As far as winter sports go, I am rather inept at most of them. I can’t ice skate. I once tried downhill skiing before I discovered I didn’t enjoy hurling myself uncontrollably down a giant hill. I also attempted cross-country skiing much to the amusement of those around me who had the pleasure of watching me try to ski up a small hill only to slide back down again and again before I eventually made it to the top only because I kept grabbing tree branches to drag myself up the slope.
It was quite the sight, let me tell you.
So, if you can at least somewhat relate, (or perhaps you’re incredibly talented at all things athletic, and want to try something new), here are three less traditional winter sports you can try your hand at this season.
You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy winter sports
Yes, you can golf in the winter! This won’t be your standard 18-hole course, but there are a few places around the cities where you can play a game to make sure you don’t get too rusty before spring arrives.
Head to the Wayzata Chilly Open Frozen Golf Tournament to join over a 1,000 other golfers playing on three different 9-hole courses carved out on Lake Minnetonka. Golfers dress up in crazy costumes and bring along their golf clubs or hockey sticks to put their short game to the test putting tennis balls around the lake. Along with golf you can join in on Snowga (yoga in the snow), dogsledding, a chili cook-off, skating, and more.
The St. Paul Winter Carnival will also be hosting snow golf at Vulcan Snow Park, or, if you’re looking for a more challenging golf experience, head to Top Golf in Brooklyn Center where you can hit from the outdoor driving range while staying toasty warm with heaters in each of the hitting bays.
You know curling. It’s the sport where a person slides a heavy stone down the ice where their teammates then vigorously sweep with brooms to guide the stone onto a target. Hey, for me it beats throwing yourself off the side of a mountain, aka “downhill skiing”. So, stay on flat ground and learn to curl at the Frozen Flannel Outdoor Curling & Bonspiel event at Lily Lake Park in Stillwater.
The event festivities will have traditional curling experiences, learn to curl lessons, curling contests, and to keep you going, a Lift Bridge Brewery Ice Bar. Create a team to compete or simply go as a spectator. And if you get especially enthusiastic even once the festival wraps up, check out the local curling clubs such as the St. Paul Curling Club or the Chaska Curling Center for more curling action.
Frozen Lake Kite Flying and Kitesurfing
Okay, so I might be pushing the “sport” aspect with the kite flying, but it’s certainly an unusual activity during the wintertime months. So if you’re into the less extreme side of kite activities, you’ll want to head out to Lake Harriet for the Lake Harriet Kite Festival. You’ll see dozens of kites of all sizes, shapes, and colors flying high above the frozen water. Along with this incredible sight, the festivities also include ice fishing, fat bike riding, snowshoeing, and a marshmallow roast.
Now to the sport element: Winter Kitesurfing. Definitely the more extreme side of kite-related activities, winter kitesurfing is popular on Minnesota lakes, especially on lake Bde Maka Ska. For the unfamiliar, to kitesurf, you strap your feet into a snowboard or skis and then hold on for your life as what’s called a power kite, lifts you off the ground and you then surf across the frozen lake. If you’re a beginner, there are plenty of classes and lessons around town to help you get started.
For me, I may stick to the winter putt putt golf.
Read this next: Explore Minnesota’s Frozen Waterfalls