10 of the best winter sports resorts in Europe for skiing and more

Not everyone is thrilled by the idea of a week’s skiing and little else; here are ski bases with the full St Moritz array of winter fun but without the Swiss original’s steep prices

Thrills and spills: Melbourne gets serious in bid for Australia’s sporting capital title

There’s plenty for both local and visiting sport fans to enjoy in the Victorian capital, such as the grand prix, Asian fusion food and the 2017 AFL season

Take the kids to … High Sports climbing centre, Brighton

With indoor climbing set to be part of the next Olympics, interest in the sport is on the ascent. This place offers a fun but professional introduction for kids

Fatbiking in California: could the cycling trend be as big as snowboarding?

Fatbiking is booming, with more and more ski resorts introducing the sport, including Tahoe Donner in the Sierra Nevada where our writer tries it out

Sports the Olympics Forgot – Donkey Jousting

This is an excerpt from the Donkey Jousting story in the book, Sports the Olympics Forgot

The sport of Donkey Jousting has taken place under the walls of Caernarvon Castle in North-West Wales since 1300 when King Edward I was building the castle that’s seen today by thousands of visitors. The original jousters were Welsh soldiers who were trying to tempt the English knights into a skirmish. As all horses had been commandeered by the English the jousters had to use donkeys instead and this just drew ribald comments from the knights who found the whole scene comical. To compound matters, the Welsh had to use willow branches instead of lances.

Realising that the English weren’t going to be tempted into a fight, the local Welsh people decided to enjoy themselves. To further parody the English knights the Welsh jousters dressed up in highly coloured garments and decorated their donkeys with rags and flowers. Some of the animals spent more time trying to eat the flowers than trotting around the jousting ‘field’ specially created for the occasion.

The tournament was run on a round robin basis where each jouster took on every other opponent over the best of three jousts. A point was scored if the willow branch touched either the shield or the armour of their opponent.

The biggest problem that riders had was making their donkey gallop at any speed; most donkeys trotted at best and often decided to nuzzle the opposing animal rather than running by. This led to the jousters hitting their opponents many times rather than just once, so quite often the counting judges had a problem counting the blows each had scored. Quite often one donkey would chase another donkey out of the field and in this instance both riders would be disqualified for failing to control their animals.

Mad Paddling from Hobart, Australia

This excerpt is from Sports the Olympics Forgot

Hobart on the island of Tasmania is home to the greatest paddling sports event in the world. Kayakers, canoeists, and rowers from all over the world descend on Hobart in the last week of January to celebrate the sea and all those who seek to skim across its surface as quickly as possible.

This is no ordinary regatta though as the contestants are not allowed to use oars or paddles. Instead they can use only those implements found in other sports such as table tennis bats, pelota baskets, cricket bats, or wicket-keeping gloves. Competitors propel their canoes, kayaks, and boards across various stretches of open water using these implements and nothing else.

The event started when a cricket team set off on a paddling holiday in the Whit Sunday islands and brought along their cricket bats for a few games of beach cricket. When it came to starting a fire an argument started about the best kindling wood to use and the paddles of the canoes were found to be better than cricket bats for starting a good fire. After a week the team only had cricket bats left and had to paddle back home using these and the wicketkeeper’s gloves. This proved to be difficult and yet fun, so the team challenged other cricket teams, firstly in Queensland and then in the whole of Australia, to beat them in a race using cricket bats.

Great little ski resorts: Folgaria, Italy

The combined ski resort of Folgaria, Lavarone and Fiorentini offers good beginner and intermediate skiing in a relaxed small-town atmosphere