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Winter Sports Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in English Vocabulary

Winter is in full-swing*, which makes this a great time to talk about winter sports and activities because even those who live in warm environments love to get away to take part in the cold weather fun!


One of the most classic winter sports is skiing.  Skiing is a pretty broad term as there are many different types of skiing that people can do.  Perhaps the first type of skiing that comes to mind for a lot of people is downhill or alpine skiing.  This is skiing down a mountain.  Other types of skiing include, ski jumping.  Ski jumping involves skiing off a specially made lift or hill and jumping into the air to do special tricks.  Cross-country skiing is another form of skiing that is done across long, relatively flat, distances.  A close cousin of skiing is snowboarding, which is a bit of a combination between skiing and surfing.  Snowboarding is never done cross-country; it is always done downhill and can also include some jumps into the air to do special moves like ski jumping.  Snowboarding is different from skiing in that skiing uses two small thin boards (or skis) under each foot, while snowboarding uses one wide board under both feet.

Another classical winter sport is ice skating, which is an activity done both indoors and outdoors.  Ice skating takes place on frozen lakes, ponds, and rivers outdoors or indoors in an ice arena.  Hockey is another winter sport that is played on ice either outdoors or indoors.  Unlike ice skating, hockey is a team sport.  Another winter activity that is done on ice is ice fishing.  Ice fishing is a bit less active than ice skating or hockey.  Often times people build small ice fishing shelters or shacks to sit in and stay warm as they wait for a fish to bite on the fishing line that they have thrown into a hole made in the ice.
A number of other fun winter activities that take place in the snow include: sledding, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. Sledding is often thought of as a winter activity for children, but adults have a lot of fun doing it too (at least I do).  There are a number of key elements that go into sledding, first you need a big hill, some snow, and also a sled of some type.  Next you have to be able to steer the sled somewhat so you don’t run into a tree or a road as you glide** or speed down the hill.  Lastly, you have to remember that the bigger the hill the better the ride down, but there is a long climb to get back to the top!  Snowshoeing is a great way to get out and walk leisurely*** in the snow.  You won’t get anywhere fast while snowshoeing, but you will likely enjoy the journey as you go.  Dog sledding is bit more fast paced and takes a lot more skill than snowshoeing, as well as the right type of sled and a lot of trained dogs.  The most famous dog sled competition in the United States is held in Alaska every year and is called the Iditarod.  Snowmobiling is even more fast-paced than dog sledding.  A snowmobile is a type of vehicle that you sit on and ride through the snow.  In many northern areas in the United States there are snowmobile trails that stretch for hundreds of miles that people enjoy traveling in the winter.

Below I have a matching activity for you in which you have to match the winter activities/sports described above with something needed to complete these activities/sports.  Some of the matching clues are more obvious than others – good luck.

*in full swing = a phrase that mean “underway” or in the middle of the activity
**to glide = to move in a smooth, effortless manner
***leisurely = unhurried relaxed


1. dog sledding         a. poles
2. skiing                    b. a key
3. snowboarding      c. a sled
4. ice fishing            d. dogs
5. ice skating           e. a puck
6. hockey                 f. skates
7. sledding               g. a hook
8. snowshoeing       h. a board
9. snowmobiling      i. snowshoes

Now, before you look at the answers I hope you have enjoyed thinking about all these wonderful winter activities.  I would love to hear from you in the comment area below about which of these is your favorite winter activity.

1-d; 2-a; 3-h; 4-g; 5-f; 6-e; 7-c; 8-i; 9-b

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.