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Types of skiing

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There are two main types of skiing that have evolved through the ages. Alpine skiing is basically a catch-all term for the endless variety of types of downhill skiing. The other major type of skiing is cross-country skiing, which bears little resemblance to its alpine cousin except that there are skis involved and there needs to be snow on the ground.

Alpine skiing is a whole field full of different types of skiing. Alpine on its own is simply when a skier propels himself down a slope and uses a chair lift or other mechanism to get back up the hill. Backpack skiing or backcountry skiing is a variant of this where you still ski down a slope but instead of being brought back to the top each time, you have to hike with your gear all the way back up.

It is important to note that this type of skiing happens both within resort boundaries to reach distant bowls and on random mountains everywhere. For the luxury set, heli-skiing takes this concept further and offers helicopter rides up to distant and hardly traveled slopes. Back down on the slope there are different styles that such as freestyle skiing or speed skiing but these are not types.

Types of skiing

Types of skiing include Telemarking, which is almost the middle step in between cross country and straight alpine skiing. Though Telemarking is performed on alpine slopes, the equipment resembles that of the cross country variety. The greatest difference in equipment is at the binding level where boots are only locked in at the toe and the heel is free to float and move up and down. Telemark grabs its name from a region in Norway where it emerged 150 or so years ago and it harkens back to days when skiing was much more effort. Some Telemarkers even still wear leather boots to show their old school ways. The main movement as you travel down the slope is that the ankle movement leads the turns and acts to swivel the front of the skis in the intended directions. The work load on the skier is far greater as this causes an up and down movement needed to lighten the skis to turn and to slow the skis after the turn.

Cross country skiing, also called Nordic skiing, is one of the less popular types of skiing available because it is a lot more work and a lot less fun. In this type of skiing, the skier uses their poles and the shuffling of their skis back and forth to move along flat, uphill and downhill tracks. They can also go off-track on their own but this requires an even greater level of fitness as you must fight the constant pull of sinking into unpacked snow.

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