Skis have been used for getting around in the mountains for thousands of years. However the modern sport of downhill alpine skiing and freestyle is only about a hundred years old, and was largely developed by ’mad’ British tourists. Now it is a very popular and well-developed sport and hundreds of thousands of us go abroad for skiing holidays every year. Once you’ve tried it you’ll be addicted to the exhilaration of speeding through beautiful mountain scenery in the crisp winter sunshine. Once you get more proficient why not develop you tricks and skills, freestyle skiing is the fasted growing skiing discipline.
Cross country is the oldest form of skiing. The sport developed from a form of transport. Today Cross country skiing is a fantastic form of physical exercise. Competitions range from 1 km to 100km. In the summer you can still take part in Cross-country skiing on dry land roller skis. This summer activity can be accessed throughout the UK at cycle tracks.
It is hard to say who actually "invented" the first snowboard. People would have always figured out how to slide down a hill on some sled, thus it would be unfair to point out one specific person, who came up with "the first" snowboard.
Dimitrije Milovich started making snowboards in 1969. After sliding down some hills on a cafeteria plate in College, he came up with the idea. His boards were based on surfboards combined with the way skiis work. In 1994 Snowboarding was declared as an Olympic Sport.
You don’t need to go abroad to learn to ski or snowboard. The UK is special in that we can practice 365 days a year, thanks to a network of artificial slopes. Most people are within 50 miles of at least one such facility.
Artificial slopes are not just used for learning the basics. There is an extensive programme of ski racing, freestyle, snowboard throughout the year (particularly in the summer!). The best racers are selected to join the English or British squads, with the ultimate goal being selection for the Olympics. The skiers pictured here honed their skills on artificial slopes in England.
If you want start competing, contact your local club. Most clubs have weekly training and take part in racing on artificial surfaces and on snow in the winter. To find your local club contact www.snowsportengland.org.uk
If you want to develop your skills and help train the skiers and snowboarders of the future why not take a coaching qualification. Qualifications can be gained in all disciplines and courses run regularly throughout the country.
Further information can be obtained by visiting their website: www.snowsportengland.org.uk
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