The Awesome Heaven Of Skiing

The Awesome Heaven Of Skiing
You’ve been there. You know you need more exercise and you are going to do it this time. You will have no more failed attempts to get yourself in shape. But you still must choose the form of exercise to do. You think to yourself that it would be nice to have a program that can be done inside or outside and year-round. Besides that, you would like a program that does not wear you out but will still work all muscles the in your body.

But wait! This sounds just like skiing! Not only that, there are also many types of skiing. You’ve seen it: folks riding a chairlift, hopping off, turning and gliding downhill. They’re all bundled up in their ski outfits. Some crash and tumble one or more times before they reach the bottom. Their skis are raised cockeyed and their face is blasted by a freezing wind.

The downhill skier is the one that mostly comes to mind when someone mentions skiing. The most popular places we hear of where the world travelers and famous people ski are The Alps, Aspen, Telluride and others.

We all are excited that skiing has become a wide open sport that many folks can enjoy all year and benefit from it physically too. It is a beautiful sport to keep your heart healthy.

These ski areas usually have chairlifts that lift you to the top to descend down extreme and not too extreme slopes. Snow can either be actual or man-made. No need to worry about getting cold as you will get warm as your activity increases.

The sport is rather easy once you get used to it. However day one is no walk in the park. Do not be surprised if you tumble quite often. It would be wise to take ski lessons and do not be surprised if you find downhill skiing to be rather expensive. When estimating the cost of a ski trip, one must consider the price of lift tickets, costs for ski site trips, renting or buying the skis, and the ski clothing costs along with sunglasses. However you probably won’t mind the cost once you experience the thrills and fun of skiing – all after you learn to ski of course.

Maybe you would prefer cross-country skiing. This is much more strenuous then with downhill skiing. You have no assistance outside of your own in this type of skiing. You cannot get uphill by a chairlift because there are none. However you probably will not tumble down mountains as steep as with downhill skiing. The cost is much lower compared to downhill skiing. You can obtain trail passes and rent the skis at much lower prices. More than likely you will not need any lessons and if you do they will not cost as much as downhill skiing lessons either.

A type of cross-country skiing that needs a different sort of skis is known as “skate.” While skis make this type of skiing much easier, you can also “skate” with traditional skates. You gain speed by doing the same actual movements as those of ice skating. The learning curve is not too steep however you must realize that it is tougher than with traditional cross-country skiing and much more physically challenging. You also need trails broader than with cross-country in order to really enjoy this type of skiing.

Then for those who like thrills, there is a type of skiing in which you can fly into the air from jump slopes prepared exactly for doing just that. Your endurance and flexibility will be tested on this one. This type of skiing will definitely put a pinch on your finances just as will alpine skiing. Alpine skiing is a type of skiing that allows much faster runs with fewer twisted courses.

Snowboarding is known by the skier having one wide ski without poles and it reminds us of surfing. There is also a type known as ski boarding which has skis used without poles that are shorter and broader. The ski boarder experiences some of the same thrills as with in-line roller skating or ice skating. It is much easer to pick up this type of skiing than the traditional types because of a ski board’s maneuverability.

It is apparant that there is a type of skiing for everyone to enjoy. If you do not like to be in the cold then cross-country skiing is probably for you. If you like leaping into the air and hitting the slope with great impact and speed then ski jumping is probably for you. But be smart about it: invest in some lessons.

Yvonne Volante, the author, is a big fan of skiing and writes for, which is the premier skiing resource on the internet. You can see all of the articles over at

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Ski Boot Heaven

Ski Boot Heaven

Here’s an article to start your ski season off early about ski boots and how to get them fitted properly.

Of all the equipment skiing requires ski boots may be the most important. Once you own the right pair of ski boots even an old pair of skis will act totally different (better behaved). The other important issue here is that if your boots don’t fit correctly you can reach a whole new level of being miserable and quickly. One last thing, if you travel, it’s a lot easier to put your boots in a boot bag and haul them along than adding a pair of skis to the luggage. If you are an advanced skier (and you probably are if you’re taking your boots with you :} ) it’s an easy thing to rent demo skis at any area. Demo skis are advanced models and cost a little more but are worth a few extra bucks.

Back to boots… here are a few tips that might help. Ski boot shells… the actual hard shell or outer boot… only come in whole sizes. So a 91/2 is actually a 9 shell. The difference is made up in the liner and the insole. As a result you should be sure you are up as far as you can in the fit as is possible. In my boots for example, I am nearly touching the front of the boot when I stand on a flat surface. When my skis are on I am forward enough to bring my foot back off the front of the boot. Now you may not want to push your fit that far and go for the extra ½ size,  just understand that the more the boot isolates lateral movement in your foot, the more it is doing it’s job. 

Boots made the transition from leather to plastic in the late 60″s, with Lange leading the way. As hard as it was you could break in leather but unless you are a very hard skier, you won’t really break in plastic shells. What you will break in is the flow in the liner of the boot. Flow is a high density foam that usually molds to your foot pretty well. If your boot shop doesn’t do it for you, take your new boots and heat them with a hairdryer… don’t burn them you should be able to put your hand inside to check without burning it. When the liner is good and warm strap, ’em on and simply walk around for 15 minutes with them on. Keep moving so the flow allows for the movement of your feet. You will end up with an immediate fit that otherwise would have taken a day or so of possibly uncomfortable skiing while the warmth of your foot broke down the foam. 

As a last thought, all of us walk a little bowed out or in with our stance. This is known as pronation or supination. The effect on your skiing is that the ski does not lay flat but rather rides up on it’s edge which in turn can cause you all sorts of issues you don’t want. Talk to your ski shop about ways to correct your stance with inserts and your skiing will improve dramatically. 

Have a great season!

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