This is What it Takes to Do Down Hill Skiing

By: Muna wa Wanjiru

The norms of the down hill skiing were formed by Sir Arnold Lun during the year 1921 British National Ski Championships. The downhill skiing resembles the discipline of alpine skiing. This particular term may be referred to any type of sport that involves a speedy descending from the hill slope. Snow Boarding Mountain biking and mini cycling are some of the examples for speedy descent from the hilly slope.

The downhill skiing requires high speed and involves greater risks. International racers tend to exceed the speeds of 130 Kmph (80 mph) and much more in sections of a certain downhill skiing course in Austria. This type of skiing requires competitors to have very high expertise technically and strength.

The starting point of this course is at the top of a mountain or near the top. This point is prepared specifically for the race and is not open to the public. In order to insure icy conditions throughout the duration of the race water or salt is spread through the course. This inhibits rutting, but the speed of the course increases.

Gates of the same colour are placed at great distances from each other but in sight of each of the other flag. The most famous downhill courses are very well set and do not change much every year. The Course is designed in such a way in order to challenge the best in skiing by introducing turns, steeps flats and jumps. The best-designed course has a fair mix of the above elements that provides thrill to the competitor and to its fans.

Equipments used in this sport is a bit different to the alpine skiing events. Skies are a little longer in order to provide stability at higher speeds and have rounded tips instead of sharp tips. As the racer stays in a tuck position the poles are bent so as to curve around the body of the skier. The poles also have aero-dynamic cone shaped baskets. For maximum safety the FIS increased the minimum side cut radius and the minimum ski lengths.

The racers in downhill skiing are allowed to inspect the course and have several practice runs before the actual race itself. They are also allowed to discuss about the course with their coaches and their teammates. The racers try and do everything to maintain aerodynamic position while racing and do not make unnecessary turns while negotiating the course.

The race is run as a single run and times are 90 seconds and 150 seconds for world cup courses. In order to meet international standards the course must be over 60 seconds in length. World Cups and Olympic medals have been decided by as little as fraction of seconds and ties are unheard off.

Race Officials place padding and safety netting are placed in those areas where they anticipate crashes. Despite all these precautions, the racers are well aware of the inherent risks in skiing as they can sustain serious injury, death while practising, or competing.

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