Selecting appropriate ski equipment depends largely on what kind of skiing
you plan to do. The two primary types of skiing are Alpine skiing
and Nordic skiing, which are also known as downhill skiing and
cross-country skiing, respectively. Each type of skiing
requires different skis, bindings, ski boots and ski poles; their
headgear and clothing requirements are also quite different.
Downhill skiers generally travel faster than cross-country skiers, and
they wear form-fitting ski suits to minimize wind resistance.
Ski goggles protect their eyes from the cold wind and ski helmets provide
head protection, especially for serious skiers moving at top speeds.
A Skier Skis Down a Snow-covered Mountain Ski Slope
Various types of skis are used on downhill courses. Downhill skis are
built for stability at high speeds, are about 215 cm in length, and have
heel and toe bindings. The tip and tail of a downhill ski are wider
than the waist/center, and many downhill skis have metal edges that cut
into ice or packed snow, somewhat like ice skate blades. Slalom skis
are designed to tighten the turning radius and are generally about 160 cm
long. Telemark skis are fairly wide and only have toe
bindings. Twin-tip skis have upturned tips on both ends of the ski,
allowing for backward skiing and freestyle skiing maneuvers.
Cross-country skiing requires endurance, and serious Nordic skiers
often carry tents or hiking equipment on long treks. Cross-country
skiers wear layers or Lycra ski suits to maintain their correct body
temperature while engaging in this aerobic winter sport.
Nordic skis are designed for speed across fairly level surfaces; they are
about 200 cm long, about 5 cm wide, and employ only a toe binding.
Kick wax or grip wax tape is used on the kick zone to create traction
when weight is applied on the ski.
A Cross-Country Skier Skis in the Italian Alps
Most skiers, regardless of discipline, carry ski poles for additional
stability and to aid with forward motion. They also use glide wax
on the underside of their skis to melt the snow, creating a water layer
that allows the skier to glide more quickly. SkiEquipment.us
features a directory of ski shops and ski equipment manufacturers
where you can find good selections of Alpine skis and Nordic skis
as well as helmets, poles, and ski apparel.