Ice Sports

There’s nothing like the thrill of gripping the ice beneath your skates and zooming across it at breakneck speed. With a little know-how and preparation, you can play your favorite sports outdoors in the winter without fear of frostbite or frozen fingers. You won’t find many athletic fields outfitted with an ice surface – unless you live in a place like Frozen Cross, home of the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship – but that doesn’t mean you can’t play sports on ice. In fact, there are many unique and exhilarating ways to do so. Playing a sport on ice requires some special considerations, but with the right knowledge, you can enjoy any of these activities this winter.

Ice Hockey

While ice hockey has its roots in the 19th century, it was in the 1920s that the sport came into its own. Today, you can find ice hockey played on frozen ponds, rivers, lakes, and even indoor rinks. Ice hockey is a fast-paced and exciting game, with a high energy output and a strong focus on teamwork and strategy. Players wear special protective equipment, including helmets and face guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and gloves. Ice hockey can be played by anyone, regardless of age or skill level. Indeed, a child’s first hockey game is an indelible moment for any parent – and one that will have them hooked for life.

Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is a challenging and adrenaline-charged sport that’s growing in popularity. In fact, the sport was added to the Winter Olympics in 2002. Ice climbers scale frozen waterfalls, attaching themselves to the ice via a special ice tool, a type of pick axe. Ice climbers use special, durable ice climbing shoes, which feature a very aggressive grip designed to stick to ice. While ice climbing can be an intense and even dangerous sport, practiced by only the most skilled climbers, it can also be a beginner-friendly activity. Ice climbing can be done indoors or outdoors, though in places where winter lasts all season, it will be confined to indoor climbing walls and specialized facilities. While ice climbing can be done in just about any winter climate, it is most common in places with a very long, cold winter where frozen waterfalls are commonplace.

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Ice Cricket

Ice Cricket isn’t just a clever name – it’s a real game that actually exists! First played in Canada in 1991, ice cricket is a spin-off of the traditional British sport of cricket. The game is played on a frozen lake using a cricket bat, a ball (which may or may not be frozen), and stumps. There are three rules that cricket players should keep in mind when playing on ice: you should wear crampons and an ice ax, you should take turns in either end of the pitch, and wear a helmet and knee pads. The pitch and wicket are slightly different from their traditional equivalents, but ice cricket is a fascinating game that is well worth trying.


Rollerskating isn’t just for kids – adults can enjoy the thrill of skating outdoors all year round on a frozen surface. Skaters can use a frozen lake, pond, or even a specially-made rollerskating rink. Rollerskating is done using special rollerskate boots that feature a very grippy sole designed to stick to ice. Beginners can start with inline skating, which uses a similar, slightly modified set of skates, while more advanced skaters might try freestyle skating. Rollerskating is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying an outdoor activity, and it is accessible to people of all skill levels.

Ice Running

Ice running is a challenging and addictive sport that will get your heart racing and leave you with a sense of accomplishment. It is similar to trail running, but on an icy surface instead of a dirt trail. Ice runners will likely find themselves running in a frozen river, lake, or even a snowy field. In the winter, ice runners will wear special footwear designed to grip the slick surface. Some runners may even decide to forgo footwear, going barefoot on the ice instead. Ice running offers a great workout and is a sport that’s accessible to people of all skill levels, from beginner runners to elite athletes.


Ringette is a Canadian sport that’s very similar to ice hockey, but is played exclusively by women. Like ice hockey, ringette is played on an ice surface, but it is a much lower-contact sport. Ringette features five players on each side, using a ball (or an iced puck). The objective of the game is to put the ball into the other team’s goal. Ringette is a fast-paced sport that requires a great deal of skill. Like ice hockey, it is played with protective gear and is a great way to get outside while enjoying a challenging game.

Ice Baseball

Baseball is a game played in all weather conditions, but it is particularly exciting when played on the ice. There are several ice baseball leagues in North America, including Major League Baseball’s attempt at an ice baseball game held in 1988. You’ll need special equipment to play ice baseball, including special bats, balls, and gloves. Ice baseball is fun to play, but it is also a great way to practice your batting and pitching skills year-round, even if you can’t play the sport during the summer months.

Speed skating

Speed skating is a track and field event that is very similar to rollerskating, but is done on an ice rink rather than a frozen surface. Speed skating involves skating laps around an oval track as quickly as possible. When speed skating on ice, you’ll use special, durable ice skates that feature a very aggressive grip designed to stick to ice. Speed skating is an extremely intense sport, but it is also a very accessible one that beginner skaters will enjoy.


BMX (bike motocross) is a wildly popular sport that can be played on the ice just as easily as it can on land. Ice BMX is a challenging and rewarding sport that can be played alone or with a group of friends. You’ll need special equipment to ice BMX, including a special bike designed to work on a frozen surface. You can find a frozen body of water anywhere in North America, though there are a few places that have a particular reputation for hosting ice sports. In Wisconsin, for example, you can find a frozen lake for nearly every season. Similarly, Quebec is known for its frozen rivers and ponds, which are used for ice sports throughout the winter.

Ice Cross Jumping

This is a sport that’s so challenging and exhilarating, you may just find yourself wanting to try it even if you have no athletic experience. Ice Cross Jumping is an event that is part stunt show, part extreme sport – and all action! You’ll jump (or fall!) off an ice-covered platform, hurtling down a frozen water chute. Ice Cross Jumping requires a high level of skill and a willingness to take risks. It is a dangerous sport with a high risk of injury, so it is not recommended for beginners.


A combination of field hockey and soccer, floorball is a great game for the ice. You’ll need a smooth, flat surface for this game, such as an indoor basketball court or an ice hockey rink. Unlike ice hockey, you’ll play floorball with a lacrosse-type ball. You can use the same rules as ice hockey, but keep in mind that you’ll be sliding on the ice. You’ll want to wear hockey skates for this game. Floorball can be played as a one-on-one game or in a full team setting. The court can be as big or small as you want it to be. You’ll want to make sure you have enough room to slide around on the ice, though.

Ice Boxing

Ice Boxing is a weirdly wonderful combination of two very different sports. It is a form of boxing that is played on ice, where the fighters battle while skating around in a circle on a frozen rink. Ice Boxing is a challenging and creative way to enjoy two very different sports in one very unusual winter activity.


Ice is a fun surface to play sports on, but it can be dangerous if you don’t prepare properly. You can have fun playing any of these sports, but you’ll want to take a few extra safety precautions if you’re playing on ice. Before you play, carefully inspect the ice for thin spots or cracks that could break through the surface and cause injury. You can also melt the ice by pouring hot water over the surface. Floorball is a great indoor sport that you can play year-round, but you’ll want to play it on a frozen surface to avoid slipping. Keep these tips in mind when you’re playing sports on ice, and you’ll be ready for any challenge this winter can throw your way.