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Alpine Skiing

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    Alpine skiing developed as a way to ski down the wooded mountain sides of the Alps, and has diversified into several styles. It is now practiced internationally for recreation and in competition and is a major recreational activity in North America and Europe.

    The name alpine derives from the Alps, Puma evoSPEED 1.2 K FG Mora Naranja Púrpura 140107-010, but long before skiing was introduced to the Alps, Norwegians had skied fast down their own hills (see Skiing, Nordic). Norwegians, though, were used to their open, sloping highlands.When they visited the Alps in the late 19th century, they told their hosts that these mountains with their wooded and steep sides were no place to ski.Even so,Germans,Austrians,Swiss, Italians, and later French skiers persevered and attracted a following of wealthy enthusiasts who crossed passes and even climbed mountains on skis. Even before World War I, wealthy Europeans began to spend winter vacations in the mountains. People learned the Arlberg crouch, with a lift and swing of the body; Hannes Schneider’s Arlberg technique became standard. The rich also traveled to Murren, where Arnold Lunn (1888–1974) headed the development of the new alpine disciplines of downhill and slalom, originally intended to help mountaineers descend from peaks safely. From Schneider’s and Lunn’s ski schools, students dispersed around the globe, spreading the techniques they had learned to Australia, the United States, Japan, and India.

    During the 1920s, Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Hombres Oscuro Azul 131021-003, most of the mountainous countries of Europe realized that winter tourism offered vast new economic opportunities. Switzerland,with its stunning vistas, well-established health resorts, and summer tourist season, adapted easily.Germany popularized the Bavarian Alps successfully enough that the 1936 Olympic Games were staged at Garmisch- Partenkirchen. Only Austrians showed surprisingly little interest in accommodating the new sport.

    As World War II approached, the military in several countries sought to take advantage of their skiers’ skills. Mussolini and Hitler aimed for total control of skiing in their respective countries. The winners of the men’s and women’s alpine events in the 1936 Olympics were both Germans, seeming proof that the “new order” was fit enough to conquer the world. In Finland, skiers defended their homeland against the Soviets at the start of World War II, a deed that spurred the formation of the ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army. The Finnish ski defense was accomplished entirely by cross country skiers, though, and the men who joined the American 10th were virtually all alpine skiers. But it hardly mattered, since very little fighting was done on skis in World War II.

    After the war, Nike Air Zoom Flight The Glove SL Negro Púrpura 616772-111, alpine skiing became more popular, and wartime experiments with over-the-snow vehicles, cable lift construction, and strong, light metals and alloys were adapted to the slopes.Wooden skis gave way to more durable and faster metal skis, now designed specially for either downhill or slalom.Nylon and other new synthetic materials replaced cotton and wool in winter clothing—and at the same time created new opportunities for fashion designers. Some of today’s best-known destination resorts—Aspen, for example— were established during this period.With the rise of international air travel, once-elite alpine skiing was taken up by the middle classes as well.

    Downhill and slalom are the two principal alpine skiing events. Both originated in the idea that following the conquest of a mountain peak, an accomplished skier cut a track straight down the side of the mountain. These straight runs were possible above treeline, and up to the end of the 1920s, races were often called straight races. But once a skier reached the trees, straight running became impossible. Jordan Prime Fly Negro Oscuro Gris Cement Gris 599582-003. Out of this problem grew the slalom, which Lunn named for the Norwegian slalaam, a race that required turning around natural obstacles. Lunn defined the downhill and slalom tracks with flags, put a premium on speed, and from 1922 on, rules were published for alpine events. Downhill and slalom events for men and women became official in 1931,when they came under Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) jurisdiction, and have been part of the Olympic program both for men and women since 1936. Giant slalom, experimental as early as 1935,was sanctioned in 1972 and a Super-G in 1987. In giant slalom, the control gates for the course (the poles the skiers must go around in fast turns) are spaced farther apart than on a slalom course. Giant slalom and Super-G combine elements of both downhill and slalom. Downhill is essentially a race down a mountain with control gates used only to check unsafe speeds or to guide racers around dangerous obstacles. Three other varieties of alpine skiing have developed: freestyle, speed skiing, and snowboarding. The FIS governs international skiing and now has committees working on these once marginal techniques. Nike Hypervenom Phantom FG Botas Fue Rojo 140107-025. Freestyle skiing comprises two disciplines: mogul skiing and aerials. Speed skiing began as the kilometre lance in 1931 in Switzerland, when Leo Gasperl achieved 136.319 kilometers (84.723 miles) per hour. After the war, speed skiing excited a flurry of interest. In the interest of safety, the FIS has now established a maximum speed of 229.3 kilometers (142.5 miles). Speed skiing appeals to only a handful of athletes and attracts few spectators.

    U.S. ski areas now vie with European alpine resorts in popularity. But the ease of global travel also had a negative effect on alpine skiing. The skier who skis three continents in one season will find the resorts everywhere much the same.


    I love skiing. I used to go to Aspen all the time when I was a kid. When I went to college I kind of dropped it though, there never seemed to be enough time. In law school I didn’t have a life whatsoever and now I don’t know if I will ever make it back to the slopes. I’d love to try the alpine resorts in Europe though. They seem very nice.

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