Skiing. This winter sport has been around since sometime between 7000 and 8000 BCE. Many people believe that it was invented by the Sami. The Sami are Scandinavia’s isolated indigenous population during the middle ages. Skiing is now all over the globe and there are still many skiers and snowboarders who ski or board without knowing the amount of danger some features have. Although many features are fine to ski on. Some of these features are rail, bridge, knuckle, jump, natural jump, drops, rock drops, natural grind, moguls, pumps, ice, powder, and deep powder. These are just some of the features that you can find while skiing at a ski resort. Some more dangerous features are cornices, tree wells, snow bridges, stumps, and avalanches.
Rails. This feature can be found in most terrain parks in practically every skiing resort. It's a simple metal bar that the skier or snowboarder can grind. These are also usually waxed so that they stay slippery. Bridge. A bridge is a manmade feature that is made from fiberglass. They are to be considered an easy feature in the way that small kids can do them. Jumps. Jumps are also a manmade feature but they can also be found in a natural environment. Natural jumps are usually made from high-packed snow, rocks, trees, or snow on roofs. The knuckle. The knuckle is the part of the jump that has no visible take-off. These are really fun to hit but can also inflict injury if the person doesn’t have enough speed going into the jump before the knuckle. If the skier or snowboarder isn’t careful enough, these injuries can have a lasting effect. Pumps. This feature is usually found along some green trails to help any good rider get more speed on them by pumping. One place that you can find these is along the trail Why Not in Steamboat Colorado. Moguls. These are really fun if done correctly. Moguls are big bumps in the snow that let a skier or snowboarder ride through. The rider does have to be able to turn fast enough not to go over the top and generate too much speed. You can find these at almost any ski resort. Ice. This is something that you can stay away from because on ice, the rider can have little to no control in one direction. The same goes for speed. Drops. These are a typical feature that has a simple explanation, it’s a drop. A rider can go over this lifted part in the snow and drop however many inches or feet it is to the bottom, these can also be found in natural states. Natural drops are usually made from an ice overhang, a rock, and trees. Drops, depending on the height, need a soft landing for the rider to land in. Powder is usually a good place for the rider to land on. Power is just a name for light fluffy snow. However, deep powder can be a threat because it can hide snow bridges, ice patches, and stumps. Stumps is a tree stump that is not visible on the surface of the snow. If a skier gets a ski stuck on one, the person can dislocate their knee or hyper-extend something. The most dangerous thing that can happen to a skier is getting caught in an avalanche. An avalanche is a mass of snow moving at high speeds. Avalanches can snap massive Lodgepole Pines with ease. They can also bury a human in minutes. They form on a slope that is greater than thirty degrees. If a victim can be rescued within 18 minutes, the survival rate is greater than 91%. In burials that are 19 and 35 long, the survival rate drops to 34%. After one hour, only one in three victims buried in an avalanche is found alive. The most common causes of death are suffocation, wounds, and hypothermia.
Most of the resorts in Colorado don’t have to worry about crevasses. A crevasse is a deep open crack in a glacier. A snow bridge is a layer of snow over one of these crevasses or over a creek or river. In Colorado, there are 14 total glaciers. These glaciers are small compared to glaciers like Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. Mendenhall Glacier is 13.6 miles long. There are several other massive glaciers in Alaska and Canada. For example Tracy Arm Glacier at the end of the Tracy Arm Fjord. Most resorts in Colorado are somewhat low in elevation. The summit at Steamboat Springs is 10,568 feet above sea level. The Tallest ski resort in Colorado is Breckenridge with a total elevation of 12,998 feet. At this level, glaciers are prone to form at this elevation. The tallest ski resort in the world is Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Southwestern China's Yunnan Province or about 20 kilometers off Lijiang Ancient Town. This ski resort is located at a whopping elevation of 15,419 feet. The summit of the mountain itself is 18,360 feet.
Ski resorts can be found all over the world. With different elevations. These are some in North America with details. In British Columbia, Canada there are many different resorts in the territory. But the main ones are Whistler Blackcomb, Big White, Whitewater, Cypress, and Revelstoke. Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain are the two best-known. Either from mountain biking or because of the big name. Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America. There are over 200 marked runs between these two resorts. Whistler mountain has a cool feature called the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola which connects Whistler to Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler mountain has a 20% beginner run status, a 55% intermediate status, and a 25% advanced status for all mountain trials. There are a total of two terrain parks and 21 lifts, (including PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, two high-speed gondolas, two high-speed six-pack lifts, five high-speed quads lifts, two triple chairs, and eight surface lifts. The longest run is seven miles and is named Peak to Creek. Blackcomb Mountain has a 20% beginner status, a 50% intermediate status, and a 30% advanced status. For all mountain trials. There are three terrain parks, one superpipe, and one snocross track. There are a total of 14 lifts (including PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola) 2 high-speed gondolas, 6 high-speed quads lifts, one triple chair, and three surface lifts. The longest trail is Green Road down Easy Out. In the US you have Park City, Steamboat, Snowy Range, and many others. Park City, Utah. Park City is the biggest ski resort in the United States with over 330 trials and 7,300 skiable acres. Park City has an 8% beginner run status, a 42% intermediate status, and a 50% expert status. These stats tell that Park City isn’t a good mountain to learn how to ski on. There aren’t that many beginner-level trails at this resort. Steamboat. This ski resort is in Colorado and is about three hours west of Fort Collins. Steamboat has a total of 165 different runs. There are four terrain parks, two half pipes one of which is a super pipe, 14% are classified as beginner-level, 42% as intermediate, and 44% as advanced. There is also extreme terrain on Morningside Park, aka the backside. On the back side, there are many different runs. Most of them are blue or intermediate. This area also accumulates the most powder and deep powder. There are a few natural drops, manmade drops, jumps, and natural jumps on this side. Snowy Range is a small ski resort about 45 minutes away from Laramie, Wyoming. Snowy Range has 27 runs. There are 9 green runs, 17 blue runs, 9 black diamonds, and one terrain park. Snowy Range may not be a big ski resort but it's great for beginners. The blue runs aren’t that long but for people who are learning how to ski or snowboard it’s a perfect place to start learning.
Now with all of these different resorts all around the world you are going to need to know what ski to buy and bring with you. There are many different types of skis. For example, race skis, twin tip, ski cross skis, backcountry/ alpine touring, and split board. Race skis. These skis have a fairly sharp edge to help them grip the snow on a hard turn. These skis can also be oriented to be used in ski cross races. Twin-tip skis. These skis, as the name implies, have two tips. One in the front and one in the back. Now, these skis can be flexible if they are more park oriented. Park-oriented skis are twin-tip skis that are more flexible than usual twip-tip skis. Ski cross skis. These skis have a really sharp edge to help them grip some of the 45-degree angled turns. These skis are also slightly skinnier than race skis to help them maintain control at high speeds. Backcountry/ alpine touring skis. These skis require you to wear skins on the bottom to help you grip the snow. These skis have a smooth bottom making it hard to walk up a hill. Skins help you grip the snow so that you can easily climb up a slope without slipping back down. Many ski mountaineers use alpine touring skis because of the lock-in feature that they have for the boot. Also because alpine skis need a ski boot and not a cross-country one, allows them to better maneuver the ski. Split boards are a type of ski made for snowboarders. These can act like skis for going uphill. Split boards are very similar to alpine skis because they also have a smooth bottom, meaning you can only go uphill with skins. All and all skiing is a great way to pass the time during the winter months. As long as you know where to go, how to ski, and what to look out for.
Nate Meeter is a junior at Poudre High school. He mountain bikes, skis, plays baseball, and tennis for fun and for a living. But mainly for fun. This is his first year on the Poudre Press. He also runs a blog that you can check out here!