Get your Body Ready for Winter Sports There is a wide selection of winter sports that you can participate in. This is a much better option than spending the winter indoors being a couch potato. It is important to realize that your body will respond differently to winter sports. Many people find it is harder to breath and they have to wear heavier clothing while engaging in the sporting events in most instances. You need to take a very realistic approach to getting your body ready for winter sports. Take an honest assessment of your current fitness level and compare it to where you want to be. Then work hard to implement a successful exercise plan that is going to allow you to reach that goal. Don't wait until winter starts to make changes so you will be ready for the various winter sports you want to be a part of. If you have any medical concerns you need to consult with your doctor before you begin any program to get ready for winter sports. Try to spend up to 30 minutes at a time out in the winter weather walking or running. You should be able to do these feats without running out of breath. If you aren't able to do this than work on it several days per week until you can. Eating a balanced diet will help you achieve this as well. Too many foods that we consume are full of carbohydrates and sugars that cause the body to feel tired. Eating right will help you have the energy you need and built lean muscle mass. Once you have completed this without too much trouble you should start adding some aerobics and resistance exercises at least 15 minutes a day, three to four days per week. Make sure you are stretching during both of these projects to get your body in shape for winter sports. This way you reduce the risk of getting hurt while you engage in them. Make sure you take the time to celebrate the success you have made. When you feel like you still have so much work to do, focus on what you have already accomplished. Nothing motivates a person to continue moving forward towards their overall winter fitness goals like identifying where they are at now compared to where they started from. If you have a specific winter sport that you will want to engage in you need to look for exercises that are going to strengthen the weak areas of your body that are needed to do a good job at it. For example if you want to go ice skating you are going to need to build up strength in your legs and ankles. For many people that want to engage in different types of skiing, they need to improve their upper arm strength. You may be surprised at how much better you will be able to ski if your arms are strong enough to help with the balance instead of placing all the responsibility on your legs. Make sure you pay close attention to any problems during winter sports that may be a sign that you need to take a break or seek medical attention. If you feel pain in the chest, arms, or the jaw you should see a doctor. This can be a symptom of a very serious medical issue including a heart attack. If you get short of breath you should discontinue the sport and walk around until you are breathing normally again. In order to enjoy winter sports to their fullest, you really need to be able to take your time to prepare your body. Building up the strength in your legs and arms will help you do well in the various sports offered this time of year. As you spend more time outdoors in the winter your will find your body is able to respond to the cold weather better than before. Common Problems to watch out for During Winter Sports While winter sports offer you plenty of fun and great exercise, you also have to be careful. There are plenty of developments that can occur during winter sports if you aren't careful. Some of them aren't serious while others can cause severe injuries or even death. Being prepared for winter sports can help you avoid having to deal with such issues so you can focus on having a great time. One common factor is blisters developing on the toes or on the heels because the boots aren't a proper fit. You want the boots for winter sports to be extremely snug in order to prevent them from rubbing. Make sure you wear socks made from cotton as well as they will help to reduce the amount of friction and they will keep your feet warm as well. Blisters are often the result of you not being comfortable in the boots you have purchased. Try to wear them a few times before you engage in the sport so you will be able to loosen them up some. You want them to be flexible when you are walking around in them so your feet don't feel stiff. It is a good idea to try on boots for winter sports with the same type of socks you plan to wear for the events. This way you can make sure they will fit well together. On the flip side of that coin though you don't want your socks or your boots to be too tight. This can result in a condition known as Neuromas developing which causes the nerves of the feet to be tightly pinched. Common symptoms include pain, burning, and tingling sensations in the feet. Engaging in winter sports requires your body to be very flexible. Be prepared for the toll it will take on your body and make sure you stretch before you and after you take part in winter sports. The impact can be more than you have expected for winter sports so be prepared with the right equipment. You don't want to suffer from broken bones or a head injury because you didn't think about the force of the impact. Sprains are very common during winter sports, especially skiing. This is often a sign of your boots being too loose or your ankles being too weak. Try to perform various exercises that will help you have stronger ankles before the winter season approaches. If you think you have sprained your wrist or ankle during winter sports you will want to remove yourself from the activity. Continuing to engage in it will increase your chances of a broken bone or a very serious injury. Don't travel too far from your vehicle or shelter while engaging in winter sports. If signs of frostbite or hypothermia are present you don't want to have to trek for miles to get help. Make sure you always have a good idea of where you are at. It is a good idea to use the buddy system when you engage in winter sports so you have someone to assist you. Make sure others know where you are and when you should be back as well. This way they can send help for you if necessary. You really need to be careful with children and the issue of frostbite. They will often withstand the cold as long as possible in order to continue enjoying the fun. However, by the time they tell you their fingers or toes are too cold it may be too late. Put a limit on the amount of time you allow them to stay outdoors in such weather as a precaution. Educating yourself about these various issues that can arise during winter sports is important. Too many injuries can be avoided if people take the time to learn about them and to protect themselves against them. Always invest in the proper clothing to wear during winter sports in order to ensure your body is well protected from the elements and from injuries. Safety Issues to be aware of with Winter Sports Taking part in winter sports is a great way to stay in shape and to get fresh air. Some winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding involve the snow so you can be sure they will take place in cold areas. It is important that you take safety into consideration at all time while engaging in winter sports. You want to have a great time without getting injured. It is very important that you stretch properly before you start any types of sports. This helps to keep your body flexible which will reduce the chances of getting hurt if you do fall down. Dressing for the weather is very important because you want to keep your skin dry and your body warm. At the same time you need to have the right equipment on to keep you safe for that particular winter sport. Many people believe you can only become dehydrated while playing sports in the summer but this isn't true. Make sure you drink plenty of water and sports drinks throughout the day to keep your fluid level where it should be. Pay attention to the amount of sweat your body releases during winter sports as well. With the cold weather, the mixture of sweat and the cool air can result in hypothermia. Pay attention to symptoms including dizziness, shivering, and exhaustion while you are out in the cold. You want to make sure you eat properly while engaging in winter sports. This is where you will get your energy from. Your body may become too weak to trek back from the site of your sport if you haven't given it sufficient fuel. Keep quick snacks such as peanuts or granola bars on hand in case you need a quick bite to rev up your energy levels. If you have to travel on rough terrain to get to the site for your winter sport, make sure you have checked over the vehicle. You never know when you may get stuck so make sure you are prepared. The vehicle needs to be stocked with food, water, a radio, a cell phone, blankets, and flares. Pay close attention to the posted signs and written regulations when you engage in winter sports. You don't want to be on ice for skating or playing hockey that is at risk of breaking. There should be posted signs informing you to the status. You also don't want to be on private land or cross the barriers when you are skiing or snowboarding. Doing so can result in you getting lost or injured. It can also trigger an avalanche due to the vibrations of the ground while you are participating in your sport. Make sure you have the proper training before you jump into any winter sport. You don't want to get in over your head. Watching other people perform the sport may be misleading as their level of skill makes it look easy. Take your time to be cautious and you can get faster and more advanced in your winter sports after you have a firm grasp on the basics. The quality of your equipment is a very important part of enjoying winter sports safely. Check your ice skates to make sure the blades are sharp enough and they aren't falling apart. Check the latches on your skis and snowboard to make sure they are still very durable. Sleds and snowmobiles need to be carefully checked that they are in good working condition so they don't build up speed and then get out of your control. There are plenty of fun winter sports to look forward to each year so do your part to make sure they are safe. Teaching children to follow the rules and to wear proper safety equipment is important. However, the very best way to teach them this is to wear that equipment yourself and you play winter sports. Keeping Warm during Winter Sports Many people love to engage in various sports that take place outdoors during the winter months. However, it is vital that you know how to keep yourself warm so that you don't become ill or suffer from frostbite. It is also important that you stay hydrated as your will lose body heat if your body is lacking the right amount of water to regulate your temperature. Since you don't really know what the temperature is going to be like from one moment to the next in winter, you just have to be prepared for it. While it may warm up during the afternoon the temperature can rapidly dip in the morning and the late afternoon. You will likely generate body heat to stay warm if you are engaging in a winter sport that keeps you moving such as ice skating, skiing, sledding, or ice hockey. Dressing in layers is a very important for you to stay warm during winter sports. There are particular types of clothing that work well for various sports so pay attention. You want to have three distinct layers of clothing -- they base layer, the under layer, and then the outer layer. Underneath the clothing wear a cotton under shirt which will allow your skin to breath. For winter sports such as skiing you will want to wear thermal underwear and then a snowsuit. Hats and gloves with thermal linings are very helpful too. Most of the body heat a person loses is from their head so a hat is very important. The boots or shoes you use for a particular winter sport are very important as well. They need to be designed to offer you plenty of traction as well as mobility. They need to keep your feet dry and warm so you won't suffer from frostbite on your toes. There are special tennis shoes designed for running in the winter time that will prevent you from slipping due to ice or snow. Various types of foods and drinks can help to keep you warm during winter sports as well. Soups and stew are very nutritious and they will keep you warm. Hot drinks such as coffee, tea, coca, and cider will help to warm you up as well. Enjoying these types of foods will also serve to help you maintain your energy while enjoying winter sports. Pay close attention to the signs your body gives you to warn that you aren't staying warm enough during winter sports. You don't want to find yourself far away from shelter and extremely cold. Knowing where you are at and where you can find shelter from the cold is very important. Hypothermia can set in if you get too hot while engaging in winter sports and then the sweat from the process makes you cold. You will loose too much body heat this way so pay attention to the physical abilities of your body. Enjoying winter sports is a great way to have fun and to keep your body healthy. However, it is very important that you do everything you can to stay warm. Serious injuries or death can occur if you aren't prepared for the elements. Make sure you also have a cell phone, food, blankets, and flares stocked in your vehicle. You never know if you will get stranded driving to or from any type of winter sports activity. You always want to be prepared. Make sure you have at least one other person with you as well. All about Skiing Skiing is a very popular winter sport that involves the thrill of being able to move swiftly down a hill. It is a sport that requires snowfall to be in place so it can only be done in the winter months. Some popular ski resorts have systems in place that help to make imitation snow so the ski season can continue even when there isn't sufficient snow fall being provided by nature. While it is easier to learn how to ski when you are young, it is a sport you can take up later in life. The more flexible that your body is the easier it will be for you to learn how to ski. It is a good idea to take the time to enroll in classes with a ski instructor. This way you don't develop bad habits that you will simply have to break later on. It is going to take plenty of practice for you to be able to master the basic skills of skiing. Don't give up though because as you continue to improve your skills you will enjoy this winter sport more and more. Skiing is very fun and it is an excellent form of exercise due to the amount of muscles in your body that it works. The slopes of skiing are accessed by taking a chair lift to the top and then selecting the one you want to go down. Each one is marked based on the challenge it posses and the level of difficulty. You should never go down ski slopes that are too advanced for your level of skills. You will be putting yourself and others at risk of injuries or death. Always stay on the market trails and pay attention to other skiers in the area. Most accidents that happen on ski slopes are the result of individuals not following the rules. To ensure you stay warm while skiing you will need to dress in layers. This way you can take them off as you get warmer and put them back on when the temperature drops and the wind picks up. Ski suits will help to retain your body temperature and you will want to wear gloves and a hat. Ski goggles will help to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun and any debris. You also want to wear a pair of quality ski boots for traction. For those with advanced skiing skills, the slopes may not offer enough of an adventure or thrill anymore. A great option is to try out cross country skiing. It is more difficult though because there isn't any ski lift to take you to the top of the hill. You will have to climb up there on your own as most vehicles can't go that deep into the terrain. You also have to be very careful of the terrain as it won't be cleared out like it is on a ski slope. Make sure you have the permission of the land owner to cross country ski on their land. It is a good idea to always have at least one other person with you and to let others know where you are at and when you will be returning. In most instances cell phones aren't going to get quality reception in such areas. Buying the Right Ski Equipment Skiing is a fun winter sport but to get the full enjoyment from it you need to have the right ski equipment. This is also necessary in order to help you remain safe while you are skiing. While most ski resorts rent out equipment, you will find having your own makes it an entirely different experience. You will need to dress in layers when you go skiing to preserve your body heat because the weather will likely be cold. The thermal underwear you buy needs to fit you snuggly so it isn't moving around under your other clothing. You will need a ski suit or ski pants for your outer layer of protection. You want items that are waterproof so you won't end up wet and cold as the day progresses. One of the most important pieces of your ski equipment is what you will wear on your fit. Ski boots need to fit correctly or you will have a very difficult time. They need to be snugger than what you will wear for your normal shoes. Your ankles have a great deal of pressure on them while you are skiing so if your boots are too loose you risk twisting or breaking your ankle. The socks you wear with your ski books are important to. You want them to be thin and made from wool. Too many people make the mistake of thinking heavy socks such as those you wear for hiking are a good idea but they aren't going to keep your feet warm. Keeping your hands warm is essential while skiing so look for gloves with a thermal lining. You also want those that offer you an excellent material for gripping so you won't lose your ski poles. Gloves for skiing need to fit well or you risk losing them while you are skiing. To keep your head and ears warm you want a hat that can also stay firmly in place. Ear muffs can be worn to cover your ears if you don't want a long hat. You can purchase your skis and the poles as a set or separately. There are plenty of different types of skis to select from based on the type of skiing you plan on doing. Make sure you try on the skis to make sure they will securely hold your feet. It is a good idea to try them on with the gloves you will be using. This allows you to see if you can easily secure the skis with your gloves on or not. The amount of skiing you will be doing should affect the amount of money you wish to spend on such equipment. Those that only ski a few times per year really need to look at moderately priced ski equipment that is durable but not expensive. Those that plan to hit the slopes on a regular basis really want to consider investing in the top merchandise as it will definitely provide them with a good return on their investment. You can purchase quality ski equipment at sporting goods stores or online. Many items you want to be able to try on to ensure they are a good fit. If you aren't able to do this make sure the company offers a money back guarantee. This way you can either exchange it or get your money back if it doesn't work for you. You want your ski equipment to be durable so you can spend your time on the slopes instead of trying to get warm. Tips for Learning how to Ski Learning how to ski is a great way to ensure you can be a part of the outdoor fun taking place this winter. This is one of the most popular winter sports and it can be a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy. It is a good idea to take free lessons that are taught at most ski resorts instead of trying to learn to ski on your own. These qualified instructors can tell you exactly what your strengths are and help you to work on your weaknesses. Some ski instruction classes last for a couple of hours and others can last for a couple of days. Your instructor will be able to determine if you should be moved up to another class based on the basic skills you exhibit initially. You want to take instructions for a class that only has a few students. This way everyone can get plenty of individual attention. Be prepared for the process of learning how to ski though and have fun with it. The more relaxed you are the easier it is going to be. Too many people get tense while they are learning and this leads to even more falls along the way. The truth of the matter is that you are going to fall plenty while learning to ski so stop being afraid it is going to happen. Instead focus on increasing the amount of time between each fall and celebrate as you reach these goals. You really need to focus on learning how to control your movements while on a pair of skis so you don't lose control or start going too fast to be safe. Keeping your knees bent with help to ensure you can avoid injury as you learn how to ski. Remember that everyone learns new things at a different pace so don't compare yourself to what others out there are doing. As you become more comfortable on your skis, you will be able to identify your rhythm as you turn and glide along the snow. Having the right equipment when you are learning how to ski will help you learn the basics faster. It will also help you remain safe. You should have on ski boots that fit you well and be dressed in layers. The top layer should be a waterproof wet suit because it is going to be very hard to focus on learning how to ski when you are freezing. Even though it is best to have your own equipment for skiing, beginners often don't want to shell out the hundreds of dollars to buy it. That is quite understandable though because they haven't yet made up their mind if they want to pursue this type of sport on an ongoing basis. Just make sure any ski equipment that you borrow or rent is a good fit for you. It takes plenty of practice to learn how to ski so don't think this is something you are going to master right away. Too many people get the idea that skiing is a piece of cake when they watch other people do it. Stick with it though and in a short period of time you too will be graceful gliding down the slopes and having a great time doing it. The Sport of Ski Jumping Many sports enthusiasts take skiing to the next level by engaging in ski jumping. This is a fun and adventurous type of winter sport that people engage in for fun or to be part of various competitions. They are judged on the length of their jumps and they earn points for their performance. Both men and women participate in ski jumping competitions held at various ski resorts and in the Winter Olympic Games. Each participant can earn up to 20 points for their jump, with the points totaled by a panel of five judges. They areas of their individual style that are judged include how steady the skis remain while they are in the air, the amount of balance that the participant has throughout the event, and the manner in which they land. The person is bend almost all the way forward during the jump, almost parallel to their skis. This body angle is what gives them the dynamics to be able to jump long distances. No ski poles are used for ski jumping so the arms are tucked tightly at the sides of the body to help with the distance factor. If you aren't sure how to use your body for a quality landing you can imagine the tumble you are going to take from this position. The distance that a person can ski jump depends on the type of equipment they have. You need different boots and skis than what you use for regular skiing. In practice, the skier only jumps short distances to begin with and then eventually works up to the longer distances. In Olympic competitions the ramp that the ski jumpers go down is 76 feet and they generally launch at just over 30 miles per hour. Their overall jump distance is between 270 feet and 360 feet. Of course those that engage in ski jumping for fun generally won't come close to that distance, but this is still a fun sport that allows you to glide through the air. Most ski resorts that offer ski jumping don't have ramps that go half this distance in order to offer a safe place for people to practice. If you want to attempt the more daring distances for ski jumping you will likely have to get with a personal trainer. It is important to wear the proper safety equipment regardless of the length of the ramp you are using for ski jumping. There is too high of a risk not to use the necessary safety equipment. To prevent head injuries, a quality helmet is essential. It needs to strap underneath the chin and have a soft strap with padding for the chin area. A quality ski jumping suit is also required to help with wind resistance and to keep the body warm. It is important to wear the right style of boots and skis for this type of winter sport as well. The skis are much wider and longer than those used for regular skiing. Of all the different types of skiing you can try, ski jumping is one of the most difficult to master. Learning to rely on your body for the majority of the movements is very difficult and requires immense concentration as well as body strength. If you are very flexible and enjoy skiing though this can offer a very good challenge. Stay safe and have fun though so that you can enjoy your adventures while ski jumping. The Top Five Ski Resorts If you are planning to take a ski trip this winter, you may be wondering where you should go. There are so many great ski resorts out there to select from, but if you want the best of the best you need to continue reading this article. The top ranked ski resort is in British Columbia called the Apex Mountain Resort. The get more than 200 inches of natural snow each year and offer more than 60 ski slopes. Most people like Apex Mountain Resort because they offer a wide variety of slopes based on skill level. Approximately 1/2 of their slopes are for intermediate skiers and they have more for advanced skiers than most other ski resorts. It is also a very affordable ski resort with plenty of activities to do in the evening. In the state of New Hampshire you will find Bretton Woods which is a wonderful ski resort as well. They have more than 100 slopes and 9 ski lifts so you won't be left waiting in line to get to the top of the mountains. The get approximately 200 inches of snow each year and offer plenty of options for cross country skiing and snowboarding. While Bretton Woods only offers about 20 slopes for expert skiers, many of them are said to be the very best in the world. One in particular called Bode's Run is definitely worth the challenge for any expert skiers that are able to tackle what ever they come across. Colorado is well known as one of the top ski locations, and you won't be disappointed with Copper Mountain. It has plenty to offer with 125 ski slopes and 22 ski lifts. There is plenty of variety of beginners including quality lessons for adults and children, intermediate slopes, advanced, and expert. They are also one of the few ski resorts to offer an all day childcare facility so you can take on the slopes and not worry about your children. Okemo is found in Ludlow, Vermont and offers a complete ski resort that is perfect for the entire family to enjoy. This is a smaller size ski resort but one that offers plenty of charm and beauty for everyone to enjoy. They have one of the best snowboarding parts in the entire world so many people come to Okemo just to experience the thrills of snowboarding that they can't find elsewhere. Sugarloaf in Maine is among the smallest ski resorts out there but it also is located at the second highest peak in all of Maine. They also offer a great place for people to hike with snowshoes if they just aren't interested in skiing down the slopes. While they only offer 40 slopes, all of them are very exciting, even those that are designed for beginners. Of course when you are looking for the right ski resort to visit, there are plenty of things to consider besides the overall ranking. Take a look at how far you will need to travel to get to the ski resort. Find out the cost of lodging there and ski packages so you can make sure it will fit into your budget. Figure out how you will get there as some ski resorts are high in the mountains and the road conditions aren't always the best. You also need to make sure that particular ski resort offers the activities you want to participate in. While all of them offer ski slopes not all ski resorts have ski jumping or snowboarding options. If you are interested in these types of activities then you need to make sure the ski resort you visit offers them. There are plenty of excellent ski resorts for you to enjoy. Go online to see what all your options are as well as the best deals. This way you can find one that offers something for all the skiers in your party and it will be affordable. Skiing in Colorado Colorado is a very beautiful state and one that is well known for both the mountains and the amount of snowfall they get annually. It is only fitting that many locations in the Colorado Mountains are top ski resorts. Copper Mountain is considered to be the very best because of the variety of ski slopes it offers. The fact that the slopes are separated by skill levels means beginners don't have to be intimidated by more advanced skiers. Likewise, those with better skills don't have to worry about those without experience being in their way as they are barreling down the mountain. Snowmass is located about 15 miles from Aspen and offers plenty of skiing for intermediate and expert skiers. They offer a few slopes for advanced skiers and only a couple for beginners. This isn't the place to visit if you are new to the concepts of skiing. However, it is heaven for snowboarders with three separate parks. They are also locations for speed skiing and for various types of racing events. For the expert skiers and snowboarders, the very best place in Colorado to go is Winter Park. They offer 143 slopes and approximately 65f% of them are for experts. The way the slopes are set up at Winter Park is like going to three different ski areas. Some of the steepest ski slopes in Colorado are found at Winter Park so this is the place to go if you are looking for some great thrills and challenges. In fact, some of these areas are so dangerous for skiers that you have to sign up for an orientation class. Upon completing that safety class you have to also sign a waiver stating you don't hold the Winter Park Ski Resort liable for any accidents while you are on those types of slopes. There is an additional cost of $20 for this right but you only have to pay it once. Then you can access it each time you return to Winter Park for the season. In Telluride, Colorado you will find one of the least known ski resorts in the state. Telluride only offers 84 slopes but it is a place that you will find to be very beautiful and not nearly as busy as the other ski resorts around Colorado. Many snowboarders have found this hidden location to offer some of the best snowboarding areas in Colorado. One downside is that Telluride is one of the most expensive ski resorts to visit in Colorado. Steamboat Springs is the place you need to be if you are an intermediate skier. More than 1/2 of their slopes are for this category of skiers. They do offer a total of 164 slopes though so you will have plenty to keep you entertained for the entire day. In fact, you should plan to spend several days in Steamboat Springs in order to experience as much of it as possible. Many people travel to Steamboat Springs to ski in Colorado because it is very easy to access. There is a major airport only minutes away so you can avoid the traffic and the difficult road conditions. You can take advantage of great deals on ski packages for Steamboat Springs that include your airfare, accommodations, a rental vehicle, and your ski lift tickets. While traveling to the various ski resorts to enjoy winter sports you need to be very careful. The road conditions can be very terrible due to the ice and snow in the mountains. If you are driving your own vehicle you may want to consider renting a four wheel drive vehicle. Take your time and make sure you pay attention to the weather reports. You should have tire chains with you in case you need them. It is a good idea to travel with food and blankets too just in case you get held up on the way. Knowing what all the different ski resorts in Colorado have to offer you will definitely help you to make an informed decision about which one you would like to visit. The majority of them are very affordable and offer plenty of places to get something to eat and comfortable lodging. Thousands of people travel to Colorado annually to enjoy the various ski resorts so check them out so you can see what you have been missing all this time. The Game of Ice Hockey The game of ice hockey is very fast paced and full of action. As the players glide effortlessly across the ice in order to control the puck and score points, it gives the illusion that this is a very easy sport. However, that is quite far from the truth because you have to develop excellent skating skills and you need to know the game of hockey inside and out. Both men and women enjoy playing ice hockey and there are minor league and major league teams out there. Ice hockey is even a team event in the Winter Olympic Games which are held every four years at a location that changes each time. To help reduce the amount of injuries sustained during ice hockey players have to wear helmets and padding. This is a contact sport that still results in some interesting injuries though in spite of quality safety equipment being used. Professional ice hockey is considered to be one of the most violent sports out there. While the number of hits that take place among the players have tapered off over the years, there are still plenty of fights that continue to take place out there on the ice. Many people will tell you that is one of the reasons why they enjoy watching it so much. For their participation in various penalties such as shoving, tripping, and other types of interference during the game players have to spend time in the penalty box. Generally this period of time is two minutes for each infraction called by the referees but the amount of time can be up to four minutes. Even though these time periods are very short, they can result in the other team scoring. This is because the player on the other team gets a free shot of the puck towards the goal without any one defending it due to the penalty call. Still, players often engage in any types of behaviors they can while playing ice hockey in order to gain control of the puck for their team. The game of ice hockey is generally played in three periods, each lasting 20 minutes in length. If the game is tied it can go into overtime in order to determine the winner. For professional ice hockey one 20 minute time period is placed on the clock. The game continues until the 20 minutes ends without any scoring or when one of the teams scores. Amateur games may decide to leave the game as a tie or follow the professional rules. Ice hockey games can also be found being played by kids on frozen ponds during the winter months. This can be a great way to pass the time and to have fun during the colder time of year. However, it is vital to make sure the ice is solid as it can crack from the weight of the players on it. This can result in serious injuries or even death due to drowning. Proper safety equipment should also be used for this type of ice hockey because it is still a dangerous sport. Even though most people that engage in ice hockey on the frozen ponds don't engage in the violent behaviors of the professionals, there are still plenty of risks. Getting hit with a hockey stick or falling down can all be serious if you don't have the right equipment to protect yourself. Ice Skating Ice skating is a very popular sport that used to only be available in the winter. If you want to skate outdoors on real ice then that is still the only time to enjoy it. However, with advances in technology it is now possible to experience ice skating at an indoor area. Special machines are made to add layers of ice that are continually smoothed out so you will always have a terrific surface to glide across. Special skates are used for ice skating that have sharp blades on the bottom of them. The blades allow the person to be able to glide along the ice at very fast speeds if they desire. The amount of friction that a skater is able to manipulate as they move along the ice will help to determine the speed of movement. It also allows them to remain in complete control of their movements at all times. Most people find ice skating to be more difficult than ice skating as you have to learn to balance your body differently on them. A great deal of weight is placed on your ankles and legs while ice skating. The more you practice the stronger they will become and as a result you will improve your ice skating skills. After you master the basic skills of ice skating you will be able to start learning various stunts if you want to. The leaps and twirls that professional ice skaters are able to perform are the result of plenty of practice. You may want to pay for classes with a professional in order to learn the right skills to be able to do such feats during ice skating. You may find you want to participate in various types of ice skating competitions either on your own or as part of a team. These events take place on a regular basis so you may want to search online to find out what is available. If you are under the direction of a coach they will be able to get you signed up for the right competitions. In order to make improvements of your ice skating skills you should have someone video tape your movements. You will likely find watching yourself to be a great way to identify what isn't working right for you. Continue to have yourself video taped and learn from your actions. Always pay close attention to your instructor as well so you won't get injured as you ice skate. Don't be tempted to jump into challenging routines too soon or you will be putting yourself at risk. If you choose to ice skate out doors you will need to make sure the ice is thin enough to sustain your weight. Serious injuries and even death can occur if someone falls into ice which has cracked due to the weight on top of it. Always pay attention to signs that tell you to stay off the ice. You should never go ice skating alone in case you do need assistance from another party. Make sure you are dressed warmly while ice skating out doors. You don't want to suffer from frost bite. Avoid loose clothing that can get caught up in your skates and cause you to fall. The ice at an indoor center is often cool as well so make sure you dress in layers. This way you can be comfortable depending on what the temperature is. Speed Skating Basics Speed skating has become a very popular winter sport, but some critics claim it is simply too dangerous for people to be engaging in. Many people enjoy watching speed skating during the Winter Olympics and then want to engage in the activity on their own without proper training. The speed of a person in this type of sport can be more than 30 miles per hour so when they fall down or collide with someone else it is quite powerful. In order to reduce the risk of injuries during speed skating, it is vital that safety gear is worn at all times. This includes a helmet that fits properly, knee pads, and elbow pads. It is best for this sport to take place on an ice rink that has been specifically designed for it instead of out there on a frozen pond somewhere. In professional speed skating there are pairs of competitors on the ice. Each track has two lanes and each person in a pair will get a colored band. This tells the judges which lane they started at for the beginning of the competition. The skaters have to change lanes at a given location along the track to ensure both skaters are covering the same amount of distance. There are many different types of races that take place in the winter sport of speed skating. If a pair of teams are racing against each other they will state at different locations on the track. This prevents them from being in the way of each other and their times are tracked by the judges. For marathon speed skating races everyone starts at the same location and there is plenty of bumping and pushing as the skaters try to get ahead of each other. However, speed skating does offer a great way for people to get into shape and to enjoy the exercise they are taking part in. It takes plenty of practice to build up enough strength to successfully participate in this sport. The type of skates you will use for speed skating depend on the type of events you are participating in. Long distance speed skating requires you to use clap skates. They are different from regular ice skates because they feature a hinge on the boot that the blade is attached to. This allows the skater to move faster and to have more control over the skates because part of the blade is continuously in contact with the ice. There are plenty of speed skating events that take place all over the world for you to participate in. Find a partner that is just as interested in the sport as you are so you can train for them. Many people have a goal of one day being part of the speed skating teams in the Winter Olympic Games. While not everyone can be a part of that, there are plenty of other events you can easily be a part of while you continue to improve your skills. If you decide to engage in speed skating you need to make sure you have skates that are designed for it. You also want to make sure you always wear your safety equipment so that you minimize your risk of injuries. Speed skating is quickly becoming one of the most popular winter sports and you can expect to see more people participating in it in the near future.
The Excitement of Figure Skating Figure skating is a type of ice skating that involves learning difficult routines and movements on the ice. Many people love to watch amateur and professional figure skating because the competitors are able to gracefully twist, leap, and twirl around as the glide along the ice. Watching pairs is also exciting because there are plenty of lifts and exciting moves that you won't see when just one person is performing. In figure skating competitions the judges give a score based on the overall performance. They look for style, level of difficulty, and how well each part of the performance was completed. Shaky landings can quickly shave points off of the overall score. The points are divided into two categories for a competition. First there is the points that reflect the required elements of the competition. There are a certain number of spins and jumps that are required to meet the criteria of each competition. The second part of the scoring system has to do with the freestyle routine of the performance. It has to look effective and the skaters have to flow from one part of the routine to the next gracefully. The most difficult element of figure skating for most people to master is spinning. The faster you skate the faster you can spin, but keeping your balance and going from a spin back to skating without being disoriented is not a simple feat. The secret is to center the ice skates as you go into the spin. This will give it a uniform look and keep the body from looking like it is moving from side to side during the spins. There are plenty of different types of spins that an ice skater can perform once they have the basic concept of it. Some require both feet to be on the ice with the leg straight and others require the knees to be bent and the skater in a squatting position. Others require one leg to be lifted off the ground at hip length or even placed behind the head! It takes plenty of skill to be able to do this with ice skates on so be ready to practice long and hard! For most of use, figure skating is something we will continue to watch from the stands or on TV. With it is an exciting winter sport, figure skating often requires too much time for most people to put into learning. Having a quality coach is essential if you want to be able to compete in the different figure skating competitions. One of the most interesting things about figure skating are the beautiful costumes. Pairs of skaters have matching costumes that blend well together. The short skirts all the long, beautifully shaped legs of the skaters to be noticed. The skirts are designed to swirl around and add even more dimension to the overall performance. Male figure skaters generally wear a one piece body suit without any buttons or zips on it that can get snagged on their partners costume. However, all figure skaters aren't out there to compete in various events with each other. Many of them are a part of the performing arts. Disney on Ice is one of the most popular figure skating programs around. It tours annually with various beloved Disney classics. It is all performed with a variety of different figure skating and ice skating moves in place throughout the program. Why Sledding is so Fun Sledding is one of those winter sports that children often enjoy, and many adults too. There are so many ways you can go sledding that you can make do with just about anything. It can be an impromptu event that takes place after a snow storm has blown in. Sleds come in many different sizes so you can have one person on one or several at the same time. They can be made from wood or from plastic depending on the brand you want to purchase. Common household items are often used for sledding as well. Cardboard boxes and even laundry baskets can be used to climb to the top of the hill and then slide back down. You can travel to the hills around your home to enjoy sledding or even enjoy those that the snow plow makes as they remove the snow from the streets. The biggest problem with this type of sledding is that you have no control over the speed or how you will stop. Therefore you don't want to climb up too large of a hill as you will pick up momentum as you go down. You also want to investigate the landing area so you won't be at risk of running into trees or other objects that can result in an accident. Inner tubes are also a common item used for sledding. They are lightweight and round like a donut. You can sit on them or lay on them. It is quite common to pull an inner tube along behind a moving vehicle with a piece of rope. This allows the riders to sled at a faster speed. You do need to be careful though of other vehicles on the road. Make sure the exhaust isn't going directly into the faces of the rides either. Sledding is a winter sport that the entire family can enjoy. Make sure you protect everyone from the cold with thick gloves and hats. You also want to wear boots with plenty of traction that are waterproof. This way your feet will stay dry and reduce the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. Make sure you all pay close attention to the warning signs of these problems so you can protect against them. It is very important for children to be supervised while sledding. They may not be paying close enough attention to how cold they are getting. You also don't want them getting lost in the snow. Sometimes injuries happen such as bumping heads with each other or cutting a lip. While they are minor, having a parent around to deal with such issues is important. The best time to buy sledding equipment is in the fall when they put out the new merchandise. You may be disappointed with what is left over if you wait too long into the season to buy them. You also don't want to have the first snow storm come along and you don't have anything to go sledding with as it may be too dangerous to travel to the store at that time. Sledding is one of the least expensive winter sports which also makes it very popular. You don't have to travel and you don't have to invest a great deal of money for the equipment. Most people already have hats, gloves, and boots for the winter time anyway. Investing is a few good sleds isn't' going to cost you very much either. Instead of being coped up indoors during the snow, get out there and enjoy it. Most adults feel like a kid again when they go out sledding. It is a great way to relieve childhood memories and to get some great exercise during the colder time of the year when too many people simply don't venture out for such activities. Take your time to try out different types of sleds too so you will find those that are a good fit for your size. What is so thrilling about Snowboarding? Snowboarding is a thrilling twist that incorporates some of the basic concepts of skiing. However, it is much more daring and many people find it offers them the challenges that they love while out in the snow. To keep a snowboard on the feet, there are straps on the board. Most snowboards look similar to a surfboard but shorter. There are no poles used for snowboarding and so you have to use your body to control it. Even though the concepts behind snowboarding have been around since the 1970's, the popularity of it exploded around 1998. It became very popular with the younger crowds that often engaged in skateboarding activities. This is even now on of the most anticipated events that takes place in the Winter Olympic Games. The internet is also responsible for the popularity of snowboarding as there are numerous sites offering videos of the activities that really capture the attention of viewers. Due to the popularity of snowboarding today, many ski resorts now rent snowboarding equipment and offer lessons for free on their slopes. They would prefer for people to learn the basics of snowboarding from a qualified individual than risk getting injured attempting the moves on their own. The fact that so many other people make snowboarding look easy can be misleading. Some people believe you have to know how to ski before you can learn how to snowboard. This continues to be an issue of hot debate and it appears that it simple comes down to what you learned first. There are plenty of snowboarders out there that don't know how to ski. It is similar to the issue of learning to drive on a stick shift -- those that did think it was easy while those that didn't can't imagine having one more thing to try to do while learning how to drive. Many ski resorts often hold snowboarding competitions as well for great prizes including cash and free lodging at their ski resort. The freedom that people get with snowboarding makes it very enjoyable. The various flips and turns that people perform while skateboarding can be incorporated into a snowboarding routine. It is fascinating to see snowboarder's compete as they attempt the most difficult moves in order to get the best ranking from the judges. There are also plenty of big name sponsors that have come on board for these snowboarding competitions. Some of them are only for professionals while many of them are reserved for amateurs. The Ticket to Ride is a snowboarding competition that takes place in various locations in order to continually promote this winter sport. The advances that have taken place in the overall design of the snowboards and the number of ski slopes that now allow them to be used. It is even possible to have your snowboard customized so it has the look and fit that you really want. This is common for those individuals that engage in snowboarding on a regular basis. The forecasting for snowboarding through 2015 indicates that by then snowboarding will be more popular than skiing. One of the biggest problems with snowboarding is the risk of injuries. While wearing helmets are recommended very few people wear them while engaging in this sport. In order to encourage this some ski resorts won't allow you to snowboard without a helmet. Some of the top names in the sport have also volunteered their time to promote the use of helmets in posters, magazines, and commercials. Even though snowboarding is a thrilling winter sport to enjoy, you need to make sure you keep safety in your thoughts as well. Never snowboard in unauthorized areas and without the right skills to do it safely. Make sure you use quality equipment that fits you securely so that you minimize injuries to your body. If you have mastered the skills of skiing, and you are looking for something fun to do during the winter you may find snowboarding offers you what you have been looking for. Exploring the Country on a Snowmobile There is plenty of territory out there that you can explore on a snowmobile. In the winter time the open areas become covered in snow, but with this type of equipment you can get where you want to go in no time. Many people enjoy riding on a snowmobile just to have a good time. Others use them as a way of life due to the location where they live and the severity of the weather. It is a favorite past time though to engage in snowmobile races because they can go quite fast along the snow. The bottom of the machine is equipped with special skis that allow it to glide over the top of the snow instead of getting bogged down in it. They also use a very small amount of fuel so you can go quite a distance on them. Most snowmobiles are very easy to handle and you can ride with either one or two people on them. Even young children are able to operate snowmobiles with parental supervision. In addition to racing snowmobiles they are often used for exploring and for climbing mountains. It is not uncommon for people to load up their cross country skis and then drive to the top of the mountains on their snowmobiles. This is often done in pairs so that they can ride one snowmobile to the top, ski down, and have another to take them back to the top again. The newer models of snowmobiles are able to operate at a rate of 100 miles per hour or more. This means they can be involved in very exciting races that take place along a straight away or over a particular course that is being used for the event. You do have to be very careful with a snowmobile though as you don't want to be involved in an accident. Having the right equipment on will help you avoid injuries if you can't avoid the accident all together. Some snowmobile races are in place among those that live in the area and want to entertain themselves. Others are sponsored by big name companies that manufacture snowmobiles. They offer cross country races as well as those that take place on oval tracks and the competitors have to complete a set number of laps. You can win trophies, cash, and prizes if you win the various snowmobile events that are offered. The big names in snowmobiles are Polaris and Arctic Cat. Both of them continue to come up with advanced models of snowmobiles in order to get the consumers to buy from them. In very cold areas including Alaska and Canada there are tourist locations where you can rent snowmobiles for the day to explore. This is a great option if you are thinking about purchasing one but you haven't made up your mind yet. It is important to wear the proper clothing and safety equipment while operating or riding on a snowmobile. Too many people suffer from either frostbite or hypothermia because they aren't dressed for the cold weather when they ride a snowmobile. You need to dress in layers to maintain your body heat. The outer layer should be a waterproof snowsuit. Make sure you have on a hat and gloves to prevent heat from leaving your body from your head and from your fingers getting frostbite. Make sure you wear waterproof boots that will offer you good traction for when you get off the snowmobile to walk around or to add more fuel to the tank. You should always wear a helmet when you ride a snowmobile because you never know when something will be in the way. Sometimes there are things under the snow that you can't see so an accident is unavoidable. Serious injuries and death can occur if you hit your head, and it can be a long time before help can arrive if you are exploring the wilderness on a snowmobile. Tips for Buying a Snowmobile If you live in an area where there is plenty of snow, you may find it is fun and practical to invest in a snowmobile. Before you buy one though you need to find out the basics to look for. Then you can compare the prices and the quality so you make a very good investment for your snowmobile. Some of them are better for racing while others should only be used for exploring at a moderate speed. You can find both new and used snowmobiles for sale. While a used one is going to cost you less, you need to look it over very well. Make sure it hasn't been involved in an accident that will affect the durability of it. The frame needs to be in perfect condition and not bent at all. With a new snowmobile you can be sure you are getting a top quality product that doesn't have any issues. It will also come with an excellent warranty so you can be confident that it is going to be worth the investment. Where you live is often a factor to take into consideration to decide if you want to invest in a new or used snowmobile. If you only will be able to use it for a couple of months each year it may not be a good investment. However, if you live somewhere where there is snow for many months each year a new snowmobile will get plenty of use. Before you commit to buying a particular type of brand of snowmobile you want to be able to take it out for a test run. Pay attention to how it handles as well as how your body feels on it. You want the snowmobile to be a good match for your body size so that you can ride it for hours without becoming uncomfortable. Consider both your height and your weight because some of the lighter snowmobiles aren't going to work well for a heavier person to be operating. Look for a snowmobile that is lightweight in the front as this will allow you to take turns easier and overall it will be easier to handle. When you test drive the snowmobile pay close attention to how easily you can turn steer it. Some snowmobiles start electrically while others feature a pull start like a lawn mower. Those with a pull start are less expensive but they can be harder for children and women to start as it takes plenty of strength. An electrical start is more convenient and just about anyone can do it without any effort. You may have a set amount of money that you are willing to pay for a snowmobile. If you are disappointed after you have looked around and compared prices you may have to save up for a while longer. You will find plenty of great deals on snowmobiles as the winter season is coming to an end. They want to clear them out for summer items such as dirt bikes and jet skis. This is a great time to take advantage of the savings even if it means you will have to store the snowmobile for a few months before you get to use it. Another option is to buy an older model for a lower price because the newer models have just hit the market. Buying one at these times of the year can make the difference between you getting the snowmobile you really want and having to settle for one that is less expensive. Owning a snowmobile is a great way to enjoy winter sports but make sure you know what you are getting. Take the time to read different information posted online rather than just relying on the information you get from a salesman. By testing out several different types of snowmobiles you will definitely get an idea of what feels right to you. Top Women in Winter Sports Often the focus of winter sports winners are men, but there are plenty of woman that have excelled in the various sporting events as well. The top speed skater is Bonnie Blair who has amazed crowds for years with her unbelievable speed and agility. When she was only 18 years old she competed in the World Cup event. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg for what was to come. At the age of 19, Blair competed in the Winter Olympic Games and finished in 8th place. For the next twelve years which covered three more Winter Olympic Games Blair walked away with a total of five gold medals and one bronze. She holds the record for the woman with the most gold medals from the Winter Olympic Games. Sonja Henie became the youngest woman to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympic Games in 1928. She earned the gold medal in the figure skating competition This was a title she held until 1998 when Tara Lipinski won a gold medal. She was two months younger than Henie at that time. Henie also holds the record for being the only female figure skater to win three gold medals in three consecutive Winter Olympic Games. It is believed she could have continued winning them but after her gold medal win in 1936 she announced she was leaving the Olympics to become a professional skater. She enjoyed performing in various movies and touring shows that involved ice skating until she died in the late 1960's due to Leukemia. In 1960 skier Penny Pitou became the first USA winner of a gold medal in the downhill ski event. This was quite a success in 1960 because very few women were competing in the ski events at the Olympic Games at that time. The fact that she was able to walk away with a gold medal in an event that no male had earned one was an even greater accomplishment for women in the USA. She quickly became a role model for girls that wanted to one day win an Olympic gold medal. Dorothy Hamill is well known for her performances at the Winter Olympics in the area of figure skating. She went on to be a professional figure skater and paved the way for others. She created amazing moves that quickly became very popular in the various figure skating events. One of them is called the Hamill Camel which is a very daring combination of spins that she incorporated into her early routines. She won four professional figure skating titles before retiring from the ice. After that she went on to purchase various ice skating facilities so she could offer lessons to others interested in the area of figure skating. These facilities offer lessons for a very affordable cost as she realized all too well that excellent figure skaters were having to leave their dreams behind as they didn't have the thousands of dollars it took each year to pay for a good quality coach. Laurie Baker became quite popular in 2002 when she helped the USA woman's ice hockey team beat China with a score of 12 to 1. She scored two of those 12 points and was credited with assisting other players on her team with others. Since ice hockey has mainly be viewed as a game for men to play, this was a great success for the USA team. It really helped spectators to take notice of women in this particular winter sport. There are plenty more outstanding women that have contributed to winter sports. The lines are starting to be crossed more and more so particular sports aren't deem for men only anymore. Having female role models is very important for young women so they can believe it is possible to achieve their dreams. As a result you can expect to see plenty more women excel in the areas of different winter sports. The Sport of Ice Fishing Fishing is a very common sport that can take place all times of the year. During the colder months of the year though ice fishing becomes a very popular event. Depending on the area where you are fishing there may be small cabins with heat for the person to sit in. Other times you will have to make due on the cold ice so make sure you are prepared for the weather. Some of the most popular places for ice fishing include Alaska and Canada. The weather is often cold enough there to offer ice that remains completely frozen enough to safely fish on. You need to make sure you have the right tools for you in order to enjoy ice fishing though. You need to cut a whole in the ice that will allow you to place your fishing pole in. Depending on the depth of the ice you can use either a saw or an auger. The types of fish you will find at any location depend on the time of year that you go ice fishing. If you are after a particular type of fish, make sure you take the time to research where they will be found at. You can schedule ice fishing trips to various locations around the world if you don't happen to live in an area that offers this amazing winter sport. The type of fish you are targeting will also affect the type of bait you want to use in order to entice them to take a nibble. You will find most fish are willing to bite early in the morning as that is when they will go to the surface area looking for food. As the day progresses you will find you catch fewer fish. About an hour before the sun goes down you will find the rise the surface to eat again. Knowing when the fish will be biting can help you have the most success while ice fishing. While ice fishing is a very exciting adventure and a popular winter sport, there are plenty of accidents that take place annually. People can become ill or die from exposure to the cold so make sure you are well protected against the wind. Pay attention to signs of hypothermia and frostbite while you are ice fishing. Avoid consuming alcohol which can delay your reaction times while ice fishing as well. Make sure you wear boots that will keep your feet warm and offer you good traction as you walk along the ice. You should dress in layers for ice fishing so you can be as warm or as cool as you need to be. Remember to wear sunscreen as the sun can easily reflect off the ice and snow which will cause the sun to burn your face faster. Many people walk along the frozen ice to find a good spot to make their hole. They may also take their vehicles or small wagons for their fishing supplies onto the ice. There is the risk that you or your equipment may fall through the ice so always take the time to find out how secure it is. It is a good idea to carry rope with you in case you see someone in danger that needs help getting out of the ice. Winter Olympics There are plenty of different sports to keep your attention if you are watching the Winter Olympics. They take place every four years at different locations found around the world. Some of the most exciting events of the entire Olympics take place during the winter games. The most popular winter sports events that get watched are the skiing competitions and the skating events. There are ten different events that take place for both men and women to compete in for the Alpine skiing competition. Cross country skiing is offered as an individual and as a team event with competitions spanning over several different distances ranging from 15 km to 40 km. Freestyle skiing allows those in competition to be judged on their style, their stunts, and the level of difficulty that they are able to offer during their routine. Ski jumping allows contestants to race down hills and then see how far they can jump in the air across an area. The way in which they land is also judged. The Nordic combined is a skiing event that offers a combination of cross country skiing combined with jumping. Snowboarding was added to the Winter Olympic Games in 1998 and continues to be one that many people love to watch. These events require the individual to use a board strapped to their feet without any poles as you would use in regular skiing. The individual controls the direction of the snowboard with their feet and body. In the skating categories of the Winter Olympics, figure skating is watched by millions of viewers. There are individual and team events which have both been plagued with controversy over the years. In 1992 Nancy Kerrigan was attacked and injured while practicing for the Olympics. It was later determined that a rival, Tonya Harding, had launched the plan with her boyfriend to get Kerrigan out of the way for the competition. In 2002 there was controversy surrounding the judges as the Canadian team had a flawless routine but the Russian team walked away with the gold. Rumors that some judges had been paid off quickly circulated and eventually the Canadian team was offered a gold medal. However, the accusations could not be substantiated enough to justify the removal of the gold medal from the Russian team. The event of speed skating in the winter Olympics is one that has gained the attention of the audience in recent years. This involves individuals and teams racing around the ice at neck breaking speeds. There is plenty of action though to keep you on the edge of your seat as they skate around the track. Ice hockey is always a fun sport to watch, and there are events in the Winter Olympics for both men's teams and women's teams. Canada holds the record for the most gold medals in this event with 13. There is plenty of stiff competition in the ice hockey games though so make sure you tune in to cheer on your favorite teams. The fastest sport in the Winter Olympics is the Luge. This event involves one or two people on a small sled that quickly descends down the course. The riders control the speed and the movement of the sled with their bodies so they have to exhibit strength in their calves and their shoulders in order to be very fast. The bobsleigh events are very similar but there are events for a full five person team as well as a two person team. They sit upright for this particular event in the Winter Olympics while they lay down for the Luge events. The next Winter Olympic Games will be taking place in 2010 and will be hosted by Canada. You will be able to watch all your favorite sports as the teams from around the world compete to take home the gold metals in the various individual and team sports. Hosting the Winter Olympic Games Hosting the Winter Olympic Games is something that is tremendous honor, but there is quite an investment that has to take place on the behalf of the host city. This is why Denver, Colorado declined to host the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. The voters of the city decided not to approve a $5 million bond in order to pay for updates, improvements, and promotions for the Winter Olympic Games. Yet the initial investment for getting read to host the Winter Olympic Games is something that many areas are willing to do. The amount of revenue they reap during the Olympic Games as well as after that due to the publicity for their city more than pays for the initial cost to get ready for the event. A large portion of the money they earn comes from the television rights to air the Olympic events from their city. Those cities that want to host the Winter Olympic Games have to place a bid for it. The committee will then review each bid and narrow the options down to three or four. From there a full evaluation of the city will be conducted in order to determine where the best possible location will be. It is very common for cities that want to host the Winter Olympic Games to submit a bid each time they are open until they are awarded the honor of hosting the event. If they aren't accepted because they don't have the facilities to successfully host the games then they continue working on constructing them and having them in place before the next bidding session. Allowing the Winter Olympic Games to take place in various locations around the world offers more of a universal theme to the concept of the Olympic Games. Since it doesn't always take place in the same country it doesn't seem to belong to any one of them but to all of them collectively. It is a great experience though to have the Winter Olympic Games hosted close to where you live. This allows you to go to many of the events and see them live rather than just on TV. The 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Vancouver, Canada. This will make the third time that Canada has had the honor of hosting the Olympics and the second round for the Winter Olympic Games. It is estimated that it will cost Canada approximately $1.4 billion to host this event. $200 million of this budget will be directly spent on security measures for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Processing is already underway for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games as well which will be held in Sochi, Russia. This is an amazing feat when you consider only 20 years ago Russia was considered to be a very isolated and different form of government than others around the world. Yet Russia has plenty to do before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. More than $580 million will be spent on construction, to lay more than 2,000 miles of fiber optics for communication, and building four hydropower stations in order to ensure there is sufficient electricity for the event. Expansions of the railway and various airports is also part of the construction process to ensure they can handle the capacity of people coming in for the event. Scandals of the Winter Olympic Games The Winter Olympic Games are highly anticipated as they bring the best athletes from all over the world to compete. While there is plenty of publicity that surrounds the Winter Olympic Games, some of it isn't the type of attention that organizers want. The Olympic Games are to be a symbol of peace among countries and good sportsmanship. So when scandals emerge about cheating it really affects the overall perception that people have about the Olympics as a whole. These types of scandals have been going on since the early days of the Winter Olympic Games though. In 1948 it was discovered that someone had tampered with the bobsleds of the USA team. It is a good thing it was discovered before the event because those responsible had loosened the bolts that hold the steering mechanisms in place. This would have resulted in a serious accident occurring. Those responsible for this act were never caught though and it left the 1948 with some uneasy feelings in place. Germany did very well in the 1964 Winter Olympic Games. However, two people were stripped of their gold medals as it was discovered they were categorized as professionals. In 1968 it was discovered that East Germany had been heating up the runners on their sleds in the luge competition in order to beat the competition. Even if you don't follow figure skating, chances are you know the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan story that unfolded during the Winter Olympic Games in 1994. At one time these women had been friends on the ice but that quickly changed when Kerrigan was hit in the knees with a metal baton during a practice session. As a result she wasn't able to perform and Harding was given her place on the Olympic team. It was discovered that Harding's ex-husband and friend had planned the attack. Harding admitted she knew afterwards but that she didn't report the information. Kerrigan was able to perform at the 1992 Olympic Games and she walked away with the silver medal. She had the support of the entire world behind her it seemed due to what she had been through in order to even perform at the games. Hosting the Winter Olympic Games is quite an honor, and one that brings plenty of attention and revenue to the area. In 2002 a scandal was discovered involving bribes paid for Salt Lake City, Utah to host the Winter Olympic Games. These bribes includes numerous ski trips, real estate deals, and cash. Even though the scandal was investigated and several people resigned from the Winter Olympics Committee, the games still took place in Salt Lake City, Utah that year. The area of figure skating was plagued once again in 2002 at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. It is believed that some of the judges had been bribed to give high scores to the Russian team in exchange for their team getting high scores in another event. Everyone agreed that Canada should have gotten the gold medal. Eventually they were given the gold but the Russian team was not stripped of theirs. Coaching is an essential part of any good Winter Olympic team, and the reputation of these coaches is very important. Tim Nardiello is a coach for the USA team but he has been placed on leave. There are allegations of sexual harassment that have been filed by several females under his direction. The issue is being carefully investigated and the results of that will determine if he is reinstated as a coach for them or not. Officials have worked very hard to make changes to how scores are calculated for the Winter Olympic Games. This is to make sure the weight of only one judge doesn't affect the overall outcome of the results. They also continue to test all athletes to make sure they haven't been using drugs to enhance their performance. The reputation of the Olympic Games is on the line each time such scandals arise, and with the power of the media these days you can be sure it will be National news. The Iditarod Alaska is well known for the amount of snow they get annually as well as for the bitter cold. An annual event that takes place is the Iditarod which is a race where the individual called a musher is pulled on a sled by a team of snow dogs. The length of the race is more than 1,100 miles so both the musher and the dogs have to be in top shape to cover the distance and to stay protected against the cold. The racers move along this distance at a very fast pace with the record being just over 8 full days. Some years it has taken up to 15 days for all of the racers to successfully cross the finish line depending on the weather and any problems they may encounter along the way. It is not uncommon for blizzards to be taking place while the Iditarod is in motion. Check points are located along the Iditarod trail in order for musher's to get a warm meal and to camp for the night. Veterinarians are also on hand to assist with any problems the snow dogs may be experiencing. Having these check points also helps to ensure the musher's are able to stay on the right trail for completing the race. Musher's have to plan the supplies they will need for the entire race well in advance. The products that they purchase will be at the various checkpoints and available for pick up when they check in. This way they don't have to carry all of their supplies the entire way. The musher's have the option of staying at the checkpoints or continuing on their way. However, over the course of the race they are mandated to spend one 24 hour period at any of the checkpoints, one 8 hour layover at any checkpoint, and then another 8 hour checkpoint at the White Mountain checkpoint. These checkpoints are in place in order to ensure the safety of the musher's and the snow dogs. They are also in place to ensure that every single racing team follows the designated route. This avoids speculations of cheating and animal rights activists are satisfied that the needs of the snow dogs are being met. The Iditarod has become an annual event since 1967 as a way to honor musher's and their snow dogs for all their hard work. According to history books, a team of musher's and sled dogs moved serum needed to cure Diphtheria in Alaska in 1925. They moved the serum more than 600 miles due to the fact that the train and airlines couldn't get to the area due to the harsh winter weather. Today the Iditarod is the most anticipated sporting event in all of Alaska. Tourists come from all over the world to watch stretches of the race being ran. The various towns in Alaska where the Iditarod runs through hold large ceremonies and celebrations for tourists to enjoy as well. They may be able to meet actually snow dogs up close too but not those that are in the actual race. There are two different routes that are run for the Iditarod races -- one that goes North and one that goes South. The routes are alternated so make sure you take that into consideration if you are planning a trip to watch a segment of the Iditarod race. There are plenty of team sponsors as well that offer supplies and merchandise to encourage spectators to cheer on certain musher's. You can track the results of the Iditarod each day on the internet and find out who is in the lead. You can also see the amount of distance they have covered in a given day along the route of the Iditarod. You can also see the amount of money that they earn for winning the Iditarod. Most people that engage in their winter sport do it more for the thrill than for the money though. Special Olympics Winter Games Since 1968 the Special Olympics Winter Games have been taking place at selected locations around the world. They take place every two years which is different from the traditional Winter Olympic Games which only take place every four years. While there are less people in the Special Olympics Winter Games than the regular Olympics, the amount of effort and training the participants put into it is the same. All participants in the Special Olympic Winter Games must be at least 8 years of age. There is no limit for hold old a person is before they can no longer be a part of the Special Olympic Winter Games. This program is designed to help these individuals stay healthy by getting plenty of exercise and to help them develop positive self esteem. Each participant in the Special Olympic Winter Games is taught the essentials of their particular sport. They have to abide by the Code of Conduct which mandates that they are respectful of themselves and others. They have to use effective communication skills that don't include talking down to others or abusive language. They have to agree to be dedicated to the training program and to work to the very best of their abilities. As the number of participants in the Special Olympics grows more people are needed to assist them. It is very common for older people who has previously participated in the Special Olympic Winter Games to move into helping to train others. This allows them to continue being a vital part of this organization. They also have to provide written verification from professionals verifying that they do have the symptoms of an intellectual disability, delays with their cognitive abilities, or a developmental disability. As a result of one or more of these issues the person must experience challenges due to difficulties with their development, ability to learn, or their ability to adapt to the situation. The division that a participant will be in is determined by an overall score based on a serious of factors. Their individual abilities are taken into consideration, their age, and their gender. Various types of disabilities will affect their overall score so that they are placed in the right division to offer them a challenge but to also take their personal needs into consideration. The various sporting events available for the Special Olympic Winter Games include Alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, figure skating, and ice hockey. The rules used in the games are different than those for the traditional Winter Olympic Games. The rules of the Special Olympics version are determined by the sponsors, coaches, and families of those with the disabilities. They are then approved or denied by the International Sports Federations and National Governing Bodies. Each year in January the current rules are reviewed and any submissions for changes are reviewed. This process ensures the rules in place are offering a safe and fun environment for those participating in the Special Olympics Winter Games to enjoy. The 2007 Special Olympics Winter Games have just concluded in Shanghi, China. Winter Games and the number of people for 2009 is anticipated to be even higher. Boise, Idaho in the United States has been selected to host the 2009 games. The Special Olympics continues to work with the help of volunteers to offer training to more than 2 million people with disabilities in more than 165 countries.
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