Sports Venues in Strange Places 

Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, USA

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The Coeur d’Alene Resort is a luxury resort hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Located on the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Coeur d Alene Resort features a marina, convention facilities, spa, as well as a notable 18-hole golf course. The hotel has 338 rooms and suites, and its main tower has 18 floors.

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Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course in Idaho is best known for its par-3 14th hole, which features the only movable island green in the world. Built on a barge on submerged tracks, the green is moved daily by computer and distance can range from 95 to 200 yards (87-183m).

Water taxis transport golfers to the hole, which can moved to change the difficulty of the shot (you have to swing from the mainland).

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Tennis Court at Burj Al Arab, United Arab Emirates

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The world’s highest tennis court stands atop the fourth highest hotel in the world – Burj al-Arab at Dubai. The tennis court is circular in shape and when no session is at play, it doubles as a helipad. 

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The exact height of the tennis court is not known, but the hotel is 321 m (1,053 feet) tall and the court is located very near the top.

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In 2005, when Roger Federer and Andre Agassi were at Dubai for a tournament, they were invited to play a few rounds at the Burj’s helipad-converted-tennis court.

Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.

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Ski Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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An indoor ski resort in the middle of the desert? Yes, that’s weird. Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters (27,000 sq yds) of indoor ski area. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, which also operates the Mall of the Emirates.

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Opened in November 2005, the indoor resort features an 85-meter-high (280ft) indoor mountain with 5 slopes of varying steepness and difficulty, including a 400-metre-long (1,300ft) run, the world’s first indoor black run, and various features (boxes, rails, kickers) that are changed on a regular basis. A quad lift and a tow lift carry skiers and snowboarders up the mountain. 

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Adjoining the slopes is a 3,000-square-metre (3,590 sq yds) Snow Park play area comprising sled and toboggan runs, an icy body slide, climbing towers, giant snowballs and an ice cave.

Ski Dubai is also home to a number of penguins who come out to play several times a day. Penguin encounters can be booked, allowing the public to interact directly with the penguins. Winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment are included in the price of admission.

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An extremely efficient insulation system helps the facility maintain a temperature of −1 °C during the day and −6 °C at night when the snow is produced.

Rooftop Mini Football Pitch, Japan

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There’s no beating the location of this singularly picturesque football (soccer) pitch: it sits atop the Tokyu Tokyo department store, right next to Shibuya Station.

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Adidas Futsal Park opened in 2001, in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup that Japan and South Korea co-hosted the following year, and it’s been doing a strong trade ever since.

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Traktor

Traktor Chelyabinsk, also known as Traktor (Russian: Трактор), is a professional ice hockey team based in Chelyabinsk, Russia. They are members of the Kharlamov Division of the Eastern Conference of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). From 1967 to 2009 the team played their home games at the Yunost Sport Palace. In 2009 the team moved to the arena now called Traktor Ice Arena named after Valery Belousov, their present home arena in Chelyabinsk.

Founded in 1947 as a team of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, Traktor have played for the Soviet and Russian championships since 1948. In 1948-1953 the team was called Dzerzhinets and Avangard in 1954 – 1958. The current name was adopted starting with the 1958–59 season.

Winter Surfing in Duluth, Minnesota!

When you think of surfing, Oahu, Bondi Beach, southern California and other tropical climes come to mind. But, believe it or not, they surf way up north in Duluth, Minnesota, in winter yet.

Why Winter Is Surfing Season in Minnesota

Catching a curl on a subzero Lake Superior isn’t easy, but some locals can’t get enough.

One of the biggest hits of the 1960s, the Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird,” originated in landlocked Minneapolis, where “hanging 10” seems laughably implausible. Up on Lake Superior, Minnesota’s surf scene is no joke. That is, unless catching a curl on subzero waters after brushing ice from your frozen eyelashes is funny to you. Papa-oom-mow-mow, cowboy.

“It kind of feels like a fairytale,” says “Big Wave” Dave Rostvold, who shapes boards by hand at his Duluth-based workshop Castle Glass Surfboards. “Surfing is a dream for a lot of people around the world. To be able to do it here in the Midwest, that’s a dream come true.”

After happening upon surfers working their magic on the frigid Superior waves, Joe Herron asked permission to photograph them. For both Herron and Rostvold, it took plenty of patience and study to gain any kind of confidence. Surfing is a deeply esoteric sport whose proponents are justifiably protective of their knowledge, especially in the North Shore’s frigid waters. Good waves are a finite resource, and mastering simple maneuvers, like “popping up” into a standing position, can be deeply humbling.

“It’s funny—I can both see that I’ve improved immensely since I started, but I’m also still really bad,” Herron says, chuckling. “It’s very tough, it’s physically demanding, it can be scary, but certain people just enjoy those kinds of activities.”

Bigger winds make bigger waves, which unfortunately means Superior is at its most surfable between November and February—when water temperatures barely tickle the high 30s. You need boots, gloves, and a high-quality, 6mm-thick hooded wetsuit. Herron says surfers warm up in their cars between “sets” of waves when temperatures become unbearable. He recalls photographing an experienced friend who somehow surfed for four straight hours in -17° windchill.

It’s easier to stay warm than you might think, though. All those waves mean you’re constantly in motion, to fight the current or stay in position. “What happens then is that your body heat gets elevated,” Herron explains. “So despite the fact that it’s very cold, if you’re always moving, you’re staying somewhat warm, provided you have a thick enough wetsuit.”

Bodacious Bucking Bull

Bodacious #J-31 (1988—May 16, 2000) was a bucking bull. He was known throughout the rodeo sport of bull riding as “the world’s most dangerous bull.” He was also known as “the greatest bull ever to buck.” During his rodeo career he was the 1994 and 1995 Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Bucking Bull of the Year, as well as the 1995 Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Champion Bull. He and Bruiser are the only bulls who have won bucking bull world championship titles in both organizations. Bodacious is most well known for his serious injury to bull riding icon Tuff Hedeman. Coincidentally, Hedeman is the only rider to win the world champion bull rider title in both organizations as well. Not long after, Bodacious also seriously injured Scott Breding. His owner, Sammy Andrews, then retired Bodacious. In 1999, Bodacious was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, and in 2017 into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame. In 2019, the PBR inducted Bodacious into the Brand of Honor, which is part of the PBR’s Heroes and Legends Celebration, the PBR’s unique way of honoring outstanding individuals and livestock in the sport of rodeo. For a bucking bull, this is the highest honor he can receive in the sport of bull riding.

Great Muhammad Ali Quote

This quote is from just before “the Rumble in the Jungle” when Ali defeated champion George Foreman in Zaire.

 “I’ve done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”

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The World Nomad Games

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World Nomad Games are an international sport competition dedicated to ethnic sports practiced in Central Asia. The main countries taking part in those games are the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Russia (especially Sakha, Buryatia, Altay, Kalmykia, Bashkortostan republics, etc.) as well as other countries like Mongolia, Turkey, and Afghanistan. The first two World Nomad Games were held in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan.

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A Kyrgyz stuntman performs during the first World Nomad Games in the countryside of Kyrgyzstan, September 10, 2014. The competition drew hundreds of athletes from 20 countries.

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Kyrgyz and Tajik horsemen compete in the traditional Central Asian sport of Buzkashi. In this game, riders compete for control of a goat carcass, scoring points for getting it in the opponent’s goal.

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A Tajik man dressed in national costume demonstrates his skill with bow and arrow.

Genghis Khan would be proud. 

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A golden eagle attacks a chained wolf, part of a competition built around hunting with birds of prey. No Humane Society on the Asian steppes.

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Kyrgyz men skin a sheep on the edges of the games.

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Horse Wrestling

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