Test

Mountain Sports Specialist

Ski

  1. Home
  2. Ski

Alexis Pinturault became the first French skier of the third millennium to win the overall World Cup ski ranking in 2021, thus receiving the big crystal globe 24 years after Luc Alphand. Clément Noël took second place in the World Cup rankings for the third time in a row. The French are thus shining on the ski slopes , and it is a good opportunity to remember the history and evolution of this sport! Learn more

WHAT IS SKIING?

Skiing originally referred to the long skates used to glide over a surface, whatever the circumstances: it could be the skates of a seaplane landing on a pond, those of a water skier... and especially those of winter snow enthusiasts!

This word of Norwegian origin was quickly adopted in French not only to designate the object, but also to qualify the practice associated with this object: skiing is today a widely practised leisure activity, but also a competitive sport, or rather a series of competitive sports, ranging from the impressive all-schuss descents of the specialists to the incredible acrobatics performed in the past and filmed today by Candide Thovex.

WHERE DOES THIS SPORT COME FROM?

Archaeologists have found traces of the use of boards, the true ancestors of skiing, for winter travel as early as the Neolithic period in Scandinavia and in the Asian part of present-day Russia: rock engravings dating back more than ten thousand years show hunters clearly using skis, and remains of these primitive skis dating back more than six thousand years have indeed been discovered during excavations.

This utilitarian use of skiing has persisted in Scandinavia into the modern era. The first ski club with a recreational and sporting vocation was created in 1861 in Norway. The practice diversified and spread rapidly: ski touring evolved into the present-day cross-country skiing, with the adoption of the two poles, while Nordic skiing with its elegant telemark for turns quickly evolved into the faster Alpine skiing. The new sport spread to the Alps and quickly gained followers in Switzerland, France, Germany and Austria. The first competitions were held around 1900, the first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix in 1924 and the Skiing World Cup was established in 1967: the age-old mode of travel was to become a sport practised and watched in many countries.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT PRACTICES?

A ski resort in France is first and foremost designed for downhill skiing, with slopes of all levels, suitable for beginners as well as for downhill specialists.

Cross-country skiing and its more relaxed variant, ski touring, are now widely practised, particularly in mid-mountain resorts.

Freeride skiing, also known as off-piste skiing, offers an inimitable feeling of freedom, but with the need to have a good technical level to avoid taking undue risks.

Freestyle skiing, also known as acrobatic skiing, is extremely spectacular because of the tricks it allows the most experienced skiers to perform! Perhaps you have already seen some of their videos...

WHAT ARE THE EVOLUTIONS OF THIS SPORT AND ITS EQUIPMENT?

The diversification of skiing practices has been accompanied by the diversification of ski equipment: for each level and each ski discipline, there is adapted equipment! The evolution of technology has also made it possible to have high-performance and comfortable alpine ski equipment, far from the simple wooden boards used in the past! The weight of a pair of boards has gone down over the decades from three kilos to about eight hundred or nine hundred grams, a lightness that makes them much more manageable even for those who are not super-trained athletes. You can choose skis optimised for your favourite discipline or opt for the versatile all-mountain version for those who like to vary their powder experiences.

If you are used to skiing in France, buying skis will avoid the hassle and expense of renting a pair of skis for each trip. Choosing the right ski pack for your level and size will ensure that you have the right skis and bindings for the job. If you want to discover nature in complete freedom, opt for ski touring, a practice that does not require ski lifts!

Of course, the equipment you need for skiing is not limited to a pair of skis, either bought or rented: you also need all the associated accessories if you don't want to be caught out once the snow comes! Ski boots are the essential extension of your skisSki poles will allow you to get back on track in cross-country skiing or to work on pole planting if you are an alpine skier.

Ski goggles are essential to protect you from both the light and the wind, which are very intense at altitude: your eyes are particularly sensitive, and you need to protect them if you don't want to risk snow ophthalmia.

Men's ski gloves and women's ski gloves will protect your hands from frostbite, while giving you the precision you need.

And if you want to try freestyle skiing, don't forget to bring your action camera to immortalise your prowess and to protect yourself with a ski and snowboard helmet!