If you’re new to skiing you may think all skiing is essentially the same, or you may understand the difference between cross country and downhill but that’s about it. If you didn’t grow up hitting the slope every weekend throughout the winter then Alpine and Nordic won’t mean much to you. Let’s go over the different types of skiing so you can see which you would like to try.
Cross Country Skiing
The difference between cross county and downhill skiing are pretty obvious, one involves a hill and the other doesn’t. The differences extend a little further than that though. Cross country and downhill use different types of skis, cross country skiing has narrower and lighter skis that come with lighter and more flexible ski boots. Cross country movements are closer to running than it is to downhill skiing, you propel yourself across the terrain using longer strides. Cross county requires a fair amount of endurance and cardio strength. Here is a beginner’s guide to cross country skiing.
Downhill skiing uses wider skis and heavier boots and you take a lift up the side of a hill or mountain and ski back down. Downhill skiing isn’t as physically intense as cross country can be however there is a learning curve. There are two principal types of downhill skiing, Alpine and Nordic. Let’s look at the differences between the two.
When you are Nordic skiing you use a different kind of boot, only the toe is firmly attached to the skis and you can move your heel around. Because this type of boot and binding is used, technically cross county can be considered Nordic skiing too. If you have ever watched ski jumping at the Olympics, where they jump long distances rather than aerial tricks, they are Nordic skiing.
Alpine skier use a binding where both the heel and toe are attached to the skis, however they will pop off if you fall or they are hit hard enough. Again if you watch Olympic skiing then you will see plenty of variations of Alpine skiing events, including, slalom, giant slalom, downhill racing, aerials, moguls and freestyle. Almost all downhill skiing is considered Alpine and if you hit the slopes for the first time this is probably the type of skiing you will try.
There you have the different styles of skiing explained, which one are you willing to try out first?