Tag Games

Tag games are great in getting kids to practice different skills without realizing it. However, it seems there are always kids who have the goal of not skiing during tag games. Be sure to establish some basic rules, like everyone needs to be moving during the duration of the game. Take breaks between rounds to help facilitate this and mix up the type of tag game played to keep things interesting for the kids. 

Backwards/Forwards Race
This is a two person race where the team members start back-to-back at the start line. From this position at the sound of the signal they start around the race course loop in opposite directions. Each team member contin- ues out on the race course in opposite directions until they meet their partner. At that point in time, they turn around and retrace into the finish area together. Lowest time, or the first team pair back in the start/finish area together, wins. Pair fast people with slow people to make the race closer. 

The Blob 

The Blob is a type of tag. Play on a field with a defined size. Start the game with two fast children joining hands to become the Blob. They ski while holding hands until they tag someone. The Blob is now a threesome. They ski until they tag a fourth person—then the Blob splits up into (2) 2-person Blobs who go on the hunt for more victims. Tip: the size of the field is important—too big and the Blobs won’t be able to tag people. Also, encour- age blobs to work together to “sweep” the field. 

 Play without poles
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

Caribou and Wolves

Minnows line up on the “beach” and one shark is it in the “ocean”. When the shark yells “minnows!” all the minnows have to ski across the sea to the beach on the other side. The beaches are safety zones. If a minnow is tagged he becomes a shark, too. Continue the games as more and more minnows turn into sharks until only one minnow is left. 

 Play without poles
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

Catch the Jackrabbit 

Set up teams, and give a faster skier on each team a 30-second head start. The skier skis in a zigzag pattern to try to avoid being caught. Each team chases its own rabbit. 

Chase the Dogs Tail (Phil Savignano, Healthy Hometowns Ski Games)
This is a great game to introduce power skate turns and pushing-off. This is a “no poles” game done in pairs (try to match the teams by ability). Partners stand on opposite ends of a ski pole lying on the snow between them and facing different directions. With a three-foot streamer hanging off the back of their collar, they chase each other trying to grab the other person’s streamer. When someone gets caught, they replace their streamer and chase the other direction. Go best-two-out-of-three and change partners. One pole to ski around is enough for younger skiers; older skiers might try two pole lengths but not more. 

Equipment: Two three-foot lengths of surveyors’ tape.
 Increase agility, speed and weight transfer while improving comfort and confidence on skis. 

Downhill Time Trials 

This game is self-explanatory. 

Dual Slalom 

Skiers may play this game with or without poles. Try to use pylons, pine boughs, poles, or hats for gates. 

Elephant Hunt

Place colored balloons on trees, low on the trunks. This is best done along a ski trail. Explain to the skiers that they are going on an elephant hunt. They must bring back the hide or ski n for their prize. Use poles for break- ing the balloon. 

Frisbee Football 

No stop in play is allowed in this game. When skiers are tagged, they must give up the Frisbee. Skiers may hold onto the Frisbee for five seconds or five strides, whichever comes first. 


Spread the group out in a field (or gym) in a random formation. Use poles if on snow. Choose one person to be the ghostbuster. All others are ghosts. Anyone tagged by the ghostbuster becomes the haunted house (and must stand with arms and legs stretched out to the side). Haunted houses are freed only when a ghost goes under their legs. Haunted houses must remain stationary when tagged. Game starts when you yell “one, two, three, ghost- busters!” 

 Play without poles
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

The Great Ski Chase 

Designate several tag areas and their boundaries. Pick teams of skiers, the taggers, for each area. Then pick older skiers, coaches, or parents for the taggees, one for each area. At the start, the taggees get a 30-second start. They then zigzag in their specified area and try to avoid being caught by their team of young taggers. Which team will capture their Leader first?
 Play with or without poles
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

Hares and Hounds 

The hares get a two minute start into a wooded area. An overgrown field is ideal terrain. The hounds are re- leased to track down the hares, who can hide or run. The hares are given long streamers, ribbons, or scarves to wear as bunny tails. When a hound catches/tags a hare, the tail is collected as a trophy of the hunt. The game continues for +/- 10 minutes, when a whistle calls everyone in. The sides switch: hares become hounds, and hounds become hares. Who can catch the most hares? Count up the trophies from the hunt. Which side has the best hounds? 

 Play with poles or without
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

Hog Call 

This is best played on trails or in a field. Divide the group in two. Group A will be given the first part of a compound word, e.g., POP-CORN, MARCO-POLO, BILL-KOCH, CANDY-CANE, etc.; Group B will be given the second part of that compound word. The groups scatter in opposite directions, only to come upon one another in a certain time period. When the groups cross, they say only their part of the word (this is the only spoken word of the game). The players must find their match and get back to home base. An example would
be a player from Group A who has the word “POP” and can say, “pop, pop, pop,…” etc. A person from Group B has the word “CORN” and upon hearing “POP” realizes he has found a match. The paired skiers then put their arms over each other’s shoulders, skip, double pole, etc., to get back to base. 

Pom Pom or British Bulldog 

One skier stands at the center of the playing area and calls “Pom Pom”. On this signal, other skiers try to cross the playing area without being tagged. In another version of this game, the tag consists of a two-handed touch or tackle game; the first person caught is “It” for the next game. 

Rabbit’s Tail 

One skier wears a tail made of a scarf tucked behind him or her. The object is to give the “rabbit” a reasonable 
head start and then have other skiers try to capture the tail. 

Red Rover

Each team has a turn to defend a square “battlefield” from invasion by other teams. When the defending team is ready, it challenges one of the attacking teams to try to ski through the field to the other side. “Red Rover, Red Rover, send the (team’s name) team right over.” The team’s skiers then try to rush or sneak through to the far side without being tagged (touch with hand). The greater the number of skiers that reach the other side of the field, the higher that team’s score. Each team takes a turn playing offensive and defensive positions.
 Play without poles
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

Rock, Paper, Scissors 

Divide skiers into two groups. They play on a field that has two well-defined “end zone” lines and side bound- aries. The width of the field should be roughly half the length. Each group huddles at its end zone and chooses 2 signs: one to be used first signal and the other as a back-up in case of a tie. Teams then ski to the center of the field and face each other spread out along the width of the field. At the command each team presents its signal—the losing team then flees toward its end zone with the winning team in pursuit. Tagged losers go over the winning team. Repeat until a time limit is reached or there is only one team.
 Play without poles
 Balance, agility, coordination, feel for snow 

Scavenger / Treasure Hunt 

Pass out a list of easy to find items to each team. A 15-30 minute time limit will maintain excitement. Use nat- ural items (leaf, pine needles, stone, sticks), clothing (red hat, blue mitten), and special things (ribbons, flags, or badges) which each team can keep. 

Ski Jumping

If you let your students jump, make sure that the jump has a proper outrun. 

Slalom Relay 

Set up gate flags on flat, uphill, or downhill terrain. The terrain you choose depends on the group’s ability. Leave plenty of room for skiers to pass each other between gates unless you create a dual slalom. 

Snap the Whip 

You can combine this game with running or telemarking. Skiers pull each other forward and backward while skiing downhill. 

Snowball Biathlon

Set up a short course with two or three shooting stations; skiers “shoot” at a target and ski a penalty loop for every shot they miss. You may use anything you want as projectile and target; for example, you might want skiers to aim their poles through a hoop or use beanbags and a bull’s eye target. 


Combine two other activities with skiing. Choose from aerobic activities: skating, running, snowshoeing, etc. 

Wedge Snake 

Three or four skiers line up as close to one another as possible in the wedge position. Skiers hold onto the waist of the skier ahead of them. You can make this game more difficult by adding skiers to the snake or by requiring that skiers turn while going downhill.