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About Alpine Skiing

February 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 210

Alpine skiing is commonly known as downhill skiing. May be surprisingly, the first recorded alpine ski club was formed in Australia, in 1861. Today alpine skiing remains a hugely popular participatory and spectator sport. In this article we look deeper into its roots and the discipline itself.

Alpine skiing is immediately identifiable against the nordic technique by the presence on a binding at the heel of the ski boot or shoe. While nordic skiers wear a toe binding only, leaving the heel free to move, the alpine discipline requires the heel to be bound to the ski. Nordic styles such as cross country skiing benefit from a free heel, allowing the skier high levels of flexibility with which to cross the flat snowy terrain. Telemark skiing, another nordic discipline, has more heavy duty bindings though still only at the toe. Alpine skiing requires a binding at the toe and heel to keep the boot and foot square to the ski.

Alpine skiing became much more accessible and popular (not to mention less exhausting) with the invention of ski lifts. As alpine skiing is a downhill venture before lifts were invented a huge effort had to be made to get to a decent altitude in order to ski back down, only to have to repeat the process to continue. The thin mountain air makes this especially hard if the body struggles to acclimatise, making physical activity much harder. With this problem addressed the masses took up skiing and resorts were built in the most popular locations.

Competitive downhill skiing can be divided into the categories of racing and freestyle. Downhill racing will usually be made up of a speed race and a technical section. The speed event will normally consist of downhill race and super giant slalom run, the technical event compromising of a slalom and giant slalom. Slalom courses are designed to push the skier to make fast, tight turns, unlike the super giant slalom which allows much more room to manoeuvre. Modern freestyle competition may include aerial displays, moguls, skiercross and halfpipe skiing. Alpine skiing was introduced to the Winter Olympics in 1936.

Other types of competition include speed skiing, gelandesprung, powder 8, big mountain and extreme skiing. Speed skiing is literally that, going downhill in a straight line to achieve the maximum speed possible. Gelandesprung is a form of jumping over distance. Powder 8 is a sport for teams of two, who are scored in dynamic skiing, synchronization, roundness of turns, symmetry and descent lines.

National ski associations began springing up in 1896 in Russia, and in the following years also in Czechoslovakia, the US, Austria, Germany, Norway, Finland and Sweden. In 1910 the International Skiing Commission monitored the progress of competitive skiing round the world. Today the FIS, the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) governs competitive skiing. The FIS was founded in February 1924 in Chamonix, France by 14 member countries during the first Winter Olympic Games. Today membership stands at over 111 members.

Philip Loughran writes on a number of subjects from travel to law, automotive to education. For ski chalet holidays and ski chalets in Samoens he recommends Absolute Alpine.

Source: EzineArticles
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