The 25 best winter sports movies

The 25 best winter sports movies

During the winter, sometimes you just want to stay inside. You aren’t going to get much exercise that way, so why not watch other people get exercise? That’s right. We’re talking winter sports movies! How do we define winter sports? Anything that has a wintery feel to it, so basically anything that requires ice or snow. Basketball may be going on right now, but it’s only happening inside. Football is great in the winter, but it’s also great in the fall or even late summer. Ice hockey, though, can't be played on a pond that isn’t frozen over. So here are 25 winter sports movies. Not all of them are five-star classics, but they all can give you your sports fix.

 
1 of 25

"Cool Runnings" (1993)

"Cool Runnings" (1993)

Arguably the best movie ever made about a Jamaican bobsledding team, “Cool Runnings” is one of the quintessential winter sports movies. It’s cheesy, perhaps culturally dubious and very ‘90s, but there are many charms to this movie that's based on a true story. Plus, it featured the late John Candy, much too rare a treat.

 
2 of 25

"The Mighty Ducks" (1992)

"The Mighty Ducks" (1992)

A lot of ‘90s kids got into hockey because of “The Mighty Ducks.” Emilio Estevez stars as Gordon Bombay, a power-hungry lawyer who is sentenced by a judge to coach a pee-wee hockey team (sure, why not?) that, well, sucks. Does he turn the team around? Does he learn lessons about himself? It’s a Disney sports movie, and there were two sequels. What do you think?

 
3 of 25

"Mystery, Alaska" (1999)

"Mystery, Alaska" (1999)

Speaking of underdogs, and speaking of films based on true stories, “Mystery, Alaska” provides us with both. Back in the early 1900s, a hockey team from Dawson City in the Yukon Territory traveled to Ottawa to take on the championship Silver Seven. In this movie, the New York Rangers actually travel to the titular small town of Mystery to play the locals. The Rangers barely are able to beat the scrappy Alaskans. In real life, Dawson City lost two games to Ottawa by a combined score of 32-4. The magic of cinema!

 
4 of 25

"Blades of Glory" (2007)

"Blades of Glory" (2007)

For a while there, Will Ferrell seemed obsessed with making sports movies. The one that fell under “winter sports” was “Blades of Glory.” Shockingly, Ferrell plays a pompous, egotistical buffoon, this time a figure skater who is banned from men’s figure skating along with his rival, played by Jon Heder. Naturally, the only thing for them to do is become a pairs figure skating team. Hey, there’s nothing in the rulebook against it!

 
5 of 25

"The Cutting Edge" (1992)

"The Cutting Edge" (1992)

“The Cutting Edge” is basically the non-joking version of “Blades of Glory.” It’s another figure skating film, about a mismatched pair learning to work together to find success. This time, though, it’s a spoiled rich girl and a former hockey player. If nothing else, “The Cutting Edge” gave us the amazing tagline, “the ultimate love/skate relationship.”

 
6 of 25

"Men with Brooms" (2002)

"Men with Brooms" (2002)

“Men with Brooms” is a very, very Canadian production, which is fitting for a comedy about curling. In fact, if you didn’t live in Canada at the time, or didn’t live close enough to the Great White North to get the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on your television, you probably haven’t heard of it. Are you intrigued by the idea of a curling movie co-starring Leslie Nielsen? Then maybe give this one a shot.

 
7 of 25

"I, Tonya" (2017)

"I, Tonya" (2017)

Tonya Harding is one of the most infamous athletes ever. She will forever be tied, first and foremost, to the attack on Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics that she had some degree of a hand in. However, the picture of that event, and of Harding herself, has gotten murkier over the years. “I, Tonya” tackles that and many other things related to the life of Harding.

 
8 of 25

"Slap Shot" (1977)

"Slap Shot" (1977)

“Slap Shot” is a rollicking, hard R comedy, and some of it feels awkward to modern eyes. However, it helps to remember that the movie isn’t necessarily condoning the actions, and language, of Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) and the Charlestown Chiefs. The film is merely a glimpse into the lives of a struggling minor league hockey team in a dying town, and a really good one at that.

 
9 of 25

"Miracle" (2004)

"Miracle" (2004)

Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in by-the-numbers but still largely enjoyable sports biopics? The answer to both is “Yes!” “Miracle,” as you’ve probably guessed, tells the tale of the Miracle on Ice hockey team, focusing primarily on Kurt Russell as head coach Herb Brooks. You know how the story ends, but the hockey action is actually quite good.

 
10 of 25

"Goon" (2011)

"Goon" (2011)

Fighting in hockey is dying (for the better, off the record), but that doesn’t stop “Goon” from being a pretty good sports comedy. Seann William Scott stars as a bouncer turned hockey player whose one skill is throwing punches. It’s a little raunchy but not over the top, and the story is interesting whether or not you like hockey fights. 

 
11 of 25

"Eddie the Eagle" (2016)

"Eddie the Eagle" (2016)

“Eddie the Eagle” is sort of the “Cool Runnings” of England. The movie tells the tale of Michael Edwards, who became the first person from Great Britain to compete in ski jumping in the Olympics in 60 years when he showed up in 1988. Like with the Jamaican bobsled team, it didn’t go great from a performance perspective, but it was still momentous.

 
12 of 25

"Youngblood" (1986)

"Youngblood" (1986)

Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze play hockey players! In 1986! What more do you need to know? Swayze was seemingly born with the hair to play a veteran hockey player anyway.

 
13 of 25

"D2: The Mighty Ducks" (1994)

"D2: The Mighty Ducks" (1994)

This is the pinnacle of the “Mighty Ducks” trilogy, mostly because it’s the dumbest but in the most fun way. The Ducks and a diverse group of ringers come together as Team USA in the Junior Goodwill Games. There, they learn to play as a team and take on that hockey powerhouse…Iceland? If you say so!

 
14 of 25

"D3: The Mighty Ducks" (1996)

"D3: The Mighty Ducks" (1996)

The third “Mighty Ducks” movie focuses on the varsity and junior varsity teams of some random school. Gordon Bombay is barely in the film. And yet it’s one last chance to spend time with some of the gang from the first two films. That’s worth something.

 
15 of 25

"Downhill Racer" (1969)

"Downhill Racer" (1969)

Here’s a sports film with some real prestige. We’re talking Robert Redford AND Gene Hackman in a 1969 movie about a skier. It’s not as focused on the sport as some of the other films on this list, and it doesn’t have much in the way of wacky fun, but it’s actually a good movie, and it is about a winter sport more or less.

 
16 of 25

"Ski Party" (1965)

"Ski Party" (1965)

You know all those wacky movies about surfing from the ‘60s? Those are great summer films. Shouldn’t winter get in on the fun? Enter “Ski Party.” Frankie Avalon, a staple of beach party movies, is one of the stars. James Brown performs a song. There is a lot of skiing, even if not everybody is great at it. At least it’s pretty fun.

 
17 of 25

"Hot Dog...The Movie" (1984)

"Hot Dog...The Movie" (1984)

It’s slobs vs. snobs…on the slopes! “Hot Dog…The Movie” is your typical ‘80s sex comedy, for better or worse. Wacky things happen. There is an evil jerk who needs his comeuppance. However, the way he gets his comeuppance is in a huge skiing race, which is a sporting ending to a film that features a fair amount of skiing among the hijinx.

 
18 of 25

"Snowboard Academy" (1997)

"Snowboard Academy" (1997)

Snowboarding has been around for a while, but it once was a new trend that was making inroads thanks to the likes of the Winter X Games. Now it’s been legitimized and appears in the Olympics and makes stars like Shaun White and Chloe Kim. Back in 1997, though, it was still somewhat new, and one of its first movies was “Snowboard Academy.” Jim Varney, aka Ernest, and Corey Haim star. That…may say it all.

 
19 of 25

"MVP: Most Valuable Primate" (2000)

"MVP: Most Valuable Primate" (2000)

Bud, of “Air Bud” fame, has played a lot of sports, but he’s never had the guts to play ice hockey. So a tip of the cap goes to Jack, a chimpanzee that plays hockey in “MVP.” He is the titular Most Valuable Primate. On top of everything else, Jack actually turns out to be good at ice hockey — maybe because he doesn’t need four skates like Bud would.

 
20 of 25

"Sun Valley Serenade" (1941)

"Sun Valley Serenade" (1941)

The early days of film were weird. Sonja Henie was an Olympic figure skater, and Hollywood figured, “Hey, let’s make her a movie star!” So it did, with films like 1941’s “Sun Valley Serenade.” In addition to Henie showing off her skating skills, naturally, there is also quite a bit of skiing in this movie. That’s right. There are two winter sports represented!

 
21 of 25

"Snow Job" (1972)

"Snow Job" (1972)

Speaking of athletes turned actors, Jean-Claude Killy was a championship skier in the ‘60s and ‘70s and one of the best of all time. In 1972 his skills were put to use in “Snow Job,” a thriller about a skiing instructor who decides to rob a bank. Interestingly, Vittorio De Sica, director of the iconic Italian film “Bicycle Thieves,” has an acting role in this one.

 
22 of 25

"Chalet Girl" (2011)

"Chalet Girl" (2011)

Felicity Jones was the star of “Rogue One” and has an Oscar nomination to her name, so a movie starring her probably at least has some merits to it. Not many people have seen 2011’s “Chalet Girl,” which seemed to not get much of a U.S. release. Jones plays a former skateboarding champion who takes up snowboarding after…a bunch of crazy stuff happens. The poster calls it a “Snow-mantic comedy.” That’s fun.

 
23 of 25

"Ski School" (1991)

"Ski School" (1991)

Have you seen that episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” where they go to a ski resort and make fun of raunchy ‘80s party comedies? They were making fun of movies like “Ski School.” If you like ‘80s cheese, though, “Ski School” is a veritable cheese plate. Yes, it came out in 1991, but it feels like a vestige of the '80s through and through. Also, you may recognize Dean Cameron, the star of this film, from his cameo in that “Always Sunny” episode. At least he’s in on the joke.

 
24 of 25

"Ice Castles" (1978)

"Ice Castles" (1978)

It’s a figure skating film but also a melodrama. A great figure skater loses her sight and disappears from the world. Then she reemerges, starts skating again and, of course, falls in love. It’s all over the top, but that’s exactly what fans of melodrama love.

 
25 of 25

"Score: The Hockey Musical" (2010)

"Score: The Hockey Musical" (2010)

This is a Canadian movie that wasn’t officially released in the United States. It’s also a musical about hockey with Olivia Newton-John and Nelly Furtado in roles. You want to see it now, don’t you? Of course you do! It has a song called “Kraft Dinner,” which is literally the most Canadian thing that has ever happened.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

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