Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winter Sports - Skiing

Skiing - Photo: Pixabay
Skiing is a sport wherein the skiers glide over snow with the help of skis made out of wood planks or fiberglass strapped to the feet. Over the period of years have been many alterations to the original sports like the cross-country variant and downhill variant. The alterations are Alpine Skiing, Telemark Skiing, and Nordic Skiing. Skiing is also used by the military as a means of transportation and training in ski warfare.

Originally skiing was used as a means of transportation in an ice-packed area. Sondre Norheim, from Norway, was the father of modern skiing as he developed slalom form of skiing in the 19th century. His ideas were later worked on and Telemark Skiing was developed in the 1970s. Mathias Zdarsky from Austria invented the Alpine or downhill skiing. He developed the firmer bindings to help skiers to better anchor their feet. Sometime after that, Hannes Schneider of Austria invented the Arlberg technique, according to which the body is rotated to steer the skis. 

Not only there are different versions of skiing, but also there are many competitions, which are held every year for the fans of skiing. Skiing is a big part of the Winter Olympic games, too. The regions, which are ideal for skiing, are some parts of Scandinavia and Alaska. Many of the ski resorts have been constructed in these areas and some of them are specifically meant for Alpine Skiing.

The visitors have to buy warm clothing, ski, ski poles, and ski boots. After getting all dressed up, the skiers can take the gondola lift or the chairlift to reach the summit. From there the skiers ski downwards along a marked path called piste or trail or slope. If the skier is interested in off-piste skiing, he can take the unmarked area and ski in between trees, which is also known as glade skiing. 

Skiing outside the boundaries of the resort is called out of bounds skiing and is not allowed in some resorts. This can be very dangerous as there can be a possibility of falling avalanches, which can be a threat to life. Its advisable to take avalanche training, carry necessary equipment and to hang out with experienced skiers. In case of emergency, insurance is a must otherwise the cost of search and the skier himself should bare rescue service. It is highly recommended that the skiers inform the ski patrol before going out to ski and check out for bad weather.

It takes a long while to master the art of skiing and the help of ski schools can be taken to overcome this. Initially trained instructors ask the leaner to keep the skiing speed low. The terrains and steep slopes are better avoided. Advanced skiers are made to ski on steep terrains and the risks taken are much more dangerous than the beginners.  

Two basic types of downhill skiing are alpine skiing and telemark skiing. Telemark skiing involves flexible ski boots and the heels aren't locked to the skis. Alpine skiing involves harder ski boots.  

Even people with disabilities with the help of outriggers have practiced downhill skiing; sit skis, ski tip retention devices, ski guides, colored guide bibs and audible clues. The dangers that can be faced in these sports are avalanches, collisions, hypothermia, and other illnesses and sometimes even death.  

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