12 Winter Sports Novels to Get You Olympics Ready
The winter Olympics are upon us again, which means we’ll soon see delicate figure skaters, fearless skiers and other intrepid athletes from around the globe putting their inarguably impressive skills on display.
The talent and training that goes into developing these skills is something that anyone can appreciate, whether they’re athletically inclined or – like me – barely able to walk and chew gum at the same time.
As you wait for the first winners to climb onto the podium and accept their medals with dignity, get your head in the game – that’s a sports-y thing people say, right? – with these novels featuring winter sports.
From Lukov with Love
by Mariana Zapata
Sport - ⛸️
Jasmine Santos isn’t an up-and-comer. Instead, she’s a figure-skating vet – and she’s got the scars to prove it.
Just as Jasmine starts to resign herself to the fact that she’s too old to compete, she gets a new, promising opportunity.
Unfortunately, the opportunity comes from an arrogant ass who she’s made a veritable career out of hating.
This leaves Jasmine in quite the predicament. Which force is stronger, her love of figure skating, or her hatred for Ivan Lukov?
Jasmine doesn’t have long to make this important decision because the sun is setting her on youth – and on her opportunity to compete in the sport to which she’s dedicated her life.
Being Sloane Jacobs
by Lauren Morrill
Sport - ⛸️ & 🏒
With a name like Sloane, you wouldn’t expect to meet a lot of people who share the moniker, let alone have the same last name, but in this Lauren Morrill novel, we see just that.
Sloane Emily Jacobs is a figure skater, fresh off a disappointing performance. Slone Devon Jacobs is a hockey player who’s hip checking her way out of the game.
Given that neither girl is having a stellar season, the opportunity to escape would seem welcome.
And they get that opportunity when, as they both travel to Montreal to attend skating camps, their luggage is mixed up, prompting their meeting.
Upon meeting, the girl’s realize that this perhaps-too-convenient coincidence provides them a once-in-a-lifetime chance to break free from the rigors of their respective lives. By switching places, both Slone D. and Sloane E. get a chance to spend a summer away from the stress and commotion that’s characterized their oddly similar lives.
And, in doing so, each girl learns more about who she is, apart from her sport.
The Slope Rules
by Melanie Hooyenga
Sport - ️ ⛷️ & 🏂
When tomboy Cally meets Blake, a snowboarder who, unlike everyone else, sees her as more than just one of the boys, she’s immediately head-over-heels. Unfortunately for the duo, their just-like-in-Grease vacation love has an expiration date.
But that all changes when Cally’s father opens a new brewery, forcing her family to uproot and move. If you’ve ever seen a rom-com…like, ever… you’ll already have guessed that, almost unbelievably serendipitously, Cally ends up back with Blake once more, walking the halls of his high school.
Will their love be as perfect in the harsh light of day as it was with rose-colored vacation glasses in place?
It seems that the answer will be a resounding, “no,” as Cally learns new truths about Blake that have her questioning him and reevaluating the slope rules by which she has long lived.
by Fredrik Backman
Sport - 🏒
If you’ve forgiven Fredrik Backman for inducing incessant crying with his breakout A Man Called Ove, consider picking up this hockey-rich tale of hope and perseverance.
Tiny Beartown is, quite literally, being swallowed by the forests that surround it. And there really isn’t much reason to fight off the invading evergreens, as the town doesn’t have much going for it.
But that all changes when the town’s junior hockey team lands a shot in the national semi-finals.
With the pressure of an entire town’s happiness resting on the shoulders of the teenage boys who make up this team, skating around the local ice rink and perfecting their shots and blocks has new meaning.
And matters become all the more complicated when the semi-final match induces an act of violence.
Will Beartown and its residents experience the local resurgence that they so desperately need, or can nothing save this town from eventual extinction?
The White Gates
by Bonnie Ramthun
Sport - 🏂
Snow Park, Colorado, transplant Torin Sinclair might not be thrilled about moving, but he is thrilled about the opportunity it provides – the chance to learn to snowboard.
Unfortunately for Tor, before he can even get comfortable on the board, a member of the high school snowboarding team dies.
This death isn’t the result of a simple accident, or even an unavoidable tragedy. Instead, it’s was caused by a Native American curse, say the locals.
Having few options, Tor joins with his new schoolmates in solving the mystery of this curse, which proves to be quite the perplexing puzzle.
To piece it all together, Tor will have to do more than just snowboard gracelessly down a bunny slope. He’ll have to ride the White Gates, a potentially deadly trail, even for the most experienced snowboarder.
by G. B. Joyce
Sport - 🏒
If the hip-checking and slams against the glass inherent to hockey aren’t quite violent enough for you, how about if you add in a grisly murder?
That’s just what happens in this G.B. Joyce novel, in which readers are introduced to seasoned hockey-player-turned-talent-scout Brad Shade. Shade’s focus, understandably, slips off of finding the best up-and-coming talent and on to figuring out who-dun-it when famed coach Red Hanratty is found murdered in the hockey rink parking lot.
But as Shade gets closer and closer to uncovering the killer, he puts himself and those he loves in increasing danger.
Presumably, the person who killed Hanratty would have no trouble killing again, so is launching a DIY investigation really the best idea?
Probably not, but Shade does it anyways, applying the same level or orneriness to this investigation as he did to playing hockey all those years ago.
The Good Body
by Bill Gaston
Sport - 🏒
Hockey players are notoriously tough, and Bobby Bonaduce – probably no relation to Danny – is no exception.
Instead of giving in to the desperation and despair that would be logical and understandable of a man who is facing a potentially terminal disease, Bonaduce jumps into action, returning to his hometown and trying to put right what once went wrong.
For Bonaduce, going home doesn’t just mean traveling the same streets he walked down all those years ago, it means rekindling a relationship with the son he abandoned 20 years prior.
Will he be able to make up for the mistakes of the past, or has the buzzer already rung on his life, leaving the score final and making his attempts at reconciliation futile?
Figure of Eight
by Patrick Lynch
Sport - ⛸️
When her marriage hits the rocks, former Olympic figure skater Ellen Cusack decides to return to her one real love – skating.
But before she can even put her plan into action, she’s halted by the arrival of some rather unexpected hate mail – I know, I know… who sends figure skaters hate mail – from someone calling himself “The Ice Man.” Before she’s even gotten over this hate mail business, she starts to receive even-more-menacing phone calls, presumably from the same deranged figure-skating-hater.
Threats are one thing, but when a body is discovered quite literally in her backyard, it all gets way too real for Ellen, prompting her to hire a private investigator.
Will this investigator be able to determine who is trying to derail Ellen’s efforts and stop them before they put an end her quest to get back on the ice?
The Ex Games
by Jennifer Echols
Sport - 🏂
Hayden and Nick’s break-up isn’t the end. Instead, it’s the beginning of an all-out battle of the sexes.
When Hayden wins a snowboarding competition, former flame Nick doesn’t express the enthusiasm he should. Instead, he tells her that there is no way she could have won if the competition had been co-ed – because Nick is clearly a giant douche, #JustSaying.
As the girls rally behind Hayden and the boys rally behind Nick, it becomes clear that there’s only one place to settle this – on the slopes.
But when they prepare for the head-to-head competition that will determine, once and for all, who reigns supreme, it’s more than just their muscles that burn. They also rekindle the romance that burned so bright for such a short time, adding even more complexity to this critical battle of the exes.
by Beth Pond
Sport - ⛸️ & 🏒
Seventeen-year-olds Harper and Alex both feel most at home on the smooth-yet-unforgiving ice.
Harper’s long-time dream is to earn a spot on Team USA Women’s Hockey, and it’s looking like she’s going to realize it. That is, until she breaks her knees, putting not just this Olympics, but her entire career as a hockey player in jeopardy.
Alex has been perfecting working to her sit-spins and triple lutzes for years, but when the quality of her performances starts to decline, she decides that switching to ice dancing is her best bet.
As both girls work to earn a place on the Olympic team – and, ultimately, a position on the podium – they learn that trusting each other and themselves is the only way to get, and stay, at the top.
by Justina Chen
Sport - 🏂
Syrah has it all – or so it would seem. She is, after all, the daughter of a billionaire, a status that brings with it all of the trappings of wealth that so many covet.
But underneath it all, Syrah is struggling. Her half-siblings don’t like her, her best friend’s girlfriend threatens their friendship and she starts to realize that her own boyfriend might not have the best of intentions.
Fortunately for Syrah, there’s one place she always feels at home – on the slopes.
When she crashes, busting her knees, she finds herself unable to return to the place that provides her so much peace and comfort.
Without snowboarding in her life, how will she cope with the struggles that no one sees?
by Tudor Robins
Sport - ️⛷️
Chris Myers was born with his eye on the prize. Every parent’s dream, he’s ever focused on moving forward to his next race, getting a spot on the team, beating his best time.
That all changes when he meets Jenna. A sexy party girl, Jenna is basically the polar opposite of Chris.
And as Chris starts to move closer to Jenna, her ways rub off on him.
Suddenly, he’s not as laser focused on his skiing as he always was.
With everything he’s ever worked for on the line, Chris has to decide what matters to him most, skiing or Jenna.