These are not those normal sports commonly practised in large stadiums, with a massive attendance. At least not in countries like Spain, where the climate is very benevolent during most of the year. However, ice sports are always very attractive for the public. You only have to realize that, each year the Winter Olympics are held, we watch the tele, fascinated by the skiing slaloms, the “madmen” sweeping the ice and others descending an ice track on a sled.
All these sports, whose names we often unfamiliar with and sound strange to us, have two things in common: one is that ice is the protagonist or a fundamental element and the other, the urge we have to practise them at least once in our life. These sports have a name, a history and are backed by their supporters. Most of them originated in Nordic countries. Below are details of the seven most important ones:
1-Snowboard and ski
Snowboard and ski are probably the most famous and well-known sports on this list. Most of us have gone to visit the snow at some time and have opted for one of these sports. Obviously, not with the skill of the professionals in disciplines such as ski jumping or snowboard slaloms. This video will leave you dumbstruck.
Like luge and skeleton, that we shall talk about later, this has its origins in the Swiss Alps at the end of the nineteenth century. There a two bobsled modalities, 2 and 4, depending on the number of “passengers” on the sled. The objective is to complete the course faster than anyone else without overturning. This “spectacle” can be dangerous due to the speeds that they reach. Given their high cost, only 10 countries in the world have official tracks for its practise.
Luge is one of the sled sports whose official origin is in the Alps. Although similar races had been carried out in Norway centuries ago. This Olympic discipline differs from the rest in that the sled used has a small metal framework, equipped with sharp runners on the underside. It has neither brakes nor rudder and the pilot lies face up with his feet forward. He controls the descent of the luge and the changes of direction by means of cables attached to the front. It is competed as either a singles or doubles event.
As opposed to Luge, the Skeleton pilot lies face down and head first, as can be seen in the image above. This is the oldest sled sport of the three we have mentioned. It also has its origins in Switzerland, where an Englishman tried out a metal sled whose form reminded him of a human skeleton, thus its name. This is only a singles event and a really “explosive” start is the key to victory.
The objectives of this sport have certain similarities to those of the classical “petanca” (similar to bowls in the UK), so well established in Spain. The idea is to slide a granite stone over the curling sheet, as near a possible to the target marked on the surface. In order to facilitate the trajectory of the stone, the other members of the team (sweepers) who use brooms to sweep the ice as the former advances in order to favour or check the same, or even to change its direction, but never touching the stone itself. This sport is mostly practised in Canada, the north of USA and Europe
If there was one sport that could dispute the popularity of snowboard and ski, that would be ice hockey. In Spain it is more known for the classical fights that take place between players on the rink, but the truth is that, in countries like Canada, this is a king of sports. 6 players on each team, a lot of protection, and one stick for each and a rubber puck which they try to shoot into their opponent’s net.
To finish the list, we can do no less than to mention ice skating. First of all, because it is one of the sports with most variety of disciplines. And secondly, because the majority of cities have a place where any of us can put on skates and try our luck. At the present time, the modalities with most popularity are: figure skating and speed skating.