Different Types of Skiing



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  • Different Types of Skiing

    What are the different types of skiing? How are the skiis different for each type of skiing?

  • #2
    Whoa. That is a huge question you just asked there, Sharp Shooter. Let me take something of a stab at it, though I won't cover all of it.

    Downhill varieties:

    1 - Typical alpine skiing. This is the locked-heel variety that you'll see at resorts with chairlifts. You are fully locked into the skis, which gives great control - but they are typically far too heavy and cumbersome for any sort of backcountry use. Skis are typically anywhere from 60-90mm wide underfoot, and from 80-120mm wide at the tip (a little less wide in the tail).

    2 - Alpine Touring (AT) or Randonee - This is a setup designed to give you the control of alpine skis while allowing for the freedom of backcountry touring. The binding system allows you to release your heels so that you can climb mountains with the skis still on your feet. (You can go up hills with "skins" on your skis, which are basically like a strip of really thin carpet that keeps your skis from sliding. These are removed at the top.) Anyhow, the boots and binding are much lighter weight with this setup, otherwise climbing and touring would become quite tiring. I'll try to post some pictures of this setup and how it works next time I hit the mountains. (Maybe next weekend? I'm trying to let the snowpack settle right now.)

    3 - Telemark. These skis are somewhat like cross-country skis on steroids, in that you are only connected to the ski by the toepiece of the boot. Some also refer to this as free-heel skiing. This requires a totally different style of turning when decending the mountain that is both harder to learn and more physically demanding. That being said, this setup allows the most efficient touring (travel) in the backcountry - both up the mountain and from point A to point B - because their gear is light and they have flex in their boots. The size of the skis for AT and Tele are similar to alpine skis, but they are usually a little lighter weight.


    1 - Classical skiing - This is the type of skiing that most non-skiers picture when they think of cross-country. Skis are kept parallel to one another and skis are moved one at a time in a motion somewhat similar to running (but more elongated and graceful). Skis are very narrow (narrower than your foot) and are waxed with a somewhat sticky wax under foot in order to increase grip for kicking (or pushing) off the snow for forward momentum.

    2 - Skate skiing. The skis here are fairly similar to classical skis, in that they are very thin, but the style is quite different. As the name implies, the skier moves in a motion that is pretty similar to ice skating with a side-to-side motion. This is typically the fastest style of cross-country skiing (my favorite), but it is mostly limited to groomed trails.

    3 - Touring. This would be basically the same style as classical skiing, but done with wider skis on ungroomed trails or simply through the backcountry. Skis are larger for floatation in deep snow and often have scales (little bumps) on the bottom to give grip for forward momentum. A slow, peaceful way to move through the woods.

    I think I've covered the basics, but skiing is a huge sport and gear gets more complicated every year. Go take a look at a local ski shop. You'll be shocked at how many options there are for gear.



    • #3
      Best skiing

      I came to know many types of Skiing. could you please tell me which one is best and easy to learn....
      Last edited by Brian M; 11-19-2008, 08:23.


      • #4
        Having skied all 6 forms at one point or another, I will offer:

        "Regular" is the easiest alpine form
        Telemark is the hardest alpine form

        Classic is the easiest nordic form and the easiest overall
        Skate is the hardest nordic form

        They are all good!!!


        • #5
          I'm old & don't learn real well any more but I picked up classic Cross-Country fairly easily. Used gear is pretty inexpensive & easy to come by. My used skis & gear in excellent condition cost me $40 (SKIS, POLES, & BOOTS) at a garage sale. I use waxless skis (the built in grippers Brian mentione, but on classic skis. Very common & referred to as "waxless") at this time to make life easier. Salvation Army Thrift Store here in Kenai alway has some to choose from.
          I did a little reading (on the net) & learned the basics on my own & then took a free 2 night class that a local club put on & that really helped put it together.
          I'm not good by any means & in the 2 yrs I've been doing it I probably only have a total of 20 hrs in, but I really enjoy it.
          Vance in AK.

          Matthew 6:33
          "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."


          • #6
            Craigslist is a good place for deals on skis

            I agree with Vance in AK getting used cross country ski gear is a good deal. You can often find good deals on www.craigslist.com

            For every type of skiing there are variations. An interesting Alaskan web site is the Alaska Performance Backcountry Skiing web site, here - http://crust.outlookalaska.com/ These guys do a combination of using skis for groomed trails in the backcountry. Super lightweight outfits allow them to go a long ways in a day.


            • #7
              Great thread!
              It looks like I need a set of touring skis! I have been kicking around a better way to get around my predator hunting area quietly and this might be just the ticket. Are the waxless ski's an upgrade or a gimmick?
              Any recommendations for a guy who is 6'5" and 275lbs? I imagine step one is get the longest ski's I can find!


              • #8
                Originally posted by LuJon View Post
                Any recommendations for a guy who is 6'5" and 275lbs? I imagine step one is get the longest ski's I can find!
                Width is going to be more important than length, particularly in the woods where you might need to move in tight spots. Find the widest ski you can in about a 180-190cm length. That's still really long (way too long for most folks for a touring setup), but...well, you're a big fella.

                I don't know too much about the waxless skis. I use alpine skis with randonee bindings for my backcountry setup, though I think I need to slap some telemark bindings on another set so that I have something more touring-friendly. My current setup rocks for climbing and descending, but not so much for covering distance on varying terrain.


                • #9
                  waxless isn't a gimmick. the scales underfoot do a pretty good job of holding on slight uphills. you won't climb 30 degree hills very efficiently for a long time with them. for small game hunting, that is what you need. if you will be covering some decent hills (not mountains) in tundra type environment, i would think about some skins for the skis. if just in flat alaska woods, waxless is just great. wide is good, so they act like snowshoes almost. something around 70+ in width is good, for flotation. and then a pair of backcountry nnn bindings and some backcountry alpina or rossignol boots is what i have and would go with for small game hunting stuff.

                  let me know if that doesn't make sense


                  • #10
                    karhu makes a active waxless base which has great grip and good sliding capability. for backcountry use I suggest their xcd skis. I have the pinnacle for simple touring, and the 10th mtn when the snow is deep or I want some downhill performance.

                    the big thing to concern yourself with is the boots, make sure you get something that fits. if you spend money, that's the place to do it.

                    I have 3 pin bindings, so that dictates some boot choices but the NNN or SNS are perfectly ok binding choices.


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