The 2018 Winter Olympics are gearing up in Pyeongchang, South Korea. And, if the idea of watching the Olympics on TV maks you want to get off your couch and try them out yourself, Pennsylvania offers a great chance to experience some of the more exciting Winter Olympic sports.
Of course, you probably know about the many great ski resorts in Pennsylvania that allow you to try your hand at a bit of downhill skiing. You can also see some of the world’s best hockey players compete in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (with other professional teams in Hershey, Allentown, Wilkes-Barre, and Reading). However, these aren’t the only winter sports that can be experienced in Pennsylvania.
In fact, there are several Winter Olympic sports that you might not have thought to try that can be done in Pennsylvania. Here are five that should get your adrenaline flowing:
While you can go ice skating at many different places in the state, there are only a few locations where you can actually learn how to speed skate like an Olympian.
One of those places is the Eastern Speed Skating Club which offers lessons and practices on weekends in Exton and Reading. From their fact sheet it looks like they are very welcoming of new skaters who want to learn.
There is a speed skating club in Pittsburgh. They seem to offer regular sessions through their Facebook page that are open to beginners.
If you want to take things a little slower on the ice, many ice rinks in Pennsylvania offer figure skating lessons. While many of these are geared towards younger kids, most also offer either classes or private lessons for adults.
While you might not be the next Olympic gold medalist, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to be graceful on the ice.
Okay, so tackling a half-pipe isn’t exactly something that you can just wake up one day and decide to do. However, for those who are already proficient on a snowboard, this can be a great way to take your fun to the next level.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort boasts an Olympic-sized 22-foot snowboard half-pipe that’s perfect for the daredevils out there. As the only Olympic-sized half-pipe on the east coast, Seven Springs is your destination if you want to try your hand at one of the most dangerous winter sports.
A bit too extreme? Many of the ski resorts in Pennsylvania offer snowboard terrain parks that are sure to excite, but also come with a lot less risk of bodily harm.
If flying through the air isn’t your thing, stay on the ground and try a bit of cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing is a popular winter activity in Pennsylvania with trails in many different areas of the state.
Organizations, like the Pennsylvania Cross-Country Skiers Association, can help you find lessons and equipment rental. However, once you know what you’re doing, cross-country skiing can be done just about anywhere that there’s enough snow.
Of all the Winter Olympic sports, curling might be the most unknown to many Americans. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try curling in Pennsylvania.
There are actually five curling clubs in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, Meadville, Bucks County, and Pittsburgh. While they all offer open houses and classes, the Pittsburgh Curling Club and the Bucks County Curling Club seem to offer many great chances to learn how to curl. If you like it, they even offer a curling league to help you refine your skills even further.
If you’re looking for something a little less strenuous, try snowshoeing in Parker Dam State Park.
Do you know of any other Winter Olympic sports that you can do in Pennsylvania or have you tried one of the ones that I talked about? Let me know in the comments section below.