Winter Olympics 2022: How to experience winter sports across the North East - including skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and skating

The Winter Olympics may be in China, but the sporting experiences can still be had locally.

The 2022 Winter Olympics are being hosted in Beijing, and although time zones and distance may mean UK crowds can’t keep up to date with what’s happening on the other side of the world, there is no reason why anyone interested can’t be a part of the sports on show at home.

So while you’re keeping an eye on scores and updates from the games and spot a sport you fancy getting involved in, take a look and see what you can do locally.

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Ice Hockey

The Winter Olympics this year are being hosted in China(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images).

Traditionally one of the most exciting sports at each Winter Olympic Games, Ice Hockey mixes intricate skill, vital team work and heavy aggression into a high tempo spectacle.

Newcastle’s local Ice Hockey team are the Whitley Warriors, who play at the Whitley Bay Ice Rink in North Tyneside. Despite spending the majority of their history at the top level of the sport in the UK, they currently play in the third tier National Ice Hockey League Division One. Games at this level are played on Sunday evenings and the season runs from September until April, meaning there is still plenty of time to get over and support the team.

The Warriors are having an impressive season so far, after 15 games they are second in their Northern side of the table, just two points away from the top spot.

The club are always on the search for new, young players up to the U18 age group.

Elsewhere in the region, the Billingham Stars play in the same division as the Warriors down in Stockton.

Skiing

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The North East’s premier skiing facility can be found in Silksworth, Sunderland and is a part of the well-known Silksworth Sports complex which also houses a full athletics track and football pitches.

The centre has three ski slopes in addition to a misted main slope and two nursery slopes for beginners. Lessons can be booked with instructors online for all abilities.

Elsewhere in the region, there are facilities at Allenheads in Northumberland whenever snow falls as well as a dry slope at Whickham Thorns Outdoor Activity Centre in Gateshead.

Snowboarding

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The slopes at Silksworth Sports Complex also cater for snowboard wannabes with the site’s main slope and both beginner slopes with instructors available for sessions, advice and support.

Curling

While curling remains more popular in Scotland, the English Curling Association are hoping to branch away from their main spots in Preston and Cambridge.

Figure Skating

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Away from the temporary rinks we all see around Christmas, the main place to get out on the ice is at Whitley Bay Ice Rink. The home of the Whitley Warriors is open to the public with no booking required.

Morning, afternoon and evening sessions last two hours each with tickets costing just £7 for kids and £7.50 for adults while students can have a go at the reduced price of £6.50.

The rink also host lessons for all ages with all information available on the site’s website.

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