Are you an ardent sailer who’s avoided sailing in Winter or travelling to freezing cold climates in the Northern Hemisphere simply because you wouldn’t be able to pursue your passion on frozen lakes? Or have you tried sailing and were a little underwhelmed by it’s safe, controlled nature and are looking for a more extreme version? If yes, then iceboating would the perfect option for you: an extreme sport, which essentially sailing… on ice.

Iceboating is a popular sport in a number of US states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota and various areas throughout Europe. The idea of iceboats was conceptualised in Europe over 400 years ago and in America about 150 years ago. It was originally used as a means of transporting goods across frozen lakes and for a long time was the only way to travel ‘faster than falling’. Today, however, iceboats are predominantly used for recreational and racing purposes.

The boats are very similar to traditional sail boats in functional design, but with a few key differences: they’re fitted with skis and runners so that it  can glide over ice rather than float on water. They are high-tech craft with aero-dynamic design and low friction, meaning they can travel up to ten times a given wind speed. Most iceboats will set you back between $2,500-$3000, however there is also a range of second-hand options and it is actually a surprisingly easy undertaking to build your own, which can be very safe and fully-functioning.


While many iceboaters choose to race the crafts in national and international championships, simply using the sport for recreational use is also a popular option. Most iceboating associations adopt collision risk management strategies, such as creating a uniform direction either directly upwind or downwind and wearing full sailing protection gear to reduce the dangers associated with the sport. The adrenaline rush and thrill of the sport would be difficult to eliminate, however, due to the high velocity travel and the ever-present risk of encountering a flaw in the ice.


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