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PHOTOS: Extreme winter sports (and where to try them)

2:09 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
  • Forget skiing this winter. Adrenaline junkies have found some creative and rather extreme ways to get their winter thrills? Which do you dare try? RafaA Cichawa Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Scuba diving usually involves warm, tropical locales and colorful coral reefs. Not so with arctic diving. Below the surface of the arctic ice lies sights most have never seen -- icebergs, shipwrecks, floe cracks and seal holes. Visit Greenland
  • If you want to try this extreme form of skiing, one of the best places to do so is Squaw Valley, Calif., where American extreme skiing was born on the snow-covered cliffs known as the Palisades. Squaw Valley/Jeff Engerbretson
  • In Finnmark, Norway, you can go diving for giant King crabs and feast on your catch after you've warmed up again. Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
  • If you want to catch a game of snow polo, you can do so in Aspen, site of the annual World Snow Polo Championship. swiss-image.ch/Photo Christof Sonderegger
  • Most skiers glide down a mountain. Others jump right off the edge of it. Ski cliff jumping represents extreme skiing at its pinnacle, and experts have been known to make jumps upwards of 100 feet. Getty Images/Ingram Publishing
  • If you're ever wanted to climb up a waterfall without getting wet, ice climbing's for you. Digital Vision./Thinkstock
  • Heli-skiing was born in British Columbia more than 40 years ago, and the Canadian region remains one of the premier heli-skiing destinations on the planet. Cody Marsh Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • The sport of ice climbing involves scaling icefalls, frozen waterfalls or other sheer surfaces covered in ice. Ouray Ice Park just outside the town of Ouray, Colorado offers some 200 climbs for all ability levels. Scott Cramer Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • When temperatures drop, some polo horses come out to play. The sport of snow polo was introduced in St. Mortiz, Switzerland in 1985. The rules are the same, but the horses get special high-traction footwear and the ball is bright red to make it easier to see on the snow-covered arena. swiss-image.ch/ C. Sonderegger
  • Snowkiting is similar to kiteboarding, but on snow or ice. It's a bit easier to learn, and since you can snowkite on a flat or even uphill surface, you don't need to be close to a mountain to try it. Jovana Milanko Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Hardangervidda, located between Oslo and Bergen in Norway, is considered to be one of the world's top snowkiting locations thanks to stable wind conditions and a long winter season. Closer to home, Skyline, Utah also enjoys excellent snowkiting. Jan Tyler Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Much of the world's most extreme big mountain terrain must be reached via helicopter in a sport called heli-skiing.Sometimes, the pistes accessible by lift just aren't enough. Cody Marsh Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • The global final of Red Bull's Ice Cross Downhill competition often takes place in Quebec. Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
  • If you think speed skating is a blood-pumping, fast paced sport, wait 'til you see ice cross. This Red Bull-invented sport involves racers in ice hockey gear speeding down icy tracks with plenty of steep drops and hairpin turns, usually in an urban environment. Sebastian Marko/Red Bull Content Pool
  • The new extreme sport of snow kayaking, pioneered by the folks at Red Bull, involves racing highly waxed kayaks down a snowy mountain, complete with steep turns and jumps, and no way to slow down. Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
  • What do you get when you combine downhill skiing and paragliding? Speed flying. Riders have been known to reach speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour while performing this extreme sport. Flickr/Ludovic Péron
  • In much of the world, these polar bear swims are associated with festivals or fundraising efforts. In Finland, people hop in to frozen water for boost of energy it offers between trips to the sauna. Visit Finland/Lauri Rotko
  • For something involving a little less adrenaline but still plenty extreme, try the Scandinavian pastime of ice swimming. Olga Koronevska iStock/Thinkstock
  • You can also skijor with the help of a horse. Equestrian skijoring has become an annual tradition in Leadville, Colo. where a horse and rider pull a skier down the main street and over multiple jumps and obstacles. Wikimedia Commons/Kaila Angello
  • Cross country skiing is hard work, but the sport of skijoring makes it a little less strenuous. In Anchorage, skiers strap on cross country skis and tether themselves to their four-legged friends for an extra boost of speed. Earle Keatley Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • The first ever professional speed flying competition was held in Les Arcs, France, and the ski resort there also operates a flying school for adrenaline junkies hoping to learn. David Spurdens/www.ExtremeSportsPhoto.com/Fuse Getty Images/Fuse
  • Red Bull Snow Kayak competitions take place all over the world, but most ski resorts don't allow this dangerous winter sport. If you really want to brave it, you'll have to go backcountry. Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
  • Sailing enthusiasts who don't want to pack away the sails for the winter should try ice yachting -- a sport involving racing a sailboat on skates around an ice-covered course. Ramunas Jonutis iStock/Thinkstock
  • While ice yachting is popular throughout much of Northern Europe, it's most developed as a sport in the US and Canada, particularly Nova Scotia with its excellent ice and long season. PinkBadger Getty Images/iStockphoto
    
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USA TODAY - Here's a list of extreme winter sports you may want to try, if you're brave enough.

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