Explore the various snowsport disciplines…
Skiing and snowboarding are fantastic for your physical and mental health and wellbeing and can be enjoyed by everyone – no matter what your age or ability. Getting involved has never been easier, there are hundreds of slopes around the country where you can learn the basics or take your first steps into freestyle or competitive racing.
There are several snowsport disciplines in skiing including Alpine, Freestyle and Cross Country as well as roller-skiing which can be enjoyed all year round. Both skiing and snowboarding feature in the Winter Olympics and Paralympics and are enjoyed by over a million British people who take a snowsport holidays every winter!
Getting into Alpine skiing can be practised on most UK slopes and on freshly groomed mountain runs. Competitive Alpine skiing usually consists of four key disciplines: Slalom, Giant Slalom (GS), Super Giant Slalom (super-G) and Downhill, all of which are time-based events.
If you’re keen to get some airtime and get into freestyle, then this is for you! As well as throwing spins and flips off jumps, you can satisfy the speed demon inside you and race down a course full of banked turns, bumps and jumps! Freestyle is a discipline comprising aerials, moguls, cross, halfpipe, slopestyle and big air.
Nordic skiing encompasses cross-country skiing on snow on prepared tracks and off-track, ski jumping, Nordic combined (ski jumping and track skiing) and roller skiing.
A further branch is biathlon (skiing and shooting). Nordic skiing has a competitive side, with, at elite level, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships being a major event, taking place every second odd-number year between the Winter Olympics. At lower level come mass-participant, long-distance races (loppets) and a wide variety of less-formal races.
The non-competitive side can happen whenever and wherever there is snow enough to ski on, with tracks prepared in many resorts and off-track skiing happening anywhere, including, occasionally in England.
The term “Nordic skiing” is considered by some people to include telemarking, a free-heel form of downhill skiing. Telemarking is described, however, separately.
No matter what your disability, there are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at adaptive skiing and snowboarding. Advances in equipment in recent years has made the sport even more accessible for anyone who wants to have a go. There are several Snowsport England clubs that offer adaptive lessons and suitable facilities – many even have local disability skiing groups. Find your local club using our club finder below.
Alternatively, visit Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) for a list of available lessons. There are also lots of opportunities to head overseas with many groups and charities organising trips for disabled adults and children.
The Futures Project
This project encourages young people in the UK to get involved in snowsport activities and is a collaboration between British Ski & Snowboard, Snowsport England, Snowsport Scotland and Snowsport Wales. The project is aimed at creating a consistent learning environment to better develop snowsport skills in young people aged 6 to 18. Find out more here.
These are nationally recognised awards for skiing and snowboarding which have been developed by UK Governing Bodies and BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors).
The awards are open to everyone to enter, regardless of age or ability, and mark important milestones in your snowsport progress – from beginner to experts. Get started at your local club – find your local club using our club finder below.