SKIING, SNOWBOARDING, DOG SLEDDING & SNOW MOBILING
Skiing, as we know it today saw its beginnings at the end of the 19th Century, whereas snowboarding developed 100 years later and did not become an olympic sport until 1998.
Dog sledding, now a popular winter activity and a competitive sport began long ago, probably in eastern Siberia. It was then means of transport for nomadic winter tribes.
The first snow mobile was built in 1923 but it was not until 1959 that the modern type of snow mobile, a ski-doo, appeared on this seen.
Listings for Winter Sports - Skiing, Snowboarding, Dog Sledding, Snow Mobiling
Snowmobiles are also known as snowmachines, sleds and by the brandname Ski-doos. The Ski-doo was originally named Ski-dog but an ad-agency misread the name and so the Ski-doo was born!
They are powerful machines, able to go from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4 seconds. The snowmobile is propelled over the snow and ice by one rubber track and are idea for travel in the artcic regions.
However most of the snowmobiles sold are actually for recreation, which is mainly in North America, although they are now gaining popularity in Europe. An amazing 28 bilions dollars per year is spent snowmobiling. There are various types of riding which include motocross/racing, trail riding and mountain riding.
There are also many company using them for exciting winter tours and vacations. Although enormous fun, this sport can be dangerous, with people killed every year. It must be said though that a high number of these deaths are alcohol related. You need all your senses to ride one of these amazing machines and dulling them with alcohol is not a good idea!
Dog sled racing is the state sport of Alaska and is popular throughout North America and Europe. Races vary from short sprints of just 4 miles right up to long distance races of up to 200 miles.
The number of dogs pulling the sled can also varies. 3, 6 and 12 are all common, but you can have as many as 22 in the open or unlimited category.
Dog sled racing is the most well known form of mushing - dogs pulling a sled on snow. However recreational mushing is well practiced and a great form of healthy winter exercise for families.
Both competitive and recreational skiing are very popular and there are many variations to the sport - the main being listed below:-
Alpine or downhill skiing
This is the skiing you will find at most resorts. There will be schools and nursery slopes where you can learn the techniques to control the speed and direction of your descent. Ski lifts take you up the mountain to the marked slopes which are all graded
This is skiing in sparsely inhabited rural regions on unmarked slopes. As there are no skilifts it usually requires a hike beforehand and a snow camp may be necessary. It is important to have knowledge of the area and be aware that there is always the danger of an avalanche.
A form of back country skiing and a term more commonly used in Europe It is basically trekking from one place to another, rather like hiking but on snow. The skiers heels are free to allow a natural walking motion. Ski crampons can be used on steep icy slopes. There are various forms of ski touring which include - Nordic, Traditional Nordic, Backcountry Nordic, Telemark, Alpine Touring - each form have their own specialised equipment.
Cross Country Skiing
Skiing on snow covered roads, tracks and other low-angle terrain trails is often referred to as Cross country Skiing
Long steep slopes in dangerous terrain where a single mistake at the wrong moment can mean death would rightly be classed as extreme skiing!
Heliskiing involves using a helicopter to carry the skier up the mountain so that they can ski down through the deep untracked powder. It will involve some steep and extreme terrain along with crisscrossing through trees which can be very strenuous. You must therefore be fit before attempting heliskiing and able to ski on the advanced runs. Normally you are lead by a guide who is able to give good advice and in a day you can expect 6-12 hili lifts. Understandable Heliskiing is becoming very popular throughout the world.
Snowboarding began in the United States in the 1960's and was thought by skiers as a fad and not to be taken seriously. However the sport grew fast and in 1985 the first world cup was held in Zürs , Austria and it was made an Olympic discipline in 1995. Now at almost all ski resorts you will find good quality instruction from certified snowboard instructors.
Although snowboarding obviously has similarities to skiing, it is influenced by skateboarding and surfing. It was actually a surfer who, having slid down hills on cafeteria trays, first developed the snowboard. Now many of the terms for the various maneuvers are used in both skateboarding and snowboarding.
One major difference between skateboarding and snowboarding is that rider's feet are attached to the snowboard with bindings. However it is necessary to learn with one foot strapped into the board - very necessary to disembark from the lift successfully!
It is important to take a series of lessons if you are new to the sport. Lesson often begin with basic safety policies, stretching, and learning to fall, then progresses to snowboarding with one foot on the board - particularly skating, climbing and J-turns. Students then learn how to turn and stop with both feet in. Important beginner skills to learn are the falling leaf technique, side-slipping, and lift procedures.