Types of Skiing

Downhill Skiing

In Downhill skiing, competitors take a “set course from start to finish.”
They take turns racing and each run is timed. The person with the fastest time
wins. Downhill racers use ski poles to pick up speed at the start and for
balance when they take turns. They try to keep there skis as close as possible
to the snow. As he leaves the starting gate he activates an automatic timing
mechanism. Downhill racing is the fastest Alpine ski racing sport. Champion
skiers reach speeds of over 90 miles per hour on the steep, strait parts of the
course. The turns call for immense skill and powerful muscles. Taking tuns at
fast speeds puts a lot of stress on the legs. The racers use helmets for
protection, because falling at high speeds can be very dangerous. The sport
needs a great deal of courage. The good thing about it is that it is probably
the most exciting ski event ever. Large bumps called moguls, and steep pitches
add to the hazards. The course ranges from about 1 and a half to 3 miles long.
The fastest recorded speed for a man on skis is 129.827 miles per hour. The
fastest recorded speed for a woman is 124.759 miles per hour. Both records were
achieved at Lees Acres, France, in April 1984.


In slalom competitors race downhill through a series of gates
represented by pairs of poles. The flags on the gates are either red or blue.
There are three types of events: Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Super-G. Slalom
has many gates and tight turns. Giant Slalom has fewer gates and wider turns.
Super-G is a combination of Giant Slalom and downhill racing.
Getting through the gates of a slalom course calls for great balance and
skill. Races are won on the fastest time, as in downhill, but if a gate is
missed or taken wrongly it means disqualification of the racer. Olympic slalom
events require a course to have a vertical drop of at least 650 feet from the
beginning to the finish.

Cross Country

Cross Country skiing requires great stamina. The standard courses range
from 3 to 30 miles and some are even longer. There are fewer sharp turns or
steep slopes than there are in Alpine racing. In a biathlon competitors make
stops to shoot at targets. They carry their rifles strapped to their backs as
they progress from target to target areas. Time penalties are given for missed
The big marathons are held in Europe and in North America. Anyone can
take part, from competitors to beginners.
Ski poles play an important part in cross country skiing. The skier
uses the poles to help with the rhythm necessary to keep up a consistent pace
and help to propel forward. The champion Nordic skiers average about 12 miles
per hour. Like long distance runners, they go into a rhythmic stride.

Ski Jumping

Out of all the snow sports, ski jumping is the most spectacular. The
fearless competitors take off from huge ramps and soar through the air before
landing as much as 330 feet away. There are two ski jumping events, the 70m
and the 90m. These are not the height of the ramps, but how far you are
expected to jump. Points are awarded for style as well as for distance. A ski
jumper crouches to gather up speed as he goes down the [in run] of a ski tower.
The position in the air is important, and is judged on steadiness and control.
Ski jumping is probably the oldest form of skiing. Skis used for ski jumping
are heavier, longer, and wider than Alpine skis.

Top Ten Ski Resorts

Killington, Vermont

Killington is the largest ski resort in the Eastern United States. It
has six peaks referred to as separate mountains: Sunrise Mountain, Bear
Mountain, Sky Peak, Killington Peak, Snowdon Mountain, and Ramshead Mountain.
All these Mountains can be skied by skiers of all levels of ability and it is
easy for skiers to move from one mountain to the next. Considering how big
Killington is there are eighteen lifts: six double chairlifts, four triple
chairlifts, five quad chairlifts, two surface lifts, and one Gondola. The
Gondola that they have is three and a half miles long, which is the longest the
longest in North America. Killington\'s total skiable area is seven-hundred and
twenty-one acres with a vertical drop of three-thousand, one-hundred and sixty
feet. Killington has one-hundred and seven runs. Of these runs, 45% are
beginner runs, 20% are intermediate, and 35% are advanced. Killington\'s
longest trails are Juggernaut, Timberline, and Cascade,