Alpine skiers
Spring ski touring on Hardangervidda, Norway
Four groups of different ski types, from left to right:
1. Non-sidecut: cross-country, telemark and mountaineering 2. Parabolic
3. Twin-tip
4. Powder
Giant Slalom Ski Racer
Freestyle switch 720 mute grab
A ski jumper using the V-style
Cross country skiing—free-style or skate-skiing
Dry slope racing
A skier with a disability on a sit-ski, using two outriggers.

Use of skis to glide on snow.

- Skiing

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A piste in Serfaus, Austria
Pistes on Bald Mountain, Idaho

A piste is a marked ski run or path down a mountain for snow skiing, snowboarding, or other mountain sports.


Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes.

Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow
Extratropical cyclonic snowstorm, February 24, 2007—(Click for animation.)
Frontal snowsquall moving toward Boston, Massachusetts
Cold northwesterly wind over Lake Superior and Lake Michigan creating lake-effect snowfall
Freshly fallen snowflakes
An early classification of snowflakes by Israel Perkins Warren
An animation of seasonal snow changes, based on satellite imagery
New York City during a 2016 blizzard, which
 produced local wind gusts up to 42 mph and dropped 27.5 in of snow, breaking the city's one-day snowfall record.
Snow-covered trees in Kuusamo, Finland
Fresh snow beginning to metamorphose: The surface shows wind packing and sastrugi. In the foreground are hoar frost crystals, formed by refrozen water vapor emerging to the cold surface.
Firn—metamorphosed multi-year snow
Snow drifts forming around downwind obstructions
A powder snow avalanche
Snowmelt-induced flooding of the Red River of the North in 1997
Snow pit on the surface of a glacier, profiling snow properties where the snow becomes increasingly dense with depth as it metamorphoses towards ice
Snowfall and snowmelt are parts of the Earth's water cycle.
Traffic stranded in a 2011 Chicago snowstorm.
Winter conditions on Ontario Highway 401 in Toronto due to a snowsquall.
Deicing an aircraft during a snow event
Satellite view of the Indus River, showing snow in the Himalayas, which feeds it, and agricultural areas in Pakistan that draw on it for irrigation.
Extreme snow accumulation on building roofs
Icings resulting from meltwater at the bottom of the snow pack on the roof, flowing and refreezing at the eave as icicles and from leaking into the wall via an ice dam.
Alpine skiing.
Algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, that thrive in snow form red areas in the suncups on this snow surface
Arctic fox, a predator of smaller animals that live beneath the snow
Trucks plowing snow on a highway in Missouri
Airport snow-clearing operations include plowing and brushing
Swiss low-profile, train-mounted snowplow
Bivouac of Napoleon's Grande Armée, during the winter retreat from Moscow
Finnish ski troops during the invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union
Army vehicles coping with snow during the Battle of the Bulge of World War II.
Norwegian military preparations during the 2009 Cold Response exercise
Navy SEALs training for winter warfare at Mammoth Mountain, California.

Snow affects such human activities as transportation: creating the need for keeping roadways, wings, and windows clear; agriculture: providing water to crops and safeguarding livestock; sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmachine travel; and warfare.

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiers in western Norway.
Sami hunter using skis of unequal length—short for traction, long for gliding—and a single pole. Both were employed until c. 1900. (1673 woodcut)
German Reichswehr military patrol on skis training in the Giant Mountains, January 1932.
Michal Malák skate-skis at a qualifier for the Tour de Ski, 2007.
Arctic travelers, Fridtjov Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen at the camp of Frederick Jackson on Northbrook Island in 1896.
Ski touring in untracked terrain.
Groomed ski trails for cross-country in Thuringia, track-set for classic skiing at the sides and groomed for skate skiing in the center.
Swede Anna Haag with classic technique in the women's 10 km classic race at the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway.
Skiers employing step turns, while descending during a 2006 FIS World Cup Cross Country competition in Otepää, Estonia.
Pre-1940 ski gear in Oslo: bamboo poles, wooden skis, and cable bindings.
Cross-country ski equipment for skate-skiing (left) and classic-style skiing (right). Ski and pole lengths are different for each. Classic skis have a "grip zone" in the area under the binding.
Cross-country ski boot and standardized binding system for classic skiing. The skier clicks the toe of the boot into the binding and releases with the button in front of the boot.
An early depiction of a skier—a Sami woman or goddess hunting on skis by Olaus Magnus (1553).
Loyal retainers transporting Prince Haakon IV of Norway to safety on skis during the winter of 1206—1869 depiction by Knud Bergslien.
Olav V of Norway as crown-prince in 1939
A skate-skier in Gatineau Park, Quebec, a North American groomed-trail ski venue.
A recreational cross-country trail, groomed for classic skiing only, in Tyrol.
A blind cross-country skier with guide at a regional Ski for Light event.
Dog skijoring—dogs provide added propulsion to the cross-country skier.

Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain, rather than using ski lifts or other forms of assistance.

Ski pole

Anna Haag using poles for cross-country skiing
Wooden Cross Country ski poles, circa 1950.
Ski pole grip with adjustable strap
Note straight carbon-kevlar slalom poles with guards and small baskets

Ski poles, also referred to as poles (in North America), sticks (UK), or stocks (Australia), are used by skiers for balance and propulsion.


Narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow.

A shaped alpine ski with relatively little sidecut and classic camber: the tip and tail touch the snow while the midsection is in the air.
Old skis
Asymmetrical skis used by the Danish-Norwegian army in the 18th Century, long ski for the right leg, also shown in profile (far left).
Wooden skis with cable (kandahar) bindings and bamboo poles
Modern cross-country skis from synthetic materials, with poles and shoes.
Combination of cap design (upper part) and sidewall laminated design (lower part, white)
Four groups of different ski types, from left to right:

Originally intended as an aid to travel over snow, they are now mainly used recreationally in the sport of skiing.

Backcountry skiing

A set of backcountry ski runs in the Battle Range of the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Backcountry skiers skinning up in British Columbia
Backcountry skiers skinning up in Norway
Snowboarding in deep powder is technically easier than skiing and much faster to learn. One reason is that there is naturally no requirement to keep the skis parallel, one of the main difficulties when skiing in deep snow.
A deployed airbag.

Backcountry skiing (US), also called off-piste (Europe), alpine touring, or out-of-area, is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside a ski resort's boundaries.

International Ski Federation

The Crystal Globe trophy awarded by the FIS to the winner of the Ski Jumping World Cup

The Fédération internationale de ski et de snowboard (FIS; International Ski and Snowboard Federation) is the highest international governing body for skiing and snowboarding.

Winter sports

Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sports or non-competitive recreational activities which are played on snow or ice.

United States biathlete Jeremy Teela at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Ski jumping at Salpausselkä in Lahti, Finland in 2010
An East German bobsleigh in 1951, Oberhof track, Germany
A snowmobile tour at Yellowstone National Park.
Based on the number of participating athletes, bandy is the second most popular winter sport in the world for men
A postage stamp issued by East Germany in 1968 in commemoration of their first Winter Olympics as an independent country under a communist regime

Most are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding.

Ski warfare

Muscovite campaign against the Lithuanians, a painting by Sergei Ivanov (1903).
A Norwegian soldier on skis 1801.
Imperial Japanese Army ski troops on maneuveurs in Chishima Islands, circa 1940
Finnish ski troops in Northern Finland during the Winter War in January 1940.
German Gebirgsjäger with skis in 1942.
Skiing Birkebeiners.

Ski warfare is the use of ski-equipped troops in war.


Avalanche backpack, probe, shovel and a transceiver

Heli-skiing is off-trail, downhill skiing or snowboarding where the skier reaches the top of the mountain by helicopter, instead of a ski lift.