Although the most popular type of skiing is downhill alpine skiing, there are plenty of different types of skiing to choose from. From cross country to freestyle, here are some of the different types of skiing on offer.

Alpine or downhill skiing

Of all the different types of skiing, this is the most popular. It’s the type of skiing where you get a chairlift or other mechanical means of getting to the top of the mountain, and ski down it. The kit is specialised for traveling downhill, with your boot fixed to the ski.

Cross-country skiing

Rather than using lifts, cross-country skiers ski up the mountains themselves! They don’t ski down mountains as steep as the ones in downhill skiing. Cross-country skiing is much more aerobically demanding and it’s cheaper as you don’t have to pay for lift passes. Cross-country skiing uses a soft boot rather than the hard ones used in downhill, and the heel is not attached to the ski. The skis are lightweight and designed for self-propelled travel over a variety of terrain, not just down hills.

Freestyle skiing

This type of skiing generally refers to turns, tricks and air. This is now a competitive sport and athletes compete in various disciplines including aerials (jumps), acro (choreographed routine), moguls (bumps on the slopes that are skied on and jumped over), big air (twists, spins and various positions in the air), and dual moguls (two competitors head-to-head on the moguls).


This isn’t really a type of skiing at all but we thought we’d mention it here anyway! Snowboarding involves standing on a single board rather than two skis. It’s great fun and worth checking out. Many people find it easier to learn to snowboard than they do to ski.

Off-piste skiing

This simply means skiing off the groomed piste on untouched snow. It requires fairly advanced skills and is potentially dangerous. However, it’s an unbelievable rush and we recommend getting lessons and giving it a go once you have mastered your intermediate skills.

Telemark Skiing

This is similar to Alpine, as skiers must make their way to the bottom of the mountain, but these daring athletes have skis that don’t attach to the heel. This allows much more flexibility for the skier.

Adaptive Skiing

This sport allows those with a physical disability to participate, such as paralympians, by using different adaptive equipment. This way, everyone can have a blast down the slopes. Most ski resorts will have facilities to for adaptive skiers, but make sure to double check in advance before embarking on a skiing holiday.