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Travel Info: Snow Skiing

Snow Traveling

» Strap on a pair of long skis, catch a lift to the top of a hill and then move smoothly down hill over the snow. That's skiing. Skis used to be made out of wood but wood can be heavy so know skis are made out of fiberglass. Binding attach your feet to the skis to keep them firmly in place. Today, people ski for recreation but skiing was first used to get from one place to another through the snow.

Norwegian Sondre Norheim, known as the "father of modern skiing," invented bindings that allowed the skier to turn while skiing down hills. Called slalom by Norheim and his contemporaries, this form of skiing is now known as Telemark skiing. Austrian Matthias Zdarsky invented firmer bindings that attached the skier's feet to the ski, which led to the development of downhill skiing. For most people, "skiing" refers to recreational downhill variety, where a person visits a ski resort donning cold weather attire, including ski boots, ski poles and skis, purchases a lift ticket and rides to the summit via a chairlift or gondola lift to travel downhill on the skis, propelled by gravity. At these resorts, skiers remain on marked routes, known as runs, trails, or slopes.

» A green circle means the hill is pretty safe and fondly known as the "bunny slope." A blue square means the hill is a bit steeper and good for intermediate skiers. The black diamond means this is an extreme hill and should only be used by the experts. Down hill skiing is not the only kind of skiing though. Back country skiing is popular too and may not be the adrenaline rush that skiing down hill gives but its fun just the same. Cross country skiing uses narrow skies and the bindings allow the heel of the foot to move up and down. Resorts don't usually have cross country skiing but is done on established trails with the occasional slopes and rolling hills. About the only time one hears much about skiing is during the Olympics that go on every four years. But skiing competitions go on all year around like the International Olympic Committee, the International Ski Federation and others support all kinds of skiing activities. In the United States, skiing is often associated with wealth. Some resorts, such as Aspen in Colorado, have a reputation as places where the rich and famous go on vacation. Skiing has also spawned the "ski bum" culture, in which skiers desiring to spend the entire skiing season to engage in their favorite sport and obtain menial jobs, usually in the tourism industry to achieve that goal.


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