Different Types of Skiing Styles

People across the world have been enjoying skiing for nearly thousands of years. The earliest documented depiction of a skier is a Nordic carving that dates back to nearly 5000 B.C. Early prehistoric peoples invented skiing to assist with hunting, military maneuvers, and as practical transportation. Though the ski equipment has changed, skiing today has evolved into a worldwide outdoor adventure sport with a variety of styles still enjoyed by millions of people.

Because of the many different types of ski terrain, there are a few popular types of skiing styles. We see many of them during the Winter Olympic Games, which has greatly popularized aspects of the sport. One of the most popular types of skiing is Alpine or downhill. Alpine skiing is mostly enjoyed at specially developed resorts with slopes that are manipulated and groomed to best facilitate the sport. Alpine skiing as a sport is believed to have developed on the slopes of the European Alps in the late 1800s. In later years, the invention of ski lifts greatly facilitated the accessibility of the sport.

In the late 1990s, a new style of downhill skiing developed with the invention and implementation of twin tip skis. It is called freeskiing or freestyle skiing. In this style, skiers uses rails or jumps to do aerial tricks like spins and flips. More extreme freestyle skiers might take a helicopter to a top of a mountain and perform these tricks in rugged and untamed terrain. This is sometimes called heli-skiing. Slalom racing, which involves skiing between poles or gates on a slope, is another type of downhill skiing.

Another popular type of skiing is Nordic or cross-country skiing. Nordic is the oldest form of skiing and may be the most popular style of the sport worldwide since it does not require a special type of terrain. In Nordic skiing, skiers propel themselves across snow-covered terrain, not necessarily downhill, although in a cross-country Nordic ski race, there may be a section of downhill terrain. A Biathlon is like a Nordic cross-country race but also includes portions of rifle marksmanship. This type of race was developed from military skiing patrols.

Backcountry skiing may include portions of both Alpine and Nordic skiing. This is a type of skiing in sparsely or non-inhabited rural regions over ungroomed or unmarked slopes. Because of the dangers of exhaustion, loss of direction, avalanche, and weather, backcountry skiing should be practiced by only the most experienced skiers.

With so many styles and choices, skiing is a versatile outdoor sport that can be enjoyed by all kinds of people.

Park’s Sportman (http://www.parkssportsman.com) is a sports shop selling skis equipment and twin tip ski equipment. Art Gib is a freelance writer.

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