The Various Types of SkiinghkazemiEnglish 104-05Feb. 11, 1997ClassificationEvery four years in the Winter Olympics, we see professional athletescompete in many areas ranging from downhill skiing to high-speed bobsledding.
We see the professionals demonstrate their spectacular abilities, and we try toemulate them in our own activities. In the Olympics, cross-country and downhillskiing are two very popular sports, and even non-professionals can get into them.
In this essay I will classify the various types of skiing into three categoriesand inform you about each.
The first type of skiing that I will discuss is cross-country skiing.
As its name implies, cross-country skiing consists of horizontal travel acrossflat land and relatively few hills. Cross-country skis are not optimized forspeed, but instead for easier long distance travel. This type of skiing is alsothe least expensive of the three types and has recently been gaining many newenthusiasts. A decent quality cross-country ski package would cost around $150.
As for choosing equipment, the skier should pick out poles that are as tall ashis shoulders.
(For most people this would mean a 140 cm to 150 cm pole.) Skiscome in three common sizes, 190 cm, 210, cm and 240 cm, and the proper lengthdepends on the height of the person. To determine the size needed, the personshould hold his hands above his head and choose the ski that most closelyapproximates the distance from the base of his palm to the floor.Thefollowing table gives some guidelines as to which ski lengths are proper forwhich heights.
Height:Proper Ski Length ~5’3″190 cm ski ~5’10″210 cm ski ~6’6″240 cm ski Table 1The last thing the skier will want to decide on is whether or not he wants tohave wax or non-wax skis. Wax skis are traditional and have the benefit ofbeing faster for the experienced skier. Non-wax skis are good for new skiersand those who do not wish to bother with waxing every time they ski. Overall, Iwould recommend non-wax skis to anyone getting into skiing mainly due to theirease-of-use and lower maintenance requirements.
The second major category of this sport is downhill skiing. Downhillskiing differs from cross-country skiing mostly in where it is performed and inthe equipment used. Downhill skiing is best suited to mountainous areas, butski hills have been built in most states for those who live too far from themountains. Downhill skis are designed for speed, and their extra strength andwidth gives skiers more control at these high speeds. In fact, experienceddownhill skiers can reach velocities of 65 mph before coming to a rest at thebottom of their hill. The equipment costs are higher for downhill skis thancross-country skis and a starter package will the skier back at least $300.
Currently, downhill skiing is the most popular form of the sport, but asmountain ski resorts become more crowded and overused, more people have beenturning to cross-country skiing which can be done anywhere that the snow falls.
The last group of skiers includes those who ski freestyle and perform jumps,flips, and other acrobatics. Freestyle skiers prefer the bumpiest, steepest,and most difficult courses and mountains, and they constantly court danger andinjury. The equipment costs for freestyle skiing are higher than the other twoareas mainly due to the specialized skis, poles, and clothes used. Since thisis the most dangerous form of skiing, I do not recommend it to anyone who is notexperienced in the other forms of skiing and has not been skiing for severalyears.
In this essay I have informed you on the three major categories ofskiing: cross-country, downhill, and freestyle. You have also been given someinformation on each relating to cost, equipment, and danger present. Overall,skiing has an excellent safety record, and if you follow the steps to learn toski in the proper order, you too can enjoy the sport as thousands of others do.
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