Introduction To Ski Sports



  • Are you new to skiing? Given the few different disciplines, skiing can be considered a diverse sport. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the main skiing that you can try.

    Alpine/Downhill Skiing

    Alpine skiing, sometimes referred to as downhill skiing, is probably what you will picture when someone mentions skiing.

    This discipline of skiing requires the skier to go the top of a slope using a ski lift, and then sliding down the mountain on alpine skis or groomed slopes.

    The slopes are maintained by the staff of the ski resort, and they are graded and colour-coded in terms of the difficulty:

  • Green - Easy slope, suitable for beginners
  • Blue – For new skiers who have passed the green slope
  • Red - Challenging slope, suitable for intermediate skiers
  • Black – Higher difficulty, only suitable for expert skiers
  • The gradings are slightly different around the world, but they follow this general system.

    Cross-country Skiing

    Cross-country skiing is very different from alpine skiing. The skis are thinner and lightweight in design, and cross-country skiers propel themselves forward using a skating motion around a groomed track.

    The skating motion is made easier with special boots and bindings. The boot attaches to the binding via a pin at the toe. This system leaves the heel to move up and down freely, making the movement more efficient.

    When the snow conditions are suitable, you can often use cross-country skis to explore away from the track. This will give you an opportunity to see the alpine landscape away from the crowds.

    If you are looking for a workout while on a winter holiday, cross-country skiing is regarded as one of the best ways to exercise! It is an excellent cardio exercise, and it provides a great low-impact full-body workout.

    Backcountry Skiing

    Backcountry skiing is similar to alpine skiing. However, you will ski on untouched powder snow rather than groomed slopes. 

    Heading into the backcountry is one of the best things you can indulge when skiing. The light, fluffy snow makes it feel like you are flying.

    However, backcountry skiing is not without its dangers. You need to be aware of the avalanche risk and various other hazards before going into the backcountry.

    Hence, it is best to engage a local guide or an instructor who has the knowledge of the local environment to deal with emergencies. They will also impart you avalanche rescue techniques, so you are prepared in an event of an emergency.

    Ski Touring

    Backcountry terrain is accessible from the ski lifts. But if you use ski touring equipment, you can discover much more.

    With ski touring, you will venture out into the backcountry on your own. You can use powder skis or alpine skis, but generally, you need wide skis to give you extra float in the powder.

    You hike up the mountain on your skis, and to give yourself a forward traction, you will fit some adhesive "skins" to the bases of your skis. The bristles on the other side of the “skin” only allow the ski to slide forwards, allowing you to hike uphill. Once you reach the top, you will remove the “skins” and put them in your backpack.

    The bindings and boots will hinge at the toe to make your ascent much easier, while the heel will lock back down as your descent from the mountain.

    With ski touring, you will spend most of your time going uphill, which may take several hours to complete, followed by a decent that only lasts a couple of minutes. However, the experience of being in the mountains coupled with an epic descent makes it worth the effort.

    If you are new to skiing, it is best if you hit the groomed slopes or alpine skis first, before hitting the backcountry. But it will not take you long to be proficient at cross-country or alpine skiing. Once you have the basics mastered, you will open to endless possibilities in skiing.