Types of skiing

Many different types of skiing are popular, especially in colder climates. Skiing is most visible to the public during the Winter Olympic Games where it is a major sport. In skiing’s traditional core regions in the snowy parts of Scandinavia, as well as in places such as Alaska, both recreational and competitive skiing is as likely to refer to the cross-country variants as to the internationally downhill variants.

Alpine skiing

Alpine Freestyle: This kind of skiing employs the use of aerial acrobatics and balance, balance being necessary for rails. The use of rails is known as grinding or jibbing. Alpine freestyle was pioneered by Stein Eriksen in 1962. It developed in the 1970s into a style called Hotdogging. More recently, Alpine freestyle has evolved into the current style called Freeskiing or freestyle skiing, a new style of skiing that started in the late 1990s, specifically 1998 when the Salomon “Teneighty” twin-tip ski (the first successfully marketed twin-tip ski) flew off the shelves, changing the ski industry and culture forever. The very first twin-tip ski ever made remains the “Olin Mark IV comp”. In this type of skiing, skiers use jumps (also called kickers or launches) or rails to do aerial tricks. These tricks are reinvented and progressed in technique and style every day.

Free skiing or New School

The type of skiing with which tricks are usually associated. The skis normally used are twin-tips and are designed to land tricks backwards as easily as forwards as well as braces worn on the back of the boots to avoid shock-injuries. A free-skier can be seen taking a helicopter to the top of mountains, mainly to avoid the pistes, and would find natural jumps, moguls and obstacles such as fallen trees to perform their hallmark tricks on. Tricks are generally spins and flips, that can be conjoined with a grabbing of the ski to improve the image of the trick as well as grinds. This type of skiing can be very dangerous due to terrain and remoteness, so the majority of free-skiers are professionals.

Nordic Skiing

Also called Cross-country skiing or Cross-country racing. Takes its name from a type of ski race that is one third up, one third down, and one third flat. The name distinguishes it from other types of ski races and competition such as downhill racing, slalom racing, and Nordic jumping. Cross-country races can be either freestyle or classic. In freestyle racing, any technique is allowed as long as it is human powered and on skis. In a classic race, skating techniques are prohibited. World wide, Nordic skiing may be the most popular form of skiing since it does not require a specialty ski area. Typically after donning appropriate clothing, the skier goes outside and skis in a local park or even on a snowy street. Nordic skiing is the oldest form of skiing and was developed in Scandinavia as a way of travelling in the winter.

Nordic Jumping

Also called ski-flying and ski jumping. A competition in which skiers slide down a ramp called a jump and attempt to go the furthest before landing on the ground. This is done with Nordic style skis, meaning that the heels of boot and binding are detached from the ski. The skis are much longer and wider than other types of skis and jumping is typically done without ski-poles.

Dry Slope Skiing

This is skiing on artificial or dry snow, or dirt. Dry slope skiing is a year-round sport in countries like the UK where the snow cover is insufficient for traditional skiing. There is a thriving race programme on British slopes.

Adaptive Skiing

– is skiing done by individuals with physical disabilities. Adaptations to standard ski equipment or accompaniment by a non-disabled guide has enabled individuals with amputations, spinal injuries, TBI, deafness and visual impairments to ski, and in some cases, even race.

Kite skiing and para-skiing

– is skiing done while being pulled or carried by a parasail, hang glider, or kite.

Military Skiing

In addition to its role in recreation and sport, skiing is also used as a means of transport by the military, and many armies train troops for ski warfare. Ski troops played a key role in retaining Finnish independence from Russia during the Winter War, and from Germany during the Lapland War, although the use of ski troops was recorded by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in the 13th century. The sport of Biathlon was developed from military skiing patrols.

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