For winter sports enthusiasts, figuring out when and where to learn a new cold weather activity can be a bit of a head-scratcher. While summer sports can easily transfer between outdoor and indoor venues, the same can’t exactly be said for their snowy counterparts.
But never fear! We’ve assembled a roundup of places around the world where athletes can try out new winter sports all year long.
1. Kitzbühel, Austria
While Austria boasts a number of cities that are great for winter sports, Kitzbühel stands out among the pack, especially for those interested in alpine skiing. The small town is home to the Streif, a famous mountain course full of blind corners and high-speed jumps that’ll thrill even the most experienced skier. For those just trying out the sport, check out the “family Streif,” a section that’s blocked off for novices and kids.
2. Whistler, Canada
Located north of Vancouver lies the snowy enclave of Whistler, a town best known for having one of the largest ski resorts in all of North America. Aside from its great skiing opportunities, Whistler is also the perfect place to try out bobsleigh. The Whistler Sliding Centre holds public training sessions every day, where beginners go through classes in track etiquette before plummeting down the track with a trained crew.
3. Jotunheim, Norway
For those interested in trying out a more relaxing winter sport, consider a cross-country skiing vacation in Jotunheim, Norway. The mountainous area sprawls for roughly 3,500 km² in the southern part of the country and features one of the most stunning ski treks in the world, complete with dramatic plateaus, soaring peaks and plenty of lush powder. While the going can be arduous, the route is suitable for both rookies and experts alike.
4. Sheffield, UK
Ice hockey continues to be one of the most popular—and well loved—winter sports in the western world, and there’s no better place to learn the pastime than in Sheffield, UK. The city has a rich hockey culture, thanks in part to its two official teams and its many Olympic-size rinks. New players can sign up for a number of different courses at the Sheffield ice hockey academy, ranging from learn-to-skate classes all the way to six-week intensives that put them right on the ice.
5. Best For All Winter Sports – Salt Lake City, Utah
Winter daredevils will find a lot to love in Salt Lake City, particularly if they’re willing to try their hand at the exhilarating sport of Skeleton. The activity is similar to bobsleigh, except instead of racing on their backs, participants barrel down the track head first. There’s a lot of training involved before beginners can attempt the dangerous sport, but coaches at the city’s Olympic Park offer regular lessons through the “G-Force fantasy camp.”