The wanderlust of humans has led to the exploration of snow-clad mountains and what developed as a mode of transport soon turned into a recreational and competitive winter sport.

As the skiing history goes, the origin of modern skiing evolved in Scandinavia and the word ski was coined in Norway which is derived from a North Germanic language called Old Norse. The Old Norse word "skíð" meant a split piece of wood or firewood.

The ski equipment used earlier was very rudimentary and has gone through a huge transformation emphasizing on the technique used and the science of crafting the skis for various purposes. 

The skis in Northern Finland and Sweden which were used until the late 19th century were primarily used for transportation and were asymmetrical skis.

A long straight non-arching ski waxed with animal fat was worn by the skier for sliding on one leg and a shorter ski covered with animal skin was worn on the other leg for kicking. One long spear or pole carried by the skier almost completed the gear used. With the equipment being evolved in the late 19th and early 20th century, skiing too formed two main genres –alpine and Nordic.

Alpine Skiing

Alpine Skiing is ‘downhill skiing’ and is typically done on a ‘groomed’ or marked ski run called 'piste' at a ski resort. The alpine skiing is the most common type of skiing and due to the nature of equipment, a skier is unable to walk and will require ski lifts, chairlifts to reach the top of the slope.

Nordic Skiing

Nordic Skiing has the adrenaline rushing ski jumping and cross- country skiing. Cross country skiing is generally done on flat terrain using thin skis, lightweight boots and groomed pistes. This type of skiing was used more as a means of transportation. Skiers are able to cover large distances. Whereas the ski jumping is done in certain areas specifically reserved for high jumps.

The other styles of skiing which have branched out from Alpine and Nordic are Backcountry, Freestyle, Telemark, Race, Tele-skiing.

Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry is a wide-ranging term that covers all skiing that is in the mountains but not on a groomed piste. Ski-touring also comes under the term backcountry as does long- distance ski-touring which is done from ski hut-to-hut. It is a very flexible type of skiing which helps the skiers to explore the entire mountain range after assessing the avalanche risks.

Freestyle Skiing

A relatively new type of skiing makes everything look cool and trendy, Freestyle is a much more playful sport. This style uses the whole ski resort as their playground and use some special features on pistes, half pipes and snow-park. This style of skiing is constantly evolving and is very popular.

Choosing Your Ski Type

Though there are multiple types of skiing, the best part is that if you are in a ski resort or ski town then you can try most of them in the same week as chances are that they all are available. almost all skiers will either start alpine or cross-country skiing as all other types of skiing emanates from these. A lot of ski resorts have easy off-piste areas that are visibly marked and patrolled. This helps give alpine beginners a great opportunity to try backcountry skiing or even try out some off-piste skiing. Ski gear or guides can easily be hired based on your ability. With technology, artificial snow is created and alpine skiing can be done.

To enjoy any sport, the gear has to be right and that goes for skiing too. So get your ski gear and explore this adrenaline-rushing sport in the snowy mountains.

The common ski equipment used in alpine skiing: (Clockwise L-R): 1. Ski poles and Skis, 2. Ski Boots and Bindings, 3. Ski goggles, 4.Ski helmet, 5.Ski gloves, 6. Ski Suits or Ski Jackets and Ski Pants

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