Skiing is a mode of transport, recreational activity and competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).
Skiing has a history of almost five millennia. Although modern skiing has evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, it may have been practiced as early as 600 BC in what is now China.
Types of skiing
Also called downhill skiing, alpine skiing typically takes place on a piste at a ski resort. It is characterized by fixed-heel bindings that attach at both the toe and the heel of the skier's boot. Because it is difficult to walk in alpine equipment, ski lifts, including chairlifts, bring skiers up the slope. Backcountry skiing can be accessed by helicopter or snowcat. Facilities at resorts can include night skiing, après-ski, and glade skiing under the supervision of the ski patrol and the ski school. Alpine skiing branched off from the older Nordic skiing around the 1920s, when the advent of ski lifts meant that it was not necessary to walk any longer. Alpine equipment specialized to where it can only be used with the help of lifts.
The Nordic disciplines include cross-country skiing and ski jumping, which share in common the use of binding that attach at the toes of the skier's boots but not at the heels. Cross-country skiing may be practiced on groomed trails or in undeveloped backcountry areas.
Telemark skiing is a ski turning technique and FIS-sanctioned discipline. It is named after the Telemark region of Norway. Using equipment similar to nordic skiing, the ski bindings having the ski boot attached only at the toe. This allows the skier to raise his/her heel throughout the turn.