow-covered surface while on a snowshoe, which is worn on the feet.
The snowshoes are not your regular walking shoes, so remember safety first. Make use of poles, avoid some rather groomed courses, and also be aware of avalanches, also known as snowslide, which occurs when a slab of snow lying on weaker layer fractures and slides down a slope.
As Snowfall is rarely heavy in the UK, only watch out for deep drifts, before snapping your snowshoes over your regular walking shoes, to go Snowshoeing.
Curling is an ice sports activity that is related to bowls, and shuffleboard in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice to hit a target area segmented into four circles.
As the ice is too sticky in most arenas for the somewhat smooth glide that is required for curling, so the sport is done in dedicated rinks. For this, Fenton’s Rink is UK’s First dedicated Ice Curling Rink near Tunbridge Wells, available from £20 an individual for 2 hours, which includes the cost of instruction and sporting equipment.
Toboggan is a sled that is used as traditional transport by the Cree and Innu of northern Canada. It inspired Tobogganing, the ice sport of sliding on snow-covered slopes or artificial-ice-covered chutes using a toboggan.
In Europe, it involves the use of small sleds with runners called toboggans, Tamworth in Staffordshire, offers a steerable toboggan for individuals ready to start Tobogganing.
5. Ice hockey
Ice hockey is a team sport that is played on the ice field, usually a rink, with two teams using their sticks to shoot a rubber puck into the opponent’s net in order to score points.
This winter sport is a national sport in the US, and gradually, the tradition is growing in popularity in the UK as well. There are a few centers across the UK dedicated to Ice Hockey, such as Alexandra Palace, in London, where the Haringey Hounds is situated, available starting from £10.
6. Nordic skiing
Unlike Alpine skiing, whereby the boot is attached to the ski covering from toe to heel, Nordic skiing is where the toe of the ski boot is rather fixed to the binding to allow the heel to rise off the ski.
It is similar to cross-country skiing, but involves ski jumps, with participants attached to their skis only at the toe, so that they can push or go uphill without hindrances. Nordic skiing is perhaps the first ski event to feature in Winter Olympics.
But due to UK’s unreliable snowfall, the available facilities such as the one at Wessex Nordic Ski Club and London Region Nordic Ski Club use roller skis for training.
7. Snow Tubing
Snow Tubing is a ride on ice using an inflatable doughnut-shaped tube on a specially built course. It’s more of a soft ride than tobogganing, but exhilarating and more fun.
The top place for Snow tubing in the UK is Lecht 2090 in Scotland (Strathdon, Aberdeenshire) with tubing all winter long, at only £15 for 1 hour.
While winter sports are mostly played outdoors, the likes of ice hockey, skating, and a few others have moved indoors. Thus there is an increase in indoor ice rinks with artificial ice to allow ice skating and hockey even in non-winter periods and hot climates.
No doubt, winter sports are here to stay, though they may likely be impacted due to climate change in the near future, however, there is solace in the artificial ice facilities springing up everywhere.
As a rule of thumb, whenever the temperature drops to freezing point or below, your dressing must be adequate to brave the weather. You need real cover-up dressing to get you through most of the winter period, especially if you are engaging in any of the above sports.
So you can face the winter cold without actually compromising on your personal style, while jogging it out with some of the sports listed even in 30-degree weather, simply consider adding pair of gloves and perhaps your favorite insulating beanie, and you’re good to go!