Different types of skiing

Article posted on 05 November 2019

The snowy slopes of the Alps offer many possibilities for winter sports fans. With advanced skills come more options, as there are a number of different types of skiing available that go beyond a straight shuss down the slopes. We’ve listed some of the more popular variations.

Alpine skiing

This is your very basic form of skiing which doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of fun. You go down a slope in a reasonably straight line using skis with fixed-heel bindings. It’s the preferred method for the majority of people who go on ski holidays and essential for beginners.

A variation on Alpine is slalom skiing where the athlete has to twist and turn around a series of narrowly spaced gates. It’s a real test of skill and control and a big favourite with spectators at the Winter Olympics.

Every resort will have different types of Alpine skiing slopes ranging from the very easiest (blue) to the most advanced (black). That means there’s somewhere for everyone to enjoy their winter sports experience.

Off-piste or Backcountry

For some people, the official pistes just aren’t enough. They love the excitement that comes from exploring the areas where others fear to go. Needless to say, this requires skills as well as bravery, as skiing away from designated areas brings its own dangers.

There’s more chance of hidden obstacles. Who will be there to help you if you hurt yourself? Above all, the avalanche risk is often higher in these areas. Despite this, holidays are all about freedom and many people love to go off-piste to find the hidden runs or picture-perfect woodland. Many of our resorts offer guides who can be hired to take you off-piste and it’s something we would highly recommend for the first time you try it.

Freestyle skiing

When does sport become art? It could be with freestyle skiing which takes the concept of going down a slope and adds in a range of tricks to make it a thing of beauty.

There are many types of trick that can be carried out on skis such as flips, moguls, half-pipes and various grabs. Sometimes it’s possible to leave the snow altogether and head down a rail or box. If this appeals to you then get ready to learn a lot of jargon. And expect to face-plant many times before you become good at it.

Cross-country skiing (Nordic skiing)

How strong are your legs? Cross-country skiing is beloved by many who love to test their endurance. It involves journeying across the landscape on flat and slightly sloping ground and requires a lot of energy. The biggest bonus is getting to see beautiful countryside away from the main ski resort.

There are a number of variations on cross-country skiing including Telemark which adds more slope to the course and the biathlon where at regular intervals the skier has to aim at a target using a rifle.

Snowboarding

Okay, so it’s not skiing but snowboarding shares many of the same qualities. The excitement of standing on just one board as you go down the slopes is attractive to many and you should consider giving it a go to see if it’s for you. It’s easier to learn but harder to master than skiing but it’s great if you’ve got both options to choose when you’re on holiday.

Adaptive skiing

Skiing should be for everyone and adaptive skiing allows disabled people to take part in this marvellous sport. Specialised equipment such as sit-down snowboards and ski bikes allow people with impairments to enjoy the same sense of freedom and thrills as others on the slope.

Club Med are leading the way in making our resorts disabled friendly and you’ll find rooms available that make it easy to get in and out and head for the slopes as soon as possible.

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