The opportunity for winter sports is when the half of the world that sleeps during the summer wakes up. Skiing and snowboarding are sports that draw millions outside into the frigid cold and wind every weekend for months. Skiing tends to be a sport for the wealthy. Equipment, lift tickets, and lodging are often expensive. To cut down on lodging expenses families sometimes join together to rent out cabins by the week, therefore the slopes often have a familial atmosphere with services and activities oriented towards children and their parents.
There are two basic types of skiing: Nordic and alpine. Nordic was developed in Scandinavia is basically where the ski is not attached to the boat such as with cross-country skis and ski jumping. Alpine skiing is the kind you will find on the slopes and boats are attached to skis.
Snowboarding tends to be looked down upon in many of the top ski resorts around the world. Some resorts may only allow skiers, although this is becoming less and less common. While some resorts will not only accept snowboarders, but they will also encourage them by having additional boarding parks with ramps, half pipes, and jumps.
Both skiers and snowboarders use the same access to the tops of mountains. Chair lifts, operated by staff of each resort, sweep each skier and snowboarder to the top of the mountain or a midway point to where another lift can be reached. Gondolas, which can hold anywhere from two to fifty people, also run on many slopes.
In many resort areas you’ll find access to other sports, often one time Olympic training grounds, such as the luge, bob sled, ice skating, hockey, cross country skiing, and others.
Skiing - Beginners
The bunny hill is often the first ski or snowboard experience for the beginner. These small not too steep of hills are where instructors train first time skiers and boarders. Those that have only skied a couple of times or haven’t been on the slopes for years often start on these mild hills and move up to the intermediate slopes as the day goes on.
Ski schools and lessons with instructors are great for those who have never been on a slope or haven’t been in a long time. These experts will explain the ski process to beginners, teach them how to stop, how to get on and off the lift, the best ways to fall, and the best ways to pick them back up. Most beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders stick to the green or blue rated runs, which are located all over every mountain.
Skiing - Advanced
Advanced skiers and snowboarders can often ride the same mountains as beginners. Typically the most difficult terrain is near the top of the mountain or on steep side chutes. Black Diamonds are generally the most difficult runs on a mountain. Double black diamonds are even more difficult. Yet, even more difficult terrain does exist. Other rugged backcountry terrain, sometimes never been skied before, can be reached by hiking and heli-copter and guides. These are what the professionals and wealthy ski-junkies die for.