ribbon disc golf disc snow
Tips and Advice

Winter Disc Golf – Ribbons

If you’ve disc golfed through the winter then you’ll know that winter disc golf comes with many new difficulties that you don’t face in the summer.  We’ve written about effects cold has on disc golf plastic and what do do about lost distance due to cold, but what can you do about snow?  It may sound crazy, but try attaching a ribbon to your disc!  This is a winter disc golf technique that we’ve been using for many years, here’s what you need to know.

Disc Golf Discs In Snow

Discs golf discs are easy to lose in the snow.  A disc will have a tendency to cut into the snow and only leave small mark then continue to travel underneath the snow making it quite difficult to find.  Losing a disc is easy even in shallow snow, just check out my Instagram video below.

One answer is attaching a ribbon to your disc.  The concept is simple, if your discs burrows under the snow you’ll still be able to find it because the ribbon will stick out where the disc entered.  

Taping Ribbons to Disc Golf Discs

ribbon disc golf winter

It sounds easy but there are a few things you should know.  Here are our recommendations based on many winters of ribbon disc golf:

  1. Tape the ribbon to the underside of your disc.  The ribbon is less likely to fall off and we’ve found that it is slightly less intrusive.
  2. Around three feet of ribbon is usually optimal.  Longer ribbons obviously cause greater drag but go too short and the ribbon may get covered in snow.
  3. Use duct tape.  We’ve tried a few other types of tape (electrical tape, packing tape) and found that duct tape usually holds the longest, but be careful because it will slowly start to peel. 
  4. Tape the ribbons on before you go outside.  Duct tape sticks much better when applied in the warmth.
  5. Ribbons get messy in your bag, so use fewer discs.  Kind of like the cords behind your television, not fun to untangle.
  6. We’ve heard rumors that smooth ribbons work best, but we haven’t noticed a difference between ribbons or string.
  7. Carry extra ribbons and tape.  You’re likely to lose a couple ribbons during the round, especially in extremely cold temperatures when the adhesive becomes less effective.

Pro Tip: Find the right winter disc.  Chris often bags a Blizzard Destroyer, Element Discs Uranium, and Element Discs Iridium in the winter.

Effects of Ribbons on Your Disc

winter disc golf ribbons

The effects of ribbons are pretty much what you’d expect, your disc slows down and you lose distance. We believe this is still better than losing a disc and it allows us to continue throwing through winter snow, but we have also heard some disc golfers say that it is not even worth while.  When playing disc golf with ribbons on our discs we usually just play conservatively with the expectation that we aren’t going to score well, it’s all about an extra opportunity to play disc golf.

One quick warning though: Avoid throwing through trees.  Ribbons easily snag on tree branches or bushes which can yank the ribbon off your disc or pull your disc right out of line.  It is even possible that the ribbon gets caught in a branch and you end up with a disc hanging from a tall tree.

I do enjoy watching a disc fire out of my hand and seeing the ribbon dance around behind it.  You don’t see something like this anywhere else and you can capture some very intriguing photos.

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snow disc golf ribbons

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  • TIm Walker

    Thank you for a great article! I love throwing discs in the snow with ribbons! I get the aerodynamics angle but still, it’s like one of those lead rings on the baseball bat, when you take them off – it feels great! You’re right also – it is awesome to watch! Not quite as cool as lights at night but…! I was stunned at how well my discs still flew, to be honest. I think the limitations and challenges are part of why I like winter play, in general. You get to throwing under really harsh conditions. Just being able to throw without a coat again is so liberating! Night disc golf in the snow is another challenge, for sure. Lights seem to be ineffective under more than an inch of snow, which surprised me. I thought the bright LEDs would be completely good but lost a couple like that. Maybe ribbons made from glow material? Highly reflective ribbons will reflect the light from a headlamp. For guys complaining that it’s just not worth it, I dunno man, it’s fun as hell. Even extreme conditions, when it’s all done, those are the ones you remember.

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