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Alpine skiing

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Alpine Skiing, also more commonly known as downhill skiing, is a popular sport involving sliding down snow-covered terrain with skis attached to each foot.

Destinations

Skiing is a major travelling activity with many enthusiasts, occasionally known as "ski bums," planning entire vacations around skiing at a particular location. Major skiing destinations, where nearby resorts that can be skied with the same ticket are grouped together, include:

Europe

North America

Canada

United States of America

Learn

Virtually all ski resorts have a ski school where you can sign up for lessons. It's recommended that you learn to ski at a smaller, cheaper mountain nearer to your location before going off to a major ski resort so you won't have to pay a large fee to just use the bunny hill (which would be the same more or less anywhere).

Do

There are many types of skiing within alpine skiing, from contests to downhill (going straight without turns) to moguls (going around the bumps). Cross country skiing is usually also available. Nowadays most resorts allow snowboarders as well, but if you plan to do so double check beforehand.

Most resorts also offer a variety of other activities such as horseback-riding and ice skating. There are also usually great stores for shopping and wonderful resteraunts in the area that are worth looking into after a day of hitting the slopes.

Ski resort areas are also frequented during the summer months because of their numerous hiking, mountain bicycling, etc opportunities.

Buy

Any serious skier has their own equipment, which consists of the following:

  • Skis with binding
  • Poles
  • Ski boots

If you're not certain of if skiing is right for you or you're travelling a great distance, consider renting your equipment (which should be very easy to do at the resort area). Also consider renting equipment, particularly ski boots, for small children because they will continue to grow and need to change sizes.

Regardless of if you buy or rent your ski equipment, because of the typically cold conditions, cold outdoor equipment (such as heavy jacket, hat, mittens, etc) are a must! Also invest in a good pair of snow pants as you only need to fall once in order to be wet and miserable for the rest of the day should you not have them. Ski goggles and/ or sunglasses are also highly recommended to keep your eyes safe from the glare off the snow.

Stay Safe

Skiing takes place in some of the most trecherous terrain in the world under very cold conditions. First of all, be sure you are properly protected against the cold so you will not suffer from things like frostbite. When you are skiing you will be exposed to the elements all day and need to act accordingly. Second, be aware that when the sun comes out the reflection from the snow around you can cause serious problems as well! Be sure to wear snow goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from snowblindness and wear sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburn. Snow can reflect more than 50% of the light that hits it so wear sunscreen even if it's cloudy outside! You'll thank yourself later. Ski terrain can often be very dangerous and can can lead to hazards that can potentially injure or kill a careless skier. Do not ski any terrain that is above your skill level and pay attention to all signs and Ski Patrol instructions. Also heed avalanche warning signs and avoid areas where avalanche buildup can occur. Also always ski in a group or let someone know where you are.


External Links

Wikipedia article on Alpine Skiing- [1] Ski Resort Guide for North America- [2]

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