Most of us have heard of skiing. During the winter, thousands of families, friends, and couples travel to ski resorts to hitting the slopes while making unforgettable memories with loved ones. For those who love the rush of skiing, or just want a challenge, they fly down the advanced runs at every ski resort they visit. But for thrill seekers, skiing down advanced trails, that are generally groomed and monitored, can begin to seem boring. That is why the most skilled and passionate skiers extreme ski. You may ask, “What is extreme skiing?” Well, if you want to find out the answer, along with everything else you need to know about extreme skiing, check out the list below!
1.) What is extreme skiing?
The basics and fundamentals of extreme skiing are the same as regular skiing. But, the conditions of extreme skiing are generally more strenuous and extreme than regular skiing. Slopes, which are designed for extreme skiing, are typically long and extremely steep. Also, extreme skiing terrain is usually located on an unpopular mountain.
2.) What is the history of extreme skiing?
In 1967 Sylvain Saudan, a Swiss skier was the first person to descend the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps. Prior to Saudan descending those slopes, people considered the Alps to be impossible to be able to ski on. Then, in the early 1970s, the French dubbed what Sylvain Saudan did as, ‘Le Ski Extreme’, aka extreme skiing.
Extreme skiing became popular in North America by “The Extreme 6”. The Extreme 6 was comprised of; Doug Coombs, Shane McConkey, Seth Morrison, Glen Plake, David Kraft, and Scot Schimdt. The Extreme 6 was coined since they were considered to be the top 6 extreme skiers in the world.
Finally, in the 1980s extreme skiing became extremely popular in the U.S. due to the movie Maltese Flamingo.
3.) What generally occurs on an extreme skiing trip?
The experience you have while extreme skiing can be different every time. Your experience is determined by the weather conditions, who you ski with, and the type of terrain. For example, heli-skiing can be involved in extreme skiing. Heli-skiing is when you travel by helicopter to a mountain. By traveling by a helicopter, you can access mountains that are more remote and unpopular.
Another popular thing that occurs while extreme skiing is skiing on a slope with a cliff at the end. If you happen to ski on a trail with a cliff at the end, then you will most likely base jump.
Other than heli-skiing and base jumping, expect to start at an extremely high altitude. You will ski faster than you ever have before, and will most likely come across turns, jibs, and rock formations that you would not come across on your typical trail. Also, the slope will most likely be at least two times longer than a typical ski resort slope. Along with the harder terrain, expect to be surrounded by some of the most gorgeous scenery that you have ever seen in your life.
Overall, the experience will be a lot more physically demanding than a regular skiing experience. But, it will also be one of, if not the most, exhilarating experience of your life!
4.) How does it differ from regular skiing?
Like previously stated, the conditions and terrain of extreme skiing are generally more strenuous and dangerous than regular skiing. Regular skiing is typically done at ski resort. Slopes located in ski resorts tend to be well groomed and monitored by advanced skiers. Those two aspects usually do no transfer to extreme skiing slopes.
Also, the location of skiing is different. If you are a beginner or intermediate skier, you most likely ski only at ski resorts. But, if you are looking to go extreme skiing, be prepared to ski on many mountains, which are not owned by ski resorts. Although extreme skiing is usually done separate from a ski resort, some ski resorts offer extreme slopes.
When skiing at a ski resort, you are typically surrounded by a ton of other people. But, when extreme skiing, it is usually just yourself, a guide (if one tagged along with you), and the group of people you brought along. So, prepared to have a more private skiing experience!
5.) Do I need to be in super good shape?
While anyone in any shape can extreme ski, it is advised to be in the best possible shape as possible! While skiing, your muscles can tense, or you could feel fatigue quickly. Thus, the more in shape you are, the easier time you will have navigating through the course.
Building strength and stamina takes time. It most definitely does not happen overnight! And extreme skiers tend to be stronger and in better shape than beginner and intermediate skiers. Thus, it is time to crank up the intensity of your workout!
Weight train by doing exercises like the Romanian Deadlift. The Romanian Deadlift will build strength in your hamstrings. With increased hamstring strength, your knee joints will stabilize, thus, you have less of a chance of getting an injury while skiing. To build more strength in your legs, try doing leg presses! If you want to fly down the slopes and be able to have full control while coming out of turns, then try squat jumping. Finally, build stamina in your quads and glutes by walking backward on a treadmill while slowly increasing the incline.
6.) Do I have to be an expert skier?
While anyone can descend an extreme slope, if they truly wish, it is advised that you should have expert skiing skills. Extreme skiing slopes are the hardest of the hard. While extreme skiing, anything is possible. There is a lot more danger than skiing at a ski resort.
The slope itself will be physically demanding. There could be environmental obstacles, such as; boulders, jagged turns, icy terrain, and steep slopes. All of these conditions could be difficult for a less experienced skier to successfully navigate.
Thus, if you are interested in extreme skiing, gain as much experience as possible before hitting an extreme slope. This means mastering the bunny hills at the beginner level, learning how to navigate longer and harder courses at the intermediate level, applying previous skills to more strenuous courses and maybe even preforming a few tricks at the advanced level, and finally, using all of your experience to think quickly while descending the fastest and hardest terrain at the expert level.
7.) How dangerous is extreme skiing?
I’ll be honest with you, extreme skiing is one of the most dangerous sports out there. When you are about to descend down an extreme slope, be aware that there are many dangers that could cause a severe injury and even death. When extreme skiing, sometimes making the wrong impulsive move could get you killed.
Some of the dangers of extreme skiing are; the unknown and ungroomed terrain, avalanches and other weather conditions, high falls, steep slopes, and concealed boulders. Also, be aware that while extreme skiing, you will descend the slope at a faster pace. The speed could cause you to miss a rock, which could cause you to fall and injure yourself. Finally, the extreme height of extreme skiing slopes tends to be dangerous because if you slip and fall, there is a strong chance of not surviving.
Another danger to think about is the possibility of having difficulty breathing. The high altitudes of some of the slopes could cause respiratory problems, which could interfere with your ability to descend the slope.
Although there are many dangers to extreme skiing, most sports have horrific risks and dangers. So, if you are truly passionate about skiing, especially extreme skiing, do not let the risks make you fearful of experiencing your passion.
8.) How can I start extreme skiing?
If you are thinking about becoming an extreme skier, make sure that you are comfortable with skiing, and that you find it a fun and exhilarating activity. If you have never been skiing before, find a friend who can teach you the basics, or enroll in a ski school. Ski resorts typically have classes that teach you the basics in under a day. But, if you are in it for the long run, enroll in one of the longer classes that last a week two. Thus, you will learn everything and beyond about the basics.
Do not expect to become an extreme skier overnight, because it will take a long time—maybe over a year. Do not become discouraged if it has been a year or two, and you still do not feel comfortable trying an extreme slope. Preparation takes time, and the worst thing you could do is attempt an extreme slope while feeling inadequate and unprepared.
Once you feel that you have excelled at advanced slopes, and you are ready to try an extreme slope, find someone who is an extreme skier. While this is not mandatory, like having a lot of ski experience, it will help you in the long run. If you have a friend who is an extreme skier, or you can find someone like an instructor (who you can spend a lot of time with), then you can find out information and stories of extreme slopes first hand. This could help you relate more to what you are about to experience, and lessen any anxiety or curiosity you have related to extreme skiing.
Also, remember to research and read about the safety precautions and risks of extreme skiing. This is extremely important. Knowing the risks, could help you identify danger quicker, which could save your life and other’s lives. Also, knowing the safety precautions could help you attend to a dangerous situation faster, which could also save your life or other’s lives.
Finally, research extreme skiing slopes around you, or ones you are interested in that you are willing to travel to. Once you find a slope, plan the trip for yourself, or grab a group of people to go along with you! Also, most of the time you can find a guide or two to descend the slope with you. This is extremely advised, especially for first time extreme skiers.
9.) What gear should I buy?
When purchasing gear for extreme skiing, make sure to purchase quality gear, aka the best of the best gear. It is better to spend hours researching the best gear, and shell out a few extra dollars to ensure your safety and mobility when hitting the slopes. You will obviously need the fundamental gear of boots, skis, poles, mask, goggles, jacket, pants, and gloves. You will also want to purchase protective gear, such as, back protection and a speed ski helmet. It is also advised to wear thermal clothes and waterproof gear.
Note: this is not a complete list, this is just a general overview. If you are interested in extreme skiing, please research a complete and more thorough list.
10.) How can I prepare for an extreme skiing trip?
If you feel you have enough experience to go extreme skiing, then begin by researching extreme skiing mountains and slopes. Once you have found a slope, research the specific dangers to that slope. Also, make sure that the weather will be okay, and the general terrain conditions will be adequate for when you visit.
After that, find a group of people to descend the mountain with you. This is optional, but it is advised to go with at least one other person. Also, it is advised that if it is your first time descending a certain extreme skiing slope, you should hire a guide or two to descend with you. So, if you are interested in skiing with a guide, make arrangements for that.
Before traveling to the slope, tell at least one other person your plan. This is simply for safety reasons. Tell the designated person where you are going, what you are doing, who you are going with, and when you plan to return home. Then, after you have descended the mountain, make sure to check in with that person, and let them know that you are okay.
11.) Despite all of the risks and dangers of extreme skiing, what are some of the positive things about extreme skiing?
While extreme skiing sure has its risks, it has a lot of benefits. Once you have descended your first extreme slope, you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Not to mention that while you are descending the mountain, you will experience an exhilaration and adrenaline rush that can be barely described in words. The views you will experience will be like no other. And the bonds you make with fellow extreme skiers will be unmatchable. Because even though people may look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them you’re an extreme skier, and the preparation for extreme skiing is the most physically and mentally demanding task you have ever completed, the experience of descending some of the world’s greatest creations is something you wouldn’t ever give up.