Get Inspired: ALPINE SKIING

Skiing has been helping humans conquer the white stuff ever since Norwegian hunters started using bits of wood strapped to their feet to chase their prey.

Five thousand years on, it is one of the most popular pastimes in the world.

Get involved

Getting involved is easy as there is a network of indoor snow centres and outdoor ski slopes across the UK. Snowsport England provides a handy club and slope finder,  as do Snowsport Wales  and Snowsport Scotland,  for those wanting to get started. For Snowsport in Northern Ireland the Ski Club of Northern Ireland has a Facebook page  with information.

Snowsport England run a national participation campaign called GO SKI GO BOARD  which offers all inclusive skiing (and snowboarding) sessions at an affordable price for both beginners and those wanting to get back into the sport or have had a go before.

British Ski and Snowboard (BSS) is the national governing body of skiing and snowboarding in the UK. BSS manages elite teams and also provides a pathway into those teams for those who want to compete at elite level.

Why is it good for you?

At its most basic, skiing offers a low-impact full-body workout. The whole body is involved with arms, core and legs receiving an equal workout. This ensures that no single muscle group is overstretched or stressed.

As you progress you will develop skiing as a cardiovascular workout. Estimates vary on how many calories can be burnt after an hour's skiing but, in line with running, the figure often quoted for an average individual is upwards of 500 calories per hour.

Alpine skiing has four different disciplines - downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom.The downhill is for speed freaks and the slalom for master turners - the combined provides an all-round test by putting the two together.

History

Alpine skiing's roots can be found in Norway and the sport gradually formed over the course of the late 19th Century.

The first national skiing competition in Norway took place in 1868. In the coming decades, the sport spread across the rest of Europe and to North America.

Alpine skiing became an Olympic discipline for the Games of 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, when both men and women competed, with Germany taking gold in both events.

In 1948 the combined event - downhill and slalom - was split into further separate races, followed by the addition of giant slalom, with the super giant slalom (or super-G) becoming the latest Olympic event in 1988.