Skiing originated as a means of transport in the cold countries, where it was used for moving from one place to other. At present, there are various types of skiing , which are practiced by people across the globe.
In the ancient days, skiing equipment was made from wood, which was used as the runners to move fast on deep snow. Skiing was highly useful for covering distance downhill in a short period of time. The seventeenth century witnessed the development of skiing as a useful activity for military. The sport was modernized during the nineteenth century, with gaining popularity among the adventure lovers around the world. With the invention of advanced skiing equipments like skis, bindings, ski boots and ski poles, numerous branches of the sport opened up for people. The variations were instantly popular all over the world. Numerous organizations were established in different countries. At present, various types of skiing are regulated by the International Ski Federation or the FIS. The organization arranges numerous skiing events throughout the year. At present, skiing is also a major sport played during the Winter Olympic Games .
Some popular types of skiing , which are practiced by people as popular pastimes, are—
Alpine Skiing is also known as “downhill skiing” popularly. Primarily a recreational activity, alpine skiing is also considered as a form of sport activity. Skiers in this type of skiing glide down the snow-covered hills with the help of sleek and strong skis. The origin of alpine skiing is cross-country skiing which is also a popular form of skiing activity in the world. Like cross-country skiing , alpine skiing is also a sport that is famous in Europe and in the United States of America.
Alpine skiing came as a development when ski lift facility begun at the various ski resorts and skiers were towed to the top pf the snow-clad mountains. Skiers enjoyed gliding down the snow-covered steep slopes to gather smooth skiing experience. One of the main problems faced during alpine skiing is to maintain control while gliding down the slopes. Skiers are taught various methods to control their speed and direction while alpine skiing . Some slopes are steeper than the others and more steeper slopes, more is the required control. Alpine skiing has various competitions to its name. Elite and competitive skiers participate in the annual World Cup Series, Olympic Games and in the biennial World Championships. Among the other alpine skiing racing disciplines are slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill. There is also a combined event which consists of one downhill followed by two slalom runs. These events are open for both men and women.
Backcountry skiing is practiced in areas that are uninhabited and untamed. Scarcely inhabited rural regions where the land and snow pack is not monitored or maintained is the perfect destination for backcountry skiing . Particular skiing techniques and mechanics of ski lifts are typically absent in backcountry skiing . Backcountry skiing is known by different names in different parts of the world. In North America, the sport is called backcountry skiing while in Europe the same sport is called ski-touring .
Backcountry skiing can be equally dangerous as extreme skiing . There is avalanche risk and the slopes are also steep in these ski areas. Backcountry skiing is closely associated with ski touring and ski mountaineering. The slopes are not marked in this form of skiing and the level and quality of snow also cannot be assessed making skiing dangerous. There are two types of backcountry skiing -one resembles cross-country skiing while the other is more familiar to alpine skiing . Backcountry skiing can be real fun and exciting if the appropriate skills are nurtured and proper ski routes selected. Specially designed skis and ski equipments and gears are used in backcountry skiing to protect skiers from any danger and injury.
Ill-fitting ski boots can be dangerous in backcountry skiing . There are many backcountry huts where skiers can take rest and stay overnight. Backcountry skiing can become dangerous only if there are avalanches in the skiing route otherwise it can become experience for lifetime.
Biathlon is usually referred for describing any sporting event which is a combination of two sport disciplines, and is specifically used to describe winter sports . A combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting is the most well known form of winter biathlon . Another popular mode of summer biathlon is the combination of cross-country running and rifle-shooting. Biathlon is a very popular form of winter game all over Europe and America, as winter sport activities are a major source of recreation in these continents.
Biathlon owes its origin to the Norwegian soldiers. A biathlete has to ski around a cross-country track with a rifle set over a fixed distance to a shooting range. The total distance is broken down into small shooting rounds, half in prone position and half of it in standing position. The shooting performance in the biathlon decides if additional time or distance can be added to the contestant's total skiing distance or time. The winner of the contest is one who completes the marked distance in the shortest time. In each shooting round, the biathlete has to hit five targets. Penalties are accessed for the missed shots and also depend on the format of the competition. Biathlon can include all the cross-country skiing techniques along with shooting skills. Biathlon requires some good reflex actions combining strength, speed, accuracy, concentration and a steady hand. The major biathlon competitions include Biathlon Olympic Games, Biathlon World Championships and Biathlon World Cup. Biathlon is the most widely televised sport event in European nations.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross-country skiing is a popular form of winter sport which is possible only in countries with large snow-fields mainly in Northern Europe and in Canada. Cross-country skiing is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States of America. Cross-country skiing forms one of the sport activities in the game of biathlon , where the second sports activity is related to rifle shooting. Cross-country skiing is inclusive of ski jumping and the combination of the two types of skiing activity makes the Nordic Skiing sport family.
Cross-country skiing can be opted both as a hobby and a sporting activity. Cross-country skiing as a hobby is very enjoyable and relaxing but as a sport is exhausting and burns up lot of calories. There are special ski equipments used in cross-country skiing . The skis are long and sleek for agile mobility of skiers. Two ski poles are used in cross-country skiing mainly made of aluminium or fiberglass. Three types of ski-bindings are used in cross-country skiing -NNN, SNS and SNS Pilot. Gliding is made faster by using variety of waxes on the skis in cross-country skiing . Classic, skating and telemarking along with skijoring are the various styles used in cross-country skiing with suitable ski equipments adapted to each skiing style . Various competitive events are also hosted for cross-country skiing and are one of the most preferred forms of skiing in the world.
Extreme skiing is the most dangerous and the most adventurous of all skiing activities. Extreme skiing is done on long and steep slopes and a little carelessness can prove to be lethal in this form of skiing . The terrain on which this form of skiing is carried out is also dangerous and the sport is performed off-piste.
Though extreme skiing provides exhilaration and a sense of freedom to skiers but it also challenges physical abilities and fitness of skiers and contestants. The word “extreme” in extreme skiing is symbolic of the extremities that one can face if proper training and precautions are not taken. Extreme skiing is popularly known as speed skiing and is the fastest non-motorized sport on earth. One of the most renowned extreme ski areas is Tuckerman Ravine, known for its deep snow layers and skiing terrain. Proper selection of ski gears and equipments are absolutely essential in extreme skiing . Must-have protective gears include back-protections, boots with fairings and bindings, poles, gloves, wax, boot bags and specially designed speed ski helmet. Since extreme skiing is not the skiing type for everybody to enjoy, special care and training is provided to skiers interested in this sport. Skiers should be able to tactfully dodge the natural obstacles and try to ski in short gullies rather than in long gullies. Extreme skiing also requires right snow conditions; otherwise skiing may be potentially dangerous. Extreme skiers should have proper training with adequate safety gears for safe extreme skiing .
Free skiing was a term that was used in the world of skiing when skiing was not thought of professionally and was limited to fun and recreation. There was no formal training for free skiing . Free skiing is closely related to extreme skiing as it involves all the risks and adventures that form a part of extreme skiing . Certain similarities with back country skiing can also be seen in free skiing .
Skiing professionals and experts refer free skiing to sliding down steep mountain slopes that are often untamed and can be reached only by hiking or by helicopters. Presently, the concept of free skiing has changed a little. The term is now inclusive of both the free riding concept of skiing as well as to skiing in specially built snow parks for skiers. These snow parks have various kickers and rails for skiing enthusiasts who want to experience free skiing in these specially constructed parks. Special ski equipments are designed for free skiing so that skiing in complex terrains does not prove to be hazardous. A special variety of skis namely twin-tip skis are used by free skiers for smooth mobility. Free skiing can become very enjoyable with the required experience and knowledge of rough mountainous terrains. Free skiing in present terms also includes several camps of skiing like slope style, half pipe, big air, rails and Skier X. Free skiing has also become a part of the X games and has gained immense popularity with skiers all over the world.
Freestyle skiing owes its beginning to the Norwegian skiers who performed acrobatics while they were on alpine and cross-country skiing training. These freestyle acrobatic skills were later presented in many non-competitive professional skiing exhibitions and gained immense popularity. Freestyle skiing gained importance in the mid 20 th century when it was popularly known as “hot-dogging”. Freestyle skiing was not a very safe sport as it caused severe knee injuries to the free style skiers.Freestyle skiing was not accepted as a sport form in competitions for many years keeping in mind the dangers associated with it. But with time, new regulations were implemented on the game so that the danger elements of the game could be curbed to certain extent. Presently, freestyle skiing is divided into two branches . The first branch comprises of the more traditional events of freestyle skiing namely moguls and aerials. The new branch of freestyle skiing is called new school and encompasses events like half pipe, big air, slope style and skier cross. Specially designed twin-tip skis are prepared by various ski equipment manufacturing companies for free stylers. These special ski equipments help in enhancing the pleasures of freestyle skiing along with ensuring safety of the skiers. As freestyle skiing is a combination of skiing techniques with acrobatic skills, watching this type of sport is really exciting. There are many varieties of freestyle ski tricks that are performed like 180, 360, 540 Tail Grab, Corkscrew 720, D Spin 720 etc.
Grass skiing is a good way of keeping oneself busy in the sport of skiing even during the summer months with no snow in the mountains. The sport is suited to the adult as well as the young skiers all the same. The history of the game which was invented by Richard Martin dates back to 1966 when it was first started for training Alpine skiers. It is now a good substitute for snow skiing and is the best way for the ski lovers to remain engaged even during the summer months.
As the equipment for the year round sport of grass skiing, the skiers use two types of skis which are different from the earlier versions where rolling treads remained attached to the ski boots . The present skis are either wheeled or tracked . Of these, the wheeled one is usually used by the novice skiers while the other one facilitates fast skiing. The skiers also use ski poles and wear helmets and elbow and knee padding for protections. The speed and jumps can be performed by the skier using his skiing skills. The sport has spread all over the world and grass skiing centers have developed in several countries like Japan, Iran, Switzerland, China and others. The biggest competitive event of the sport is the Grass Skiing World Cup .
Grass skiing has become an extremely popular sport among both the young as well as the adult skiers. The sport, apart from being complete in itself, also acts as the training module for the skiers wishing to take on snow skiing in future.
Heliskiing is a popular skiing sport in which the skiers do not make use of the ski lifts and instead reach the skiing destination with the help of a helicopter .The adventure associated with the sport is making it extremely popular among the skiers most of whom have the basic skill of skiing down the snow filled tracks of the mountains.
Heliskiing, which usually involves three to twelve heli-lifts a day, has the group of skiers steered by a guide who finds the best and the safest skiing location. The main skill required to undertake Heliskiing is the knowledge of all kinds of snow conditions and an ability to manage them. Most of the heliskiers use the Freeride skis or all-mountain skis . However, apart from the different kinds of skis available, the heliskiers also need a number of equipments while undertaking Heliskiing. These include the goggles, ski gloves, hat, neck warmers and avalanche transceivers to fight against the extreme cold as well as the threat of the avalanches.
Heliskiing has achieved a lot of popularity across the world. With every passing day, the adventure associated with the sport is attracting new faces who are embracing the sport and making it spread across the globe even more.
Night Skiing gives the skiers an opportunity of enjoying the beauties of the serene mountains after the sundown and also gives a chance to have the adventure of skiing down the snowy slopes after sundown. The sport makes use of the floodlights making the paths visible amid the darkness and also beautiful. The sport offers a chance to the skiers who remain busy during the daytime to continue skiing even after the sundown.
Night skiing is usually organized from just after the sunset and continues between 8 in the evening and 10:30 in the night. The skiers have a chance to experience the adventures of skiing alone along the lonely pistes . The sport can be enjoyed most during the months of February and March, but is also equally scintillating in the month of January, provided measures against the chilling cold are promptly taken. The sport also offers better qualities of snow and skiing at night than during the day. The floodlights help to decipher the nature of the pistes easily and sometimes even better than the sunlight of late afternoon. Some of the important night skiing locations are Bretton Woods in Twin Mountains, New Hampshire, Michigan, Mt Olympus in New Zealand and others.
The low prices of skiing tickets and also for hiring the equipments during the night have made it easier for the skiers to avail them. This has also made the sport extremely popular among a large section of people and lately more and more skiers are opting for night skiing at the best skiing destinations of the world.
Skijoring is a special kind of winter sport which is extremely popular in North America and is an evolved version of the popular Scandinavian sport called pulka . The sport involves either the use of winter dogs or horses to drag a player on the skis over the snow covered fields. Sometimes a snowmobile is also used instead of a ski.
While skijoring, the rider has to wear a wide waistband which has a clip in it to attach a harness to it. The harness is worn by the dogs which carry the ski forward. The main techniques used in the sport are that of cross-country skiing or faster skate skiing . However, the skis are not hot waxed throughout as is done in cross-country skiing. This is done to keep up the fast speed of the dogs' team which drags the ski. Skijoring has been quite a popular sport and has been a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics of 1928. It has also been featured in Silver Wolf , a film made in 1998.Skijoring is slowly becoming popular among the ski-loving people. It is gradually gaining good ground and is expected to be one of the major winter sports in near future.
Ski Jumping is a special type of skiing in which a skier, after skiing down a length of a path takes off in an attempt to jump as far as possible. The sport has evolved from skiing itself and is an adventurous version of the sport. Though it originated from Morgedal in Norway, the first official competition of the sport was held in Trysil in the year 1862. However, it is Holmenkollen in Norway which is the most popular destination for ski jumping across the globe.
The sport of ski jumping has a number of competitive events of which the World Cup Ski Jumping competition is the largest. It is of three types - Normal hill competitions, Large hill competitions and the Sky flying competitions . The sport is played both as a team game as well as between individuals and both men and women participate in it alike. The sport is governed by the International Ski Federation and is also a part of the Winter Olympics . The Nordic World Ski Championships is the most popular event of the sport. The scoring is done according to the view of the judges who take into notice the distance of the jump as well as its style. The world record of the sport is held by Bjorn Einar Romoren .
The sport of Ski Jumping has gained extreme popularity around the world and has received a lot of media coverage. It is already a popular game in countries like Austria, Germany, Japan and others and is gradually extending its boundaries.
Ski Mountaineering , a sport which gives the full chance of enjoying the beauty of the serene mountains, has evolved as a result of the combination of the skills of skiing and mountaineering . The skiers take on the sport with an aim of reaching the summit of a mountain by using their mountaineering skills and then ski down that very mountain top. The merging of the skiing techniques with that of mountaineering helps the skiers to climb some mountains which are otherwise not easily accessible.
The history of ski mountaineering dates back to 1855 and the honor of being the first ski mountaineer is bestowed upon John “Snowshoe” Thompson who used the skis to deliver mails across the steep eastern part of the Sierra Nevada mountains. However, it is the German skier Wilhelm von Arlt who is regarded as the Father of Ski Mountaineering . Other important ski mountaineers include Cecil Slingsby and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle . A Ski Mountaineering Racing or Randonnee Racing is also organized in which the sport is converted into a timed race. Some of the equipments used in the sport are ice axes, ropes and crampons .Ski Mountaineering is a sport extremely popular among the adventurous sports lovers. It serves the sports world well by making the interests of the people grow simultaneously in two sports-mountaineering as well as skiing.
Ski Touring involves skiing over the vast snow covered fields without the use of the ski lift or the snow vehicles and is performed on the steep mountains as well as the plane lands. A skier taking on a ski touring, a form of backcountry skiing , should have the skills of meteorology along with the skiing skills. Besides, a high degree of self belief is also required as the sport can often lead to accidents from where it is upon the tourers themselves to find a way of rescue.
A ski tourer is required to use several ski touring equipments like the crampons or different types of ski shoes depending upon the type of touring undertaken. The skiers also use various types of skis and bindings in the different ski touring. Among the main ski touring variations is the Nordic ski touring which uses bindings with free heels. It is again subdivided into the Traditional Nordic and the Backcountry Nordic . The other versions are the Telemark ski touring and the Alpine touring . The Alpine touring or Randonnee has another variation called the Alpine modified . Ski touring is popular all over the world and is performed in several locations including the Alps, Himalayas , locations in the US, Canada and others.
Ski touring has become an extremely popular sport across the globe. It involves several skills on the part of the skiers and the challenge involved in it is attracting new skiers with every passing day.
Skwal or Skwalling is a hybrid sport which has been inspired by the sports of skiing as well as snowboarding and is one of the most recently invented skiing activities. The sport came into being in the 1990s and attracted public attention for the first time in 1992. It was invented by Patrick “Thias” Balmain and Manuel Jammes , two ski school instructors who had aimed at presenting the world with a little more stir than just skiing and snowboarding .
The sport of Skwal or Skwalling is performed on a single board and is similar to snowboarding and monoskiing in this aspect. However, the sport differs markedly from these two sports in the positioning of the feet of the rider. In it the feet of the rider remains pointed to the direction of the board one followed by another and while doing this and the rider also has to have both his feet attached to a single board. The sport has gained immense popularity lately and a number of famous sporting goods manufacturing companies have got themselves involved in manufacturing the equipments of Skwal like Lacroix, Skwal Thias and others.
In spite of the efforts made to popularize Skwal, the sport still remains confined within its small boundaries. Yet the lovers of the sport are trying hard to make it popular and make people enjoy and love the sport just as they do.
Snowboarding , a sport inspired by surfing as well as skateboarding , involves the skier who descends the snow covered slopes of the mountains using the snowboard . The sport has started its journey in the United States of America and it was in the 1960s and 1970s when it first became popular across the globe. It is the favorite among most of the people loving winter games.
The sport of snowboarding is one of the major winter occupations of the skiers. The sport involves some dangers as it is performed mainly in the perilous slopes of the high and steep mountains. Hence the use of protective gears is extremely necessary to avoid unpleasant accidents. These include the helmet along with the wrist guards, protective snowboard pants to avoid injuries to the wrist, tailbone, head, spines, shoulders and the ankles as these are the most vulnerable parts of the body while snowboarding. Special snowboarding boots are also worn. The goggles are useful to prevent any snow particle from injuring the eye as well as in preventing snow blindness on bright and sunny days. The sport has been included in the Winter Olympic since 1998. Some of the famous players of the sport are Tom Sims, Craig Kelly and Terry Kidwell .
The sport of snowboarding is climbing the ladders of the popularity chart with every passing day. It has already been included in films like The White Album , Out Cold , A View to a Kill and others. The sport is expected to take the shape of a global sport in near future.
Snowkiting is one of the most recently invented winter sports using a snowboard , an alpine ski or a Telemark ski where the snowkiter travels uphill taking the help of the kites. Like most of the other winter sports, Snowkiting is also an outdoor sport and is played in the perilous slopes of the mountains. The origin of the sport can be traced back to the use of a square parachute by some Alpine skiers while skiing upwind on a frozen bay in the middle of the 1980s. Since then the sport has been played by a number of snowkiters on the frozen lakes and snowfields.
Snowkiting was first started with foil kites but the sport has gone through evolution since when it was born. Now-a-days the snowkiters use even their water gear and the power kites to use as their snow kites . More and more skiers are embracing the game as it is an easy game to learn and even easier than kite surfing . One of the reasons behind this is that with the wind blowing in the required direction, much less effort is needed in moving on the snow. Yet, a lot of risk is involved in the sport and protection on the part of the skier is necessary.
The sport of snowkiting is already a popular sport across the world. It is played in places countries like Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States of America. The sport is fast developing and is surely going to be one of the most played winter games in near future.
Speed Skiing is a special kind of skiing where the skiers reach an extremely high velocity while smoothly skiing down the slopes of the snowy mountains. This is a special kind of skiing and is usually practiced on the steep slopes of the mountains. These are held on courses which are specially designed and are mostly one kilometer in length.
Speed Skiers use special skis for the sport. These are mostly 2.2 to 2.4 metres in length and a maximum of 10cm in width. These are quite heavy and pair of ski weighs around 15 kg. The speed ski poles are of a length of minimum 1 metre and are bent in a shape to go around the body. The initial 300 to 400 metres of the course, which is known as the launching area , is the area where the skiers gain speed and reaches their maximum speed in the next 100 metres which is between 400 and 500 metres. The last 500 metres is known as the run-out area and is used to slow down the pace and come to a stop. There are several competitive events of the sport and it was included as a demonstration sport at the 1992 Winter Olympics . The records of the sport are held by Simone Origone of Italy and Sanna Tidstrand of Sweden in the men's and women's sections respectively and by Michael Milton of Australia in disabled men's section.
The sport of speed skiing is fast gaining extreme popularity. The adventure associated with the sport is attracting young generation towards it. The sport of Speed Skiing is expected to expand even more in the coming years.
Telemark Skiing is one of the major skiing sports involving a turn called the Telemark Turn and is also known as the “ free heel skiing ”. The skiers use skiing boots which are connected to the skis by the bindings only at the toes with the heels remaining free. When the skiers make the turn, they keep the heel flat on the outside ski while pulling the inside ski beneath the body. The knee remains bend and the heel is raised above the ground level. It is one of the most rhythmic skiing sports.
Telemark skiing was made popular by the Norwegian skier Sondre Norheim and for the first time attracted public attention in 1868. The sport received its name from the Telemark region of Norway where it was mainly practiced. This type of skiing was initially quite popular among the skiers but this popularity waned gradually, taken over by Stem technique. However, it regained much of its lost popularity in the 1990s after its practice was started anew in the 1980s. The skis used for this sport are similar to Alpine skis along with leather ski boots and three-pin bindings . However, cable bindings or hinged plate bindings are also used.
Telemark skiing, because of the adventurous nature, is attracting more and more young skiers with every passing day. The sport is among the most popular skiing activities in the world.
A whole spectrum of water skiing competitions are organized in different parts of the world which include Slalom skiing tournaments, Ski jumping and water ski racing.Water ski shows are also organized by a number of water ski clubs around the globe in which a set of entertainers perform jumping, swiveling and different formations based on a particular theme.This page provides a number of useful links related to water skiing which can help you explore a great deal of information on the subject.