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Ski Holidays - The Different Types Of Ski Activities

Nov 28, 2007
As flights to Europe become cheaper and as the pound becomes stronger there are an increasing number of people deciding to go off on Ski Holidays. Traditionally skiing had been restricted to the wealthy but there are an increasing number of young people that can now afford to have a skiing break. Ski holidays are attracting a new audience. When I started skiing I was daunted by the variety of types of different ski activities and was afraid to ask. Here is a brief introduction to the different types of skiing that are out there.

Skiing is not just about hammering down the slopes in the fastest time possible. Alpine freestyle focuses on finesse and performing tricks on the slopes. It has been referred to as acrobatics on skis. Skiers use jumps and rails to perform aerial tricks that are similar to those performed in urban areas on skateboards.

Cross country or Nordic Skiing is a type of skiing that is performed worldwide. It is probably the most prevalent form of skiing as it does not require a special ski area, it can therefore be performed anywhere that has snow. Cross country skis are long and thin to help distribute the weight of the skier. Cross country skiers often use their ski poles to propel themselves along as well pushing the skis sideways in a technique similar to ice skating.

People off on their ski holidays may be presented with the opportunity to attempt ski jumping. Ski jumping or Nordic jumping is a competitive sport that involves the skier travelling down a specially constructed ski ramp and off a jump at the end in an attempt to achieve a further distance than the competitors. The ski jumper uses specially designed skis that are wider and longer than normal skis.

Off-Piste or Randonee skiing is when a skier leaves the marked runs or Pistes in search of freshly dropped snow. It is an activity that is done by advanced skiers. This is because the skier is never fully aware of the types of terrain they will face and have to be competent enough to deal with an enormous variety of situations. The skier may travel to areas that are prone to avalanches and as a result the practice is banned at many US ski resorts. It is legal everywhere but ski resorts will offer advice on where to avoid. It is strongly recommended that you adhere to this advice.

Telemark skiing utilises flexible ski boots that do are not attached to the skis at the heel. Named after the Telemark region of Norway and dates back to 1868 when the father of modern skiing Sandre Norheim used this type of binding when he competed in a ski jump competition. Since then alpine ski fittings have gradually replaced the telemark system as the telemark skis are better suited to rolling terrain than the steeper downhill runs. Telemark skiing is physically more demanding than Alpine skiing.

As well as being a recreational activity for civilians, skiing is also utilised as a training activity for the military. Warfare has also taken place on skis and ski troops have played a key role in military activity. Records were made of ski warfare as early as the thirteenth century. More recently ski troops helped Finland remain independent from Russia during the Winter War. They also helped repel the German forces during the Lapland War.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been an avid skier for many years. He shares his knowledge to help advise people off on their ski holidays
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