What is Skiing?
Skiing is a winter sport where someone uses skis to glide on snow down a mountain. People ski recreationally or competitively. In competitive skiing, there are numerous different disciplines to choose from.
Alpine Skiing: A speed skiing event where racers will ski down a slope racing around gates. The skier with the fastest time wins.
Freestyle Mogul Skiing: Moguls is a competition consisting of a team run on a mogul course that focuses on technical turns and aerial maneuvers as well as speed.
Aerials: When competitors launch themselves off large jumps performing precise maneuvers.
Freesking: Involves skiers going down a course that includes obstacles such as rails, jumps and other terrain park features. They are scored based on the tricks they perform on these features
Throughout the Middle Ages, skis were in regular use by Scandinavian farmers and hundreds of others. By the 18th century, units of the Swedish Army trained and competed on skis. In 1934, solid aluminum skis were made in France by Joseph Vicky. Throughout the 1900s, competitive skiing became more and more popular, as professionals were able to make a living off of the sport. Every year, people were progressing the sport and pushing it which is why we see skiers performing so well today.
The surface of where ski competitions are held is on the snow. The type of snow that will be there is typically a groomed, icy surface. In order for Alpine skiers to remain in control, the snow has to be firm and smooth which will allow them to go full speed. Mogul skiers need the snow to be soft, since then it will be easier to maneuver through the moguls. Freeskiers also prefer groomed terrain, because when they are going towards the jumps, they do not want anything in their way.
When skiing you are going to need a large amount of equipment. Skiing is an extremely cold sport, so you are going to want a lot of warm clothing. A jacket and snowpants are needed as an outer layer, along with a helmet and goggles to protect your head and face. You will also need ski boots, skis, and poles in order to perform the actual act of skiing. Brands such as Northface, Oakley, Smith, and Patagonia are a couple of options to have some great clothing when you are skiing.
The format of skiing events all have differences depending on the discipline and level of competition that is taking place. In alpine skiing (arguably the most popular discipline), the winners are determined by who is able to get down the course the fastest. The competition starts with an inspection of the course, as the racers will get an idea of what the course is like before they are charging down the mountain at high speeds. They will then take two runs, and the lowest combined time for those two runs will be the winner.
Rules and Regulations
Whether you are skiing in a competition or recreationally, there are a lot of rules and regulations that must be followed. When skiing recreationally, you must only ski on the trails that are open. Ducking the rope of a closed trail to ski it can lead to a confiscation of your pass. You also must follow the rules of all signs such as “slow” signs. If you are caught speeding past one of these signs, you may get in trouble by the ski patrol.
In competition, all rules and regulations are formatted differently based on the discipline of skiing. The main rules that are applied to all the disciplines are good sportsmanship and not doing anything that could be deemed harmful to your opponents.
Referees and Officials
Judges in skiing hold a very important role, as they are often the ones who end up determining who the winner of an event is. Judges keep a close eye on the technique, form, and execution of a skier throughout their run, and will give them a score. Judges will deduct points when a skier makes a mistake or has a slight break in form. If in an amateur event, it is a really good idea to respectfully approach a judge at the end of a day and talk about what you can do to get a higher score at the next competition.
Lingo and Terminology
The sport of skiing has a lot of lingo that you should be aware of when you are on the hill. Conversations on the chairlift will make a lot more sense once you are able to understand what all of the terminology is.
- Bluebird Day: A beautiful sunny day on the mountain. Some consider this to be the perfect day for skiing.
- Bunny Slope: A slope for beginners to learn basic techniques.
- Corduroy: When a trail is recently groomed by a snowcat. It resembles the fabric because of the grooves that are visible.
- Traverse: Skiing or moving across a slope horizontally instead of straight down.
- Gaper: A skier who is new to the sport and doesn’t understand the proper on-mountain manners, apparel, or techniques.
A coach is extremely vital to a competitive skier’s success. A coach will analyze a skier’s form and technique very closely, and will point out what he or she is going to need to improve on. Coaches need to get certified to certain levels to be able to coach certain types of skiing. For example, if a skier is going to be performing backflips, that means the coach must be at a certain level of coaching and have a certain amount of experience.
Skills and Techniques
To find success in the slopes there are a couple of skills that you must possess. A strong lower body is something that is necessary since your legs are going to be doing most of the working. You also always want to make sure you are making turns properly. You do this by always keeping downhill pressure on the outside ski to maintain control. Keeping your core stable is also important because when you are moving your lower body around you want your upper body to be as quiet as possible.
Having a successful ski competition is going to take a lot of strategy. Many people may think that these skiers simply go down the course at their absolute hardest effort in an attempt to get the highest score but that is not the case. Skiers will start off by thoroughly inspecting the course. They will go through the course very slowly and keep an eye out for anything that might bother them when they do their run. They then plan with their coaches how they will compete in the first run. Some people like to be a bit conservative in their first run, just getting a score that is good enough to qualify for the next round. It is often not until the second run when they ski at their hardest effort in an effort to get to the top spot on the podium.
Drills are not nearly as fun as just skiing down whatever trail you want at any speed. However, putting the time in to practice some drills will definitely help in conquering just about any trail that the mountain has to offer. Below are a few popular drills that skiers like to do.
Sideslip to Edge Set: Standing on a slope with some pitch, keep your skis hip width apart and perpendicular to the fall line. Sideslip a few feet then set your edge.
Goal Post: Hold your ski poles upright and pick a landmark at the bottom of the trail. Keep the landmark between the ski poles and make turns down the slope. This will help keep a quiet upper body.
One Ski Turns: When making a turn, lift up your uphill ski, keeping all of the pressure on your downhill ski. This will help improve your balance and also get you in the habit of putting all the pressure on your downhill ski.
Skiing is a sport that dominates the Winter Olympics with numerous different events. Freestyle skiing, alpine racing, ski jumping, and biathlon are just a few examples of what might take place during these historic games. The great thing about the skiing in the Olympics is that it showcases these styles of skiing that typically may not be very popular, and it turns them into the talk of the town for the two weeks the events are going on. In South Korea 2018, skiing accounted for 6 of the 15 sporting events, clearly making it one of the most watched sports of 2018.
There are numerous outdoor brands that do a great job of making skis, equipment, as well as apparel. These brands are well known all across the mountains and using those types of brands will earn you some respect on the slopes as well. Below is a list of some of the top brands in the skiing industry.
- 4Frnt: Skis
- K2: Skis, boots, apparel
- Volkl: Skis
- Smith: Goggles, helmets, apparel
- Armada: Skis
- Helly Hansen: Gloves, jackets, snow pants
- Patagonia: Jackets, snow pants, apparel
- Dalbello: Boots
Skiing Youth Organizations
The best way to get started at skiing is to join an organization at a young age. Just about every ski mountain has a program that is available for kids of all ages. These programs teach these young future rippers how to ski, while they also enjoy themselves and make new friends. As the kids begin to progress, they can even join the team at the mountain if they would like, and compete in low level competitions that are meant to be fun. Of all the ways to get a kid to catch the skiing fever and also progress to be their very best, a youth organization is arguably the best way to do it.
Some of the most successful and most famous Winter Olympic athletes are skiers. There are famous skiers that are in all different types of disciplines. Typically, ski racers such as Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin are the most popular and get the most media attention. But there are numerous other skiers who have found success in different disciplines as well. Below is a list of successful skiers that are in a variety of different disciplines.
- Gus Kenworthy: Freeskier
- Mikaela Shiffrin: Alpine
- Bode Miller: Alpine
- Mikael Kingsbury: Freestyle
- Nick Goepper: Freeskier
- Lindsey Vonn: Alpine
- Shane McConkey: Freeskier/Freestyle/Alpine
- Ted Ligety: Alpine
- Sara Burke: Freeskier
All over the world, there are numerous organizations that host skiing tournaments. There are amateur leagues, collegiate leagues, and also World Cup level leagues. For a typical discipline, a skier will start off in the amateur leagues, and they may progress to the next level such as North American or European leagues (depending on where they are from). After that, the skier can go to college to compete, or reach the World Cup level representing their country.
- United States Ski and Snowboard: Amateur
- FIS: World Cup
- NCAA: College
At the professional level, there are not typically teams that skiers will represent. The highest level you can reach in skiing is the international World Cup level. If you are at that level, the team you are skiing for is your country. A lot of NCAA programs have alpine teams, but do not offer skiing for a lot of other disciplines. Below are some of the top countries in skiing, and how some of their best skiers are.
- Canada Ski Team: Mikael Kingsbury (Freestyle), Erik Guay (Alpine), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Freestyle)
- United States Ski Team: Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine), Nick Goepper (Freeskiing), Lindsey Vonn (Alpine)
- France Ski Team: Perrine Laffont (Freestyle), Alexis Pinturault (Alpine)
- Austria Ski Team: Matthias Mayer (Alpine), Marcel Hirscher (Alpine) Daniel Traxler (Ski Cross)
Ski mountains hold events every year that are extremely enjoyable for all who get involved. These events could be end of the year celebrations, start of spring celebrations, New Year’s parties, and much more. Some mountains like to hold fun tournaments that all people can be eligible for. For example, the Bear Mountain Mogul challenge at Killington is an amatuer mogul tournament. This event is an all day party where there are people grilling, playing music, and playing games all while the event is going on. No matter what mountain you go to, it is recommended to check out what events might be going on.
- Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge: Killington, Vermont
- World Ski and Snowboard Festival: Whistler, Canada
- Reggae Fest: Sugarloaf, Maine
- Hi-Fi Concert Series: Aspen, Colorado
- Taste of Vail: Vail, Colorado
Skiing competitions are all formatted differently depending on the discipline of skiing. However, there is one thing that is not different. They are all extremely enjoyable to watch. Watching competitive skiers is perhaps one of the most impressive things for an average mountain visitor to spectate. Whether the competitor is performing tricks in the air or charging down the gates, it will leave the fans in awe of how talented these competitors are. Below is a list of some of the most famous competitions in the world.
- Xgames: Professional Freesking and Ski Cross
- FIS Deer Valley World Cup: Freestyle
- Birds of Prey World Cup: Alpine
- Winter Olympics: All Disciplines
Skiing books are great to learn more about the sport, and also read about the adventures of fellow skiers. There are skiers that get themselves into some pretty crazy adventures, and a few of them were nice enough to document them for the public. Learning more about certain areas, mountains, and skiers is a great way to get a better understanding of the sport. Reading a ski book is a great way to spend your summer to deal with the long wait for winter.
- White Planet: A Mad Dash Through Modern Global Ski Culture: Leslie Anthony
- Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits: Kit DesLauriers
- Freedom Found: My Life Story: Warren Miller
- Tracking the Wild Coomba: Robert Cocuzzo
Skiing websites are a great way to stay informed about what is going on in the skiing industry. You can read about different storms, watch videos, and keep up to date about what is going on in the competition world. There are many great websites that offer some great content, and if you are a fan of the sport, you should check out some of the sites below. Along with these sites, you should also go on the website of your local ski mountain, so you know what the conditions are going to be like if you plan on skiing that day.
What is Skiing?
Skiing is the action of traveling down a mountain over snow on two skies. It is primarily for sport and recreation. There are ski mountains all over the world that gain thousands of visitors each year.
Is it dangerous to ski?
Skiing can be a very dangerous sport. In Alpine skiing, there is an injury rate of two injuries per every 1,000 ski days. While it may not seem like an extreme number, backcountry skiing can be extremely dangerous, and has been responsible for many deaths. Skiing on resort property can be pretty safe, but it is always very important to know your boundaries.
What is the point of skiing?
People ski for many different reasons. Skiing can be a social sport where people go on trips with friends and family. Many people like to ski because they are competitors and they love the thrill of the competition. The reason that most people probably enjoy skiing is because of the thrill they get from it along with the adrenaline rush.