Skiing encompasses many different styles and disciplines, one of which is downhill skiing also called alpine skiing. The other basic style in skiing is Nordic or cross-country skiing. These two styles use different ski equipment. Downhill skis are shorter and wider than Nordic skis. Boots used for cross-country skiing are flexible while boots for downhill skiing are stiff.
In addition, Nordic skiing requires skis attached only to the toe of ski boots to allow easy striding while downhill skiing requires skis attached to both the heel and the toe of the boot for greater control and stability, which is critical when skiing down slopes at high speeds and when executing turns.
There are many types of downhill skiing including skiing in powder, mogul, off-piste and on-piste trails. Downhill skiing disciplines include free-style skiing, telemark skiing, ski jumping and speed skiing.
Powder is new-fallen snow, which is dry and light. Skiing on powder is the ultimate skiing experience for many enthusiasts of the sport. It requires different techniques than skiing on prepared trails. A skier has to master moves that are more refined in order to properly ski on powder.
Moguls are bumps on a ski slope created by many skiers as they push snow when they ride downhill. Mogul or bump skiing also calls for a different technique, which requires maintaining control as you go over bumps. Mogul skiing is an exciting and complex sport that tests the ability of the skier to maneuver through moguls sometimes as big as cars.
Speed Skiing is the fastest type of downhill skiing or any type of skiing for that matter. It involves skiing straight down a steep slope at speeds that can reach 150 mph. Because of the great risk under high speeds, skiers wear special padded clothing and gears that help reduce wind resistance. They also master the proper stance and moves that cut down air resistance.
In ski jumping, skiers ride downhill on a steep slope onto a ramp that propels them up through the air at heights reaching 60 feet. Ski jumping is thrilling to watch as skiers appear to be flying, which is why it is not surprising that ski jumping competitions always draw crowds.
Downhill skiing on off-piste trail or the back-country is an exciting experience but it is risky. Expert skiers often go by themselves because they are capable of handling the challenges of un-groomed trails. There are also many guided back-country skiing tours available for skiers of all level.