"Winter Sports" Page
"Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast
made summer and winter."
Winter Sports Safety
~The information below is taken from The World Book & Compton's Encyclopedia~
In winter sports, people must protect themselves against the cold in addition to taking the precautions involved
with most other sports. A special hazard is a condition called hypothermia, in which the body temperature falls
below its normal level of 98.6 °F. (37 °C). The symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slurred
speech, stumbling, and drowsiness. If left untreated, the condition may lead to death. Hypothermia can occur
even if the temperature is above freezing, especially if a person's clothing is wet.
Winter Clothes: To help prevent hypothermia, wear wool clothing. Wool provides better insulation than other
fabrics do. Wear loose garments that do not restrict the circulation of the blood. Several layers of light clothing
are better than one heavy layer. Cover your head, hands, and feet because they lose heat quickly.
Snowmobiling is increasingly popular in many northern climates and has led to a large number of accidents.
Speeding causes many snowmobile mishaps. Never go faster than the safe speed for your vehicle, and never drive
too fast for the snow conditions. A snowmobile should not be operated in less than 4 inches (100 millimeters) of
snow. If possible, drive only in daylight. About three-fourths of the fatal snowmobile accidents occur after dark.
Be especially careful when crossing roads and watch for such obstacles as tree stumps, fallen logs,
and hidden branches.
Skiing causes thousands of broken bones, sprains, and other injuries every year. To help prevent skiing accidents,
use the proper ski equipment, including well-fitted boots, and keep your gear in good shape. If you are a
beginner, be sure to get expert instruction. Go on difficult slopes only if you are an experienced skier in good
physical condition. Stay with other people when skiing. If you are injured while alone, it may be difficult
for someone to find you.
Sledding: Examine your sled and repair any broken parts or split wood. Sharp edges should also be eliminated
before you go sledding. Choose your sledding area carefully. Do not sled on streets, where you might slide into
the path of an automobile. Steep hills are dangerous because you might go too fast and be unable to stop. Do not
go sledding on frozen ponds or lakes if the ice could break under your weight. The ideal spot for sledding is a
broad, gently sloping hill that is free of trees and far from any road.
Ice Skating: In the United States, thousands of people a year suffer injuries while ice skating. Skaters may trip
on bumps in the ice, collide with other skaters, or fall through thin ice. Beginners need expert instruction, and all
skaters should keep their skates in good condition.
Snowboarding is a relatively new way to glide down snow-covered mountains. Snowboarding is technically not skiing,
but it is performed on Alpine ski mountains. A snowboarder places both feet on a single board that resembles a
large skateboard. Snowboarding resembles surfing or skateboarding on snow. Snowboarders perform many of the
same movements as Alpine and freestyle skiers.
Ski Clothing is specially constructed to be extremely warm and waterproof. It should also fit snugly without
restricting movement. Elasticized waist and cuff bands, snaps, and hook fasteners help keep snow from getting
inside clothing. Most skiers dress in layers to create air pockets that trap heat. Alpine skiers generally wear
warmer, heavier clothing than cross-country skiers because they produce less body heat while skiing. Alpine skiers
normally wear thermal underwear, a turtleneck sweater, a parka, insulated ski pants, waterproof gloves, a hat, and
one pair of medium weight socks. Cross-country skiers dress in similar clothing but wear looser pants that allow
greater movement. In addition cross-country skiers wear clothes that can be removed easily. Both Alpine and
cross-country skiers wear goggles or sunglasses.
Snowmobile: Snowmobile is a motorized sled that carries one or two people over ice and snow. People use
snowmobiles for work or recreation. Snowmobiling is a popular winter sport in Canada, in the Northern United
States, and in colder regions of Europe. The first sled-sized snowmobiles built by mass production were made in
the late 1950's.
Most snowmobiles measure from 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.4 meters) long and about 21/2 to 5 feet (0.75 to 1.5
meters) wide. They ride on two short skis on the front of the vehicle, and a wide track (belt) toward the rear.
An engine of about 8 to 100 horsepower (6 to 75 kilowatts) moves the track, propelling the snowmobile. The
operator steers with handlebars. Most snowmobiles can go at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, and some can
go more than twice that speed. Snowmobile operators should make safety their chief concern. Careless
snowmobiling has resulted in death and serious injury.
Tobogganing: Tobogganing, pronounced tuh BAHG uhn ihng, is the winter sport of coasting on snow or ice by
means of toboggans, which are sleds without runners. A toboggan is made of strips of hickory, ash, or maple,
with the front ends curved back. The strips are fastened together by crosspieces. The under surface is highly
polished. The sled is usually 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) long and 11/2 feet (46 centimeters) wide. Four
people usually make up a toboggan team. The one at the rear steers the sled. Tobogganists have attained a speed
of 900 yards (823 meters) in 30 seconds, or more than 61 mph (98 kph).
Indian hunters first built toboggans made of bark to carry game over the snow. The Inuit (sometimes called
Eskimos) used to make toboggans of whalebone. Bobsledding, an offshoot of tobogganing, has become a feature of
the Winter Olympic Games. A bobsled can reach a speed of about 80 mph (128 kph). Both two-seat and
four-seat bobsleds have a standard length of 9 to 12 feet (2.7 to 3.7 meters).
Related Link: Winter Sports in Austria
More about Winter Sports
There are many different Winter Sports to take part in and to watch. I have only listed a few of the many
below. This year may be a good year to take up a new Winter sport. Maybe you should dig out your old ice skates
and go skating . Go ahead and buy some new mittens, a hat and scarf to keep you warm and make you feel
fashionable. You might want to consider going to a Hockey Game this season.
Let's look at some of the winter sports and learn about them together:
Ice Skating: Ice skating is the act of gliding over a smooth surface of ice on ice skates--boots with attached
metal blades. For hundreds of years, people could ice-skate only during the winter months in cold climates. They
skated on natural ice surfaces, such as frozen canals, lakes, ponds, and rivers. Today, machines produce ice in
indoor rinks, making ice skating a form of recreation that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
History of Ice Skating: The earliest evidence of ice skating was found among Roman ruins in London and dates
back to 50 B.C. Excavations of the ruins uncovered leather soles and blades made of polished animal bones. About
A.D. 1100, people in Scandinavia wore skates made of deer or elk bones, which were strapped to their boots with
leather. These early skates were used for transportation. Recreational ice skating may have begun during the
1100's in Britain.
Iron blades were first used in the Netherlands about 1250. Steel blades on wooden soles apparently were first
used about 1400. These skates were lighter than iron skates and made skating easier.
In 1850, E. W. Bushnell of Philadelphia produced the first all-steel skates. These skates were light and strong,
and kept their sharp edges longer than iron skates. All-steel skates greatly increased the popularity of skating.
Skating clubs opened across the country. About 1870, a young American ballet dancer named Jackson Haines
became the first person to blend creative dance movements with ice skating. He is credited with introducing
modern figure skating into Europe.
In 1892, the International Skating Union (I.S.U.) was founded. That year, the first international speed skating
and figure skating competitions were held in Vienna. Figure skating was included in the 1908 Olympics, and speed
skating became an Olympic event in 1924. Only men competed in Olympic speed skating until 1960, when women's
competition began. Ice dancing became an Olympic event in 1976. Men's and women's short-track skating was
added for the 1992 Winter Games.
Links: Figure Skating & Learn2 Understand Hockey &
Learn2 Read Hockey Box Scores.
Curling for my Canadian Visitors
Curling is a game played on a level sheet of ice sprayed with water droplets. Two
four-player rinks (teams) compete on a sheet of ice 146 feet (45 meters) long and 15 feet
7 inches (5 meters) wide. The players slide stones on the ice toward a target. Curling
probably began in Scotland and the Netherlands about 400 years ago. It has become
popular in Canada and in more than 20 states in the United States.
The game. Each player slides two stones toward the house (target), a 12-foot (3.7-meter)
circle at the far end of the ice. The competitors deliver one stone at a time, alternating
with their opponents. When all 16 stones have been delivered, a period called an end or
inning has been played. A game usually consists of 8 or 10 ends and lasts 2 to 21/2 hours.
The stones of one rink that are closer to the house's center than any stones of the
opposing rink score one point each. The opposing rink receives no points in that end.
Related Links: Curling; TSN Canada Curling News Page & www.curling.com
Skiing is the act of gliding over snow on long, narrow runners called skis. Many skiers enjoy the thrill of speeding
down mountain slopes. Others like the challenge of traveling long distances across flat or slightly hilly terrain.
Skiing is an extremely popular form of entertainment. It is also a major competitive sport. There are three types
of skiing: (1) Alpine skiing, (2) Nordic skiing, and (3) freestyle skiing.
most notable change on the American winter sport scene in recent
years has been the boom in recreational
skiing. Although there had been small groups of skiers since the early 1900s, their interest was primarily in
jumping. Recreational skiing did not gain popularity in North America until after World War II.
Related Links: Visit Discovery Kids page
about Cross-Country Skiing or
The Weather Channel Skiers' Forecasts. Then try out: Learn2 Buy New Skis &
Learn2 Buy Used Skis & Learn2 Tune Your Skis or Snowboard &
Learn2 Cross-Country Skiing for Beginners & Learn2 Follow Ski and Snowboard Etiquette.
The Toboggan and the Bobsled
For a swift flight over hard-packed snow, tobogganing offers sport that is as exciting as
skiing. The Indians were the first to use the toboggan, the name of which goes back
to the Algonquian word odabaggan.
Indians probably used the toboggan originally for carrying their
loads of food and supplies through the woods
in winter. The Indian children used the toboggan for sport on the hillsides. The boys and girls of the northern
tribes found the same pleasure in the swift flight of a toboggan downhill that boys and girls do today who coast
on their sleds and bobsleds.
vary from single seaters of 4 feet to vehicles of 16 or 20 feet
upon which 12 persons may sit. They
are made of long thin boards with the forward end curved upward. The steersman may lie at the rear and guide
the toboggan in the right direction by his trailing feet.
popular are disk-shaped sleds made of metal or Fiberglas. These
are sometimes called flying saucer sleds.
They are actually a form of toboggan.
or double runners, are made by placing a long narrow platform
above two single sleds. The person at the
front steers by placing his feet on a crossbar attached to the front sled or by using two ropes fastened to the
points of the forward runners.
slides are made by scooping out a channel in the snow and banking
the sides or by building a trough of
wood and filling the bottom with snow. In these slides there is little or no need of steering, for the sled remains
within the narrow channel.
snowmobile, a mechanized sled, has steadily gained popularity
since the early 1960s. Powered by a gas engine,
it runs on a rubber track preceded by a pair of skis.
A Sled is a vehicle that has parallel runners instead of wheels, so that it can move easily over snow or ice. In the
Far North, where snow and ice cover the ground for many months of the year, sleds are the chief means of
transportation. People in parts of Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory travel on sleds pulled by huskies.
Alaskan sleds are built to stand the roughest travel. The most common Alaskan sled is the Nome sledge, a long,
narrow type with basketlike sides. A good team of dogs, hitched to a Nome sledge, can haul 1,000 pounds (450
kilograms) of cargo. The Nansen sled, made of wood and lashed with rawhide, is wider and lighter than the Nome
sledge. A 30-pound (14-kilogram) Nansen sled can carry a 600-pound (270-kilogram) load. Sleighs called troikas
are used in Russia. They are drawn by horses or reindeer. In Lapland, reindeer pull sledges carrying heavy goods.
In early times, people made sledges from logs tied together. The sledges were used to haul cargo over both snow
and bare ground. Later, people found that the sled would move more easily and quickly if wooden slats, called
runners, were fastened beneath the logs.
Some North American Indians used a toboggan sled that looked like a canoe on a pair of runners. The Pilgrims
made sleds from a box set on runners.
After 1870, the coasting sled came into use in the United States. The original coasting sled was the "clipper"
type. It was built low, with long, pointed sides and runners of round steel rods. The "girl's sled" was a light,
short box, with high, cutout or skeleton sides, and wide, flat runners. The double-runner or bobsled is formed of
two clipper sleds joined end to end by a board. The rider steers the sled by means of ropes, a wheel, or a
crossbar. Four to ten people ride in a bobsled. Specially designed bobsleds of steel and fiberglass are used for
racing in winter sports events.
~Submitted by Cat~
Annie: We live on an Indian reservation (my husband is a full blooded Seneca) and
the following is on my Seneca Page and I wondered if you might like to have it for
your WINTER SPORTS page: "Lacrosse is a sport that has been played by the
Senecas, centuries before the White Man's discovery of America. It continues
to be popular today. Another popular winter sport, Snow Snake, is the national game
of the Iroquois. Snow snakes are smooth, polished, flexible rods, made of hard
wood. They are five to nine feet in length; one inch in diameter at the head,
tapering to half an inch at the tail. When there is abundant snow, a smooth,
shallow course is laid out by pulling a smooth-barked log in a straight line. This
packs the snow. The course is then sprinkled with water to form an ice crust.
Those playing, gather at one end of the track and take turns throwing the snakes
with force, skill, and accuracy so as to make them travel the longest distance
possible in the shortest time." You may see the entire page at my home page: ~Cat
For more Winter Related Pages visit:
Annie's Winter Welcome Page
Annie's Winter Page
Annie's Snow Page
Annie's Winter Links & Activities Page
Annie's Winter Symbols & Things Page
Visit my Annie's Olympics Page for the Winter Olympics
that begin on February 10th, 2006
Send a friend a Jolly Wishes or Snowman Jive ! or Winter Romance card.
You can see all the different cards I have available at Annie's Card Shop.
Featured Holiday Page
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