While icy tears roll down our cheeks, the Winter Olympics bid farewell for another four years. And, yet, there’s a lot to be thankful for because now we have some new favorite sports that we can obsess about while we wait for the 2022 Beijing Games.
These sports all have lives beyond the four-year Olympics cycle. Sure, everything seems to culminate at the games, but there’s so much more happening between those big, global events and it’s gotten even easier to follow them in the internet age.
From World Cup competitions to regular leagues, there are a bundle of ways to keep following your new favorite Winter Olympic sport through the rest of the year. You’ll learn more about the athletes and come to appreciate the years-long effort it takes to make it to the Olympic medal podium, too.
One caveat: since we’re nearing the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, most of the sports are at the tail end of their seasons. But never fear, they’ll return when the weather gets cold again, giving you a chance to do a little research in the meantime.
There are still a few events left to help you get your winter sports fix, so let’s get started.
The Paralympic Games
Still really want to watch some nation-based sports competition? The Paralympic Games will be held March 9 through March 18 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a few weeks after the completion of the Winter Olympics at many of the same venues we’ve been watching the last two weeks.
Sports include snowboarding, hockey, and (yes!) wheelchair curling and feature a lot of the same great human interest stories of the Winter Olympics with an even bigger dose of inspiration and all the same excitement of nail-biting competition.
NBC and NBCSN will be airing dozens of hours of the Paralympic Games plus there should be more coverage online, making it easy to keep up.
Perhaps the most popular sport of the Winter Olympics, figure skating lives in with a jam-packed calendar. It’s also often easy to find on television with the biggest competitions, like the World Championships in Milan in March, usually garnering national broadcasts. The 2018 event will have coverage on both The Olympic Channel and NBC Sports.
Additionally, it’s a lot easier to compete in these events throughout the year thanks to indoor rinks, so there are a slew of more local competitions run by the U.S. Figure Skating Association, giving you the chance to see talent both local and national.
Oh, and if you’re really keen to see the 2018 U.S. team spin and leap across the ice, there’s the Stars on Ice tour which skates across the U.S. this spring.
Skiing features one of the most action-packed schedules thanks in part to the sheer number of events, from the popular alpine skiing to freestyle skiing to ski jumping. All of those disciplines are under the umbrella of the International Ski Federation (FIS), the same organization that oversees snowboarding.
Alpine skiing has a lot of tours you can follow outside of the Olympics. One to definitely keep an eye on is the FIS World Cup, featuring American stars Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn, which picks up next week. That’s right, no rest for the weary.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the organization pushing U.S. athletes toward the Olympic podium, has a ton more listings for a wide variety of events happening on U.S. soil that you can attend yourself.
And the World Pro Ski Tour has two events to come in March featuring dual slalom, both of which will air on the CBS Sports Network.
As for other skiing disciplines, Nordic combined, cross-country skiing, and freestyle skiing all have events coming up, as well, and if you’re into big air, ski jumping has some World Cup competitions yet to go for both men and women through the end of March.
The snowboarding calendar is also pretty packed with international events through March. If you’re in the U.S., there’s the U.S. Revolution tour which has an event in Park City, Utah and one at Mammoth Mountain in California.
On a global scale, there are still several weekends of action left across several snowboarding disciplines, including freestyle, alpine, and cross. The FIS calendar has you covered with the handful of remaining events before the current season is brought to a close.
Perhaps the 2018 Olympics’ breakout sport thanks to a Cinderella run by the U.S. Men’s team who clinched gold for the first time ever, curling is a sport on the rise and while there aren’t a ton of chances to watch the sport outside the Olympics, it’s one you can still find a way to participate in.
First, there are some big world championships coming up. The women’s world championships are from March 17 through March 25 in Ontario, Canada and then the men’s world championships hits the U.S. for the first time in 10 years as the event is being held in Las Vegas, March 31 through April 8.
Second, be sure to scope out the full events section over at Team USA’s website for local events happening all around the U.S. (spoiler alert: you’ll have better luck in colder regions).
The ice tube sports: bobsled, luge, and skeleton
Throwing one’s self down a tube of ice at speeds around 80 mph seems like a great idea for somebody else. But you can enjoy the thrills and occasional spills of life on the ice track beyond the Olympics.
Well, as long as you’re willing to wait. Since winter is almost done where these sports are most popular, it’s starting to get too warm to regularly race on an outdoor track, so most of the sleds are hung up for the season. But there’s still plenty to look forward to.
As for bobsled and skeleton, the current calendar listed by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation shows the first two-man bobsled event is on the calendar for November — so only another month or nine before the fast ice track action returns.
Over the past 20 years, Olympic hockey was something of an all-star affair thanks to the usage of NHL players. That ended this year with the men’s USA hockey team being made up of a mix of college, minor league, and non-NHL pro league players.
The women’s USA hockey team is made up of a similar mix: college players, players from the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), and players from the Minnesota Whitecaps independent pro team (with a lone player, Sidney Morin, from a Swedish professional hockey league).
So there’s lots of hockey to follow, right? Well, it’s a good news/bad news situation. First, the bad news: as the calendar gives way to early spring, most hockey leagues (except for the NHL which plays into June) will be wrapping up.
The good news? Playoff hockey is super exciting.
For both the men’s and women’s college teams, there’s the tournament to make the Frozen Four. The men’s event will be April 5 through April 7 and the women’s is March 16-18. Both are worth watching if you’ve discovered a new love of hockey thanks to the Olympics.
If you want more non-NHL pro league action, the WNHL’s semifinals will take place on March 17 with the championship game on March 24. The American Hockey League (AHL), which boasts a few mens team members, still has a ways to go in its season before the playoffs begin in mid-April.
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the predominantly Russian-based international league, boasts the most U.S. players of the international leagues. The KHL season wraps up March 1 with playoffs starting not long thereafter.
Both short-track and long-track speed skating feature crowded annual calendars, even during Olympic years, so there’s still lots to catch on the ice. For instance, check out the International Skating Union’s (ISU) calendar for speed skating, which includes events that actually overlap with the Olympics.
Two long-track speed skating events to mark your calendars for: the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships in Amsterdam March 9-11 and the ISU’s final World Cup event of the 2017-18 season, just a week later in China.
Short-track has some solid events left on the post-Olympics calendar, too, before its season wraps up, with the highest-profile event being the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships March 16 through 18 in Montreal.
That should be enough to keep you going for now.