We are just over halfway through the Vancouver Winter Olympics. If watching the events on TV makes you want to try out these sports, there are ways to simulate the feeling without moving to a northern country.

To get a feel of the muscles involved in speed skating, you'll need to work those thighs. Ultra Slide is a mat you can set up in your living room and exercise while watching the real thing on TV. It gives you an area 7 to 10 feet wide to slide those feet side-to-side. You'll work muscles you didn't even know you had, without having to negotiate curves and corners or worry about crashing into other skaters. Then imagine Olympic athletes doing this for hours every day for years and years, with the added risk of crashing.

200_lugeHere's a way to participate in the luge without actually doing anything remotely athletic. The Lush Life Ice Luge is an ice mold that recreates the luge run in miniature. Fill it with water 24 hours before your Olympic viewing party. Then you are supposed to run your drink down the slide into your mouth! There are two courses, enabling you to race two shots down into two mouths. How much mess you make will depend on how far the party has progressed. Even if you're not planning to use it for a drinking game, it may make a fine centerpiece for a winter party.

240_Synthetic_IceSynthetic ice is a modern plastic that simulates the way ice reacts under skates without the cold. Global Synthetic Ice is a Florida company that makes Super-Glide® Synthetic Ice. The material comes in panels that snap together to form the floor. The different sizes and configurations are designed for rinks, homes, traveling shows, or specialty uses. And it's biodegradable! Synthetic ice has been around for a while, but recent innovations have silicon lubricant embedded in the material itself, making the addition of lubricant to the top of the surface unnecessary, so the rink stays cleaner than old-school synthetic ice. Watch for it coming to a rink near you.