Home of Europe's beautiful land of lakes and mountains. If skiing in Europe is your dream or if you do it frequently, skiing in Switzerland is the ultimate destination. World class ski resorts are situated all over Switzerland.
Valais and Vaud
|Matterhorn ski paradise
||Matterhorn ski paradise
|Les portes du soleil
||Morgins, Champéry, Les Crosets
||Les portes du soleil
|Verbier - Les quatre vallées
||Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz
||Verbier - Les quatre vallées
||Belalp, Bettmeralp, Fiesch, Riederalp
||Crans, Barzettes, Montana, Aminona
||Grimentz, Zinal, Vercorin, St-Luc und Chandolin
||Saas Fee, Saas Balen, Saas Grund
||Leysin, Les Mosses, La Lecherette
||Lenzerheide, Valbella, Parpan, Churwalden, Lenz
||St. Moritz, Silvaplana, Sils Maria, Pontresina, Celerina, Zuoz
||Flims, Laax, Falera
||Samnaun, Ischgl (A)
||Disentis, Sedrun, Dieni
||Wildhaus, Unterwasser, Alt St. Johann
General Skiing Information
Snow skiing is a group of sports and activities holding in common the use of skis, devices which slide on snow and attach with ski bindings and ski boots to people's feet. Skiing sports differ from snowshoeing in that skis slide, and they differ from ice-skating, water skiing, and in-line skating by being performed on snow. Although snowboarding shares the general characteristics of skiing sports, it evolved from surfing and skateboarding and so is not considered a type of skiing.
Skiing can be grouped into two general categories. Nordic skiing is the oldest category and includes sport that evolved from skiing as done in Scandinavia. Nordic style ski bindings attach at the toes of the skier's ski boots, but not at the heels. Alpine skiing includes sports that evolved from skiing as done in the Alps. Alpine bindings attach at both the toe and the heel of ski boots. These two categories overlap with some sports potentially fitting into both. However, binding style and history indicate that each skiing sport is more one than the other. Some skiing sports such as Telemark skiing have elements of both categories, but its history in Telemark, Norway and free-heel binding style place Telemark skiing firmly in the Nordic category.
Skiing was originally a practical way of getting from one place to another in packed or crusted snow. In Norse Myth, skiing was invented by Skadi, the snowshoe goddess. The word "ski" entered the English language from Norwegian in 1890. Previous to that time, English speakers considered skiing to be a type of snowshoeing. In countries where loose snow dominates, the indigenous population developed snowshoes that did not slide rather than skis which do. Today's cross-country and most other types of Nordic skiing are the modern style reminiscent of ancient skiing.
The Norwegian Sondre Norheim from Morgedal is called the "father of modern skiing". In the 19th century, Norheim allegedly improved the bindings to better turn while skiing down hills. One form of skiing was called Slalom (sla låm, Norwegian dialect expression for a beginner's track) by Norheim and his contemporaries. The skiing techniques of 19th century Morgedal was reinvented as Telemark skiing or telemarking in the 1970s.
The invention of firmer bindings to anchor the skier's feet to the ski, attributed to Austrian Mathias Zdarsky, enabled the skier to turn more effectively and led to the development of Alpine, or Downhill, skiing.
Shortly thereafter, in the early 20th century, Austrian Hannes Schneider pioneered the idea of rotating the body to help steer the skis. Soon this Arlberg technique, named for his home region, spread around the world and helped make skiing a popular recreational activity.
Types of skiing
Skiing is a pastime which has brought together all cultures of today. Many different types of skiing are popular, especially in colder climates, and many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Ski Federation (FIS), and other sporting organizations.
Skiing is most visible to the public during the Winter Olympic Games where it is a major sport.
In skiing's traditional core regions in the snowy parts of Scandinavia, as well as in places such as Alaska, both recreational and competitive skiing is as likely to refer to the cross-country variants as to the internationally downhill variants.
For most people in the United States excluding Alaska, the term "skiing" refers to alpine skiing where one visits a ski resort, purchases a lift ticket, dons cold-weather clothing, skis, ski boots and ski poles, and embarks on a chairlift, gondola lift, or other means of mechanical uphill transport. Upon reaching the summit, the skier disembarks from the ski lift and travels downhill, propelled by gravity, usually along a marked route known as a piste, "run," "trail," or "slope". Most ski resorts use mechanical equipment to "groom," or pack down and smooth, the snow surface on certain ski trails. Grooming is normally associated with trails of lesser difficulty.
Alpine skiing developed in the Alps beginning in 1889. In Winterthur, Switzerland, Odd Kjelsberg may have been the first person in the Alps to try skiing. Previous to this time, the predominate Alpine winter sport had been tobogganing.
Skiing techniques are difficult to master, and accordingly there are ski schools that teach everything from the basics of turning and stopping safely to more advanced carving, racing, mogul or "bump" skiing and newer freestyle techniques. There are two primary types of downhill skiing -- "telemark" and "alpine."
For beginning skiers learning under a trained instructor, skiing speeds are low, the terrain is not steep and is often well-manicured, and the risks are relatively low. For extreme skiers, testing their expert abilities against ever more challenging terrain, the risks may be much higher.
Randonneé Skiing: Randonneé is also called off-piste, ski mountaineering, and Alpine touring. Off-piste skiing includes skiing in unmarked or unpatrolled areas either within the ski resort's boundaries or in the backcountry, frequently amongst trees ("glade skiing"), usually in pursuit of fresh fallen snow, known as powder.
Randonneé skiers typically use Alpine style skis and boots but with bindings that can be released at the heel for easier movement on flat and uphill terrain. For traveling up-hill randonneé skiers often use skins, strips of fabric temporarily glued to the bottoms of the skis.
Skiing or snowboarding outside a ski resort's boundaries, also known as Off-Site skiing, is illegal in some ski resorts, due to the danger of avalanches on the un-patrolled areas; or the cost of search-and-rescue for lost or overdue skiers. France and Canada are two of the few countries generally permitting this activity. In the United States, Off-Site skiing regulations vary by ski area; many ski resorts prohibit it and some simply post warning signs that skiers are leaving the patrolled ski area boundaries.
In all regions, randonneé skiing is perfectly legal, provided the skier has not skied from a designated ski area after buying a ticket. Some areas do allow departure from the ski area while on skis, others do not. Normally, skiing out of bounds results in loss of the lift ticket and banishment from the ski area. On the other hand, skiing in a closed area is illegal and likely to land a skier in jail.
However, lost or overdue backcountry travellers are usually held responsible for the cost of search-and-rescue service if uninsured. Backcountry skiers traveling in steep terrain prone to avalanches are encouraged to take avalanche training, travel with other experienced people, and carry special equipment for self-rescue. It is recommended that skiers make the local ski patrol aware of where they are going if they stray off-piste in case of avalanches or bad weather that could put skiers in danger.
Telemark Skiing: Telemark skiers use flexible ski boots, either leather or plastic, and do not have their heels locked to the skis. Alpine skiers use stiffer plastic, non-flexible boots and have their heels locked to the skis with releaseable bindings. The venue, speed and technical difficulty associated with the sport can lead to collisions, accidents, hypothermia and other injury or illness, occasionally including death. Regional Ski Patrol organizations, such as the National Ski Patrol in the U.S., exist as a voluntary organization to provide guidance, help, medical assistance and emergency rescue to those in need of it.
Back Country Skiing: Also called Nordic touring. In the Alps where skiers can easily ski from area to area, Randoneé and backcountry skiing are indistinguishable. In North America however, where chairlifts either aren't allowed or are impractical for touring, skiers typically use Nordic style equipment which is more suitable for skiing up-hill. The heels of the bindings always remain free, unlike Randoneé bindings which can be locked down.
Military Skiing: In addition to its role in recreation and sport, skiing is also used as a means of transport by the military, and many armies train troops for ski warfare. Ski troops played a key role in retaining Finnish independence from Russia during the Winter War, and from Germany during the Lapland War, although the use of ski troops was recorded by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in the 13th century. The sport of Biathlon was developed from military skiing patrols.
Alpine Freestyle: This kind of skiing could be called acrobatics on skis. Alpine freestyle was pioneered by Stein Ericson in 1962. It developed in the 1970s into a style called Hotdogging. More recently Alpine freestyle has evolved into the current style called Jib skiing or New freestyle, a new style of skiing that started in the late 1990s. In this type of skiing, skiers use jumps also called kickers,or rails to do urban style aerial tricks.
Nordic Skiing: Also called Cross-country skiing. World wide, Nordic skiing may be the most popular form of skiing since it does not require a specially ski area. Typically after donning appropriate clothing, the skier goes outside and skis in a local park or even on a snowy street. Nordic skiing is the oldest form of skiing and was developed in Scandinavia as a way of traveling in the winter.
Cross-Country Racing: Cross-country skiing takes its name from a type of ski race that is one third up, one third down, and one third flat. The name distinguishes it from other types of ski races and competition such as downhill racing, slalom racing, and Nordic jumping. Cross-country races can be either freestyle or classic. In freestyle racing, any technique is allowed as long as it is human powered and on skis. In a classic race, skating techniques are prohibited.
Nordic Jumping: Also called ski-flying and ski jumping. A competition in which skiers slide down a ramp called a jump and attempt to go the furthest before landing on the ground. This is done with Nordic style skis, meaning that the heels of boot and binding are detached from the ski. The skies are much longer and wider than other types of skis and jumping is typically done without ski-poles.
Kite skiing and para-skiing Skiing done while being pulled or carried by a parasail, hangglider, or kite.
Ski jøring Ski jøring is also called Euro-style mushing. Skiing while being pulled by an animal(s),typically dogs or horses, or by snowmachine. Typically dogs or horses are used.
Skiing for people with disabilities
Downhill skiing for people with disabilities is both a recreational pastime and a competitive sport open to those with any manner of cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Adaptations include the use of outriggers, ski tip retention devices, sit-skis like monoskis and bi-skis, brightly colored guide bibs, ski guides, and inter-skier communication systems or audible clues for blind skiers. Recreational skiing programs for people with disabilities exist at mountains across the globe. In the northeastern United States, Maine Handicapped Skiing is one of the largest, operating at Sunday River ski resort, Other New England resorts with adaptive skiing programs include: Loon Mountain, Waterville Valley, and Mount Sunapee. In the western part of the United States, the National Sports Center for the Disabled at Winter Park Resort near Denver, Colorado attracts both first-timers and world-class disabled athletes from Europe, Asia, and North America. Currently the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) sanction a number of regional, national, and international disabled skiing events, most notably a World Cup circuit, a Disabled Alpine Skiing World Championships, and the Paralympic Winter Games. Skiing for people with disabilities became popular after World War II with the return of injured veterans.
Types of skiing
* Alpine skiing (also known as downhill skiing)
* Disabled alpine skiing
* Extreme skiing
* Freestyle skiing
* Newschool skiing
* Speed skiing
* Ski mountaineering
* Alpine touring(Randonée)
* Cross-country skiing
* Backcountry skiing
* Disabled Nordic skiing
* Nordic combined
* Telemark skiing
* Ski jumping(ski-flying)
* Ski touring
* Stem techniques
o The Snowplough - (also known as the wedge) - see snowplough turn
o The Stem Christie
* Parallel turn
* Carve turn
* Telemark turn
* Pivot turn
* Jump turn
* Ski bindings
* Ski boots
* Ski poles with pole guards if a racer
* Ski wax depending on the condition and temperature
* Ski suit
* Ski helmet
* Gloves or mittens to keep hands warm
* Goggles or sunglasses to protect eyes from harm.
* Fleece top or sweater; the mid-layer or insulating garment.
* Parka, anorak, or shell.
* Thermal underwear and ski socks.
* pants or salopettes.
* Specialized Alpine touring equipment
* Face Mask to protect from wind
* Hand Warmers
* Under Armour
* If a Racer-- a race suit
* Winter Olympic Games
* The Honda Ski Tour
* Winter Paralympic Games
* Four Hills Tournament
* Winter X Games
* American Birkebeiner
* Tour of Anchorage
* Alpine Skiing World Cup
* Alpine World Skiing Championships
* Giant slalom
* Super Giant Slalom
* Alpine skiing combined
* Speed Skiing
* Nordic combined
* Ski jumping
* Cross-country skiing
* International Biathlon Union (IBU)
* International Free Skiers Association (IFSA)
* International Ski Federation (FIS)
* International Ski Instructors Association (ISIA)
* International Skiing History Association (ISHA)
* Iran Ski Federation
* US National Ski Hall of Fame
* Professional Ski Instructors of America
* Swiss Ski Association (in French and German)
* British Association of Snowsport Instructors
* Ski Club of Great Britain
* United States Ski and Snowboard Association
* Croatian Ski Association / Hrvatski skijaški savez (HSS)
* National Ski Patrol
* Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance
* Alpine Canada Alpin
* U.S. Ski Team
* U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association