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Skiing is a recreational activity and competitive sport in which the participant attaches skis to boots or shoes on the feet and uses them to travel on top of snow. Within the Olympics, there are many events for all forms of skiing.
- Main article: Alpine skiing
Also called downhill skiing, alpine skiing typically takes place at a ski resort or dry slope. It originated in the European Alps, and is characterized by fixed-heel bindings that attach at both the toe and the heel of the skier's boot. Alpine skiing is popular wherever the combination of snow, mountain slopes, and a sufficient tourist infrastructure can be built up, including parts of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, the South American Andes, and East Asia.
In competitive alpine skiing races four disciplines exist: slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom, and downhill. Slalom ski races have courses that require short tight turns, whereas giant-slalom races have courses which are set with more widely spaced turns. Super-giant slalom and downhill have few turns, the courses have gates spaced widely apart and skiers often reach 100 km/h.
- Main article: Freestyle skiing
Freestyle skiing is a form of skiing which originally encompassed three disciplines: aerials, moguls, and ski ballet. Today, freestyle skiing consists of aerial, moguls, skicross, boardercross, Ski half-pipe, Snowboard half-pipe and Slopestyle and have become part of the Olympics. Currently there are two main branches of freestyle skiing: one encompassing the more traditional events of moguls and aerials, and a newer branch often called new school, comprising events such as halfpipe, big air, slopestyle, and big mountain or free-skiing. Freeskiing shares characteristics with street skateboarding, BMX, and inline skating.
- Main article: Cross country skiing
Cross-country skiing (or XC skiing) is a form of ski touring in which participants propel themselves across snow-covered terrain using skis and poles. The activity is popular in many places with large snowfields, primarily Northern Europe, Canada, and Alaska. Cross-country skiing is the modern style of skiing that most resembles prehistoric skiing, particularly when done in the backcountry.
As a sport, cross-country skiing is one of the most difficult endurance sports, as its motions use every major muscle group and it (along with running, rowing and swimming) is one of the sports that burn the most calories per hour in execution.