List of Mountain Sports A-Z

List of Mountain Sports

Mountain sports technically began in 1786 when a Chamonix doctor, Michel-Gabriel Paccard, and his porter, Jacques Balmat, were the first to climb Mont Blanc just for the sport of it. Before that point in history, all recorded mountain climbing had been reserved for practical uses and not pure sport. From that moment on, mountain climbing spawned various mountain sports centered around ascending or descending mountains, such as mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding.

Modern times have seen mountain sports rise to popularity at a competitive and recreational level. Athletes such as Shaun White, Chole Kim, and Lindsey Vonn have gained fame through unbelievable accomplishments at the Olympic level. At the recreational level, many creative new sports have become popular such as extreme ironing. However, the classic mountain climb is still a popular sport with people traveling around the world to find bigger mountains to scale.

Mountain Sports List A to Z


What are mountain sports?

Mountain sports are recreational and or competitive activities taking place on any of the world's beautiful mountains. These sports can range from the simpler, more traditional sports such as backpacking to the more extreme such as ice climbing and skyrunning. These sports are unique because nature provides the playing field and most of the challenges that athletes face. Mountains can be dangerous and powerful, making these sports more hazardous in general. However, specialized equipment is used to reduce risk and keep participants safe on the mountain. 

Can mountain sports be played year-round?

Depending on the sport and the size and location of the mountain, yes, many mountain sports can be played year-round. Hiking and climbing can often be done year-round, though some mountains may have weather that could increase the risk at certain times of the year. For other sports such as snowboarding, ice climbing and skiing, the presence of the right amount of snow or ice is critical to the sport and therefore many mountains can’t host these sports during the warmer months.

Hiking and climbing are the oldest and still some of the most popular mountain sports today, but many new sports have gained popularity. Snowshoeing, skiing, and mountain biking are among the most popular activities. Now, the Olympics includes mountain sports such as snowboarding, rock climbing, and various skiing and mountain biking disciplines. The sport’s popularity often depends on the region and what the local weather and mountains have to offer. 

What equipment do I need to participate in mountain sports?

The majority of mountain sports are going to require some gear to participate. Hiking and climbing require proper boots and bags, helmets, crampons, ice axes, and camping gear. Other sports have more straightforward gear requirements. For example, mountain biking requires a proper bike and helmet, plus plenty of protective padding and clothing. For some sports, such as skiing or snowboarding, it is possible to rent the gear you will need at the slope for an extra fee.