What Are the Top Snow & Ski Sports

What Are the Top Snow & Ski Sports?

Snowboarding and skiing often fall under the guise of extreme sports and although they are very much part of that entity, they have a lot of sub-categories of their own.

During the various winter sports and competitions, you will bear witness to a range of snow and ski skillsets. They are separated by events and most of the snowboarding and ski stars specialise in just one or two of them.

With the snowball effect (excuse the pun) of the sport and the exponential interest that is following extreme sports- it seems as though many people are now being lured into trying one of the sports. Some people prefer to simply make a holiday out of it, or try it at a local centre whilst others look to make a career out of their passion.

Here are some of the top snow and ski sports:

Cross Country Skiing

Skiing is a sport in its own right but the thing about extreme sports is that they are taken to the thrilling limitations and that means really pushing the boundaries. Instead of just leisurely skiing, we can now compete or spectate the sport of Cross Country Skiing. It’s likely that you already have an idea of what Cross Country possesses by the name.

What is Cross Country Skiing?

Ski lifts have become synonymous with skiing and are in-fact- quite iconic when it comes to the sport, but they are completely eliminated from this version of skiing. Cross Country skiing is an unaided sport where participants do not use lifts or other assistance. You have to make your own way across snow-covered terrain without the use of lifts. Although this can still be enjoyed as a hobby there are a number of competitions that incorporate this testing sport.

It is now a part of the FIS Championships, Ski Marathons and the Worldloppet Ski Federation. There are variables of the sport where one uses speed as a metric and others involve orienteering too.

  • No Ski Lift
  • Involves orienteering
  • Can be recreational or competitive

Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing is one of the most recognised codes of skiing, also known as Downhill Skiing. As simple as the concept may sound, travelling down a snow-covered slope is far from easy. There are many skills- and a lot of dangers in the competitive sport as many thrilling events register speeds of between 80 and 95 miles per hour.

What is Alpine Skiing?

Alpine Skiing combines a number of different types including downhill, freestyle aerials and half pipe.

Alpine Skiing makes use of markers and can be straight racing or even downhill. The events have fixed-heel bindings and it has been an event of the Olympics since 1936.

  • Alpine skiing is a sport that includes different aspects
  • It uses markers
  • Includes downhill

Ski Jumping

Ski Jumping was first ever played way back in 1808 and was introduced into the Winter Olympics in 1924. It has only recently introduced women’s ski jumping into the tournament. The sport is one that contrasts largely with the other ski events as this one is all about jumping a slope and seeing long they can jump for.

What is Ski Jumping?

The name is a giveaway, it skiing with the inclusion of a jump. In-fact, the jump is the operative move in this event. Competitors are expected travel at speed and then attempt to record the longest jump. The jump is timed and there are techniques used to try and maintain the jump for as long as possible.

The ramp is specially created for this sport and participants must jump from the ramp with their skis.

  • Uses a ramp
  • Judged on how long skiers get air
  • Part of different competitions including Winter Olympics

Freestyle Skiing

Again, this type of skiing is one that comprises of multiple disciplines. It is a bigger category of the sport that includes moguls, cross, half-pip and slope style events. Freestyle skiing has become that big that it now features in the Winter Olympics and even has its own famous event, FIS Championships.

What is Freestyle Skiing?

Freestyle is a form of skiing that allows skiers to incorporate skills that they have learned and then judges score their techniques. Freestyles can occur in a number of disciplines and that is why various events allow skiers to showcase their movements on different obstacles. Freestyle skiing can be performed on a slopestyle, half-pipe and Arial settings.

  • A group of different events
  • Judges score skills and tricks
  • Part of FIS


One of the most recognised snow sports has to be snowboarding. Again, snowboarding categorises the sport as a whole but with huge development in the last decades, there are now a number of snowboarding events and sports that take place at tournaments.

What is Snowboarding?

Snowboarding is a sport that has been around since the1920’s and is one of the foundations of winter sports around the world. It began with men strapping wooden planks to their feet. It goes without saying, that it has progressed somewhat since then.

Snowboarding describes the sport, being on a snowboard and testing your skills on snow-covered ground. But we also list many other parts of the sport below.

Snowboarding is the parent to a number of snow sports including:

  • Freeriding
  • Urban
  • Freestyle
  • Half Pipe
  • Racing

Snowboarding- Freeriding

Freeriding is a popular element of snowboarding and is where a lot of people wish to reach after year’s experience. Freeriding is what you make it, it can either be riding without care or trying to push the limits on the biggest peaks. Freeriders are sometimes at the peril of the mountain and this presents potential dangers such as avalanches.

Although it is a hard sport to involve in commercial or well-known events it does have its place in the Freeride World Tour. A specific tournament that allows freeride participants to compete.


Slopestyle is part of freeriding in many respects as it allows competitors to perform tricks on various obstacles. There are many jibs, boxes and jumps all available for the performer to utilize if they wish. The winner must pick the most difficult line in the terrain and have a consistent, smooth line of tricks.

Big Air

Similar to ski jumping, the competitors are expected to jump from a man-made ramp as high as they can. The objective is a little different to ski jumping as it allows athletes to perform tricks. Rather than staying in the air as long as possible, snow boarders perform tricks whilst in the air. Some competitions require the snowboarder to perform particular tricks in order to win the major prize.

Half Pipe

Half Pipe is not exclusive to snowboarding, it is an assembly that is also utilized for skateboarding and skiing. The event for snowboarding often takes place in the Winter Olympics and also has a place in many other world tournaments.

What is the Snowboarding Half Pipe Event?

The half pipe is a semi circular ditch dug into a mountain and is covered with snow. The ramp is made to a specific height and competitors then have their own time limit to perform tricks. At the end of each session they are then scored for their efforts.

The half-pipe is one of the most exciting events for many spectators as it all takes place in one spot and there are some huge snowboard stars that like to compete in this event.

Snowboard Racing

It’s exactly as you’d expect, it is a race for snowboarders. Snowboard racing takes place in a number of different ski and snowboard competitions across the globe.

This sport is one of many in the Winter Olympics and is also hosted by FIS Championships, LAAX Open and Winter Games. It is also a huge part of the X games. It is a sport with a huge following and is a sub-category of snowboarding itself.

Over time many fanatics have channelled their love towards this one area of the sport and athletes have began to specialise in just snowboard racing.

Nordic Combine

Nordic Combine should not be confused with Alpine Combine. This combination of skiing allows players to enjoy two aspects of the sport and gives athletes the chance to compete. Fun combinations and variations like this make it easy for the games to be exciting for both those competing and spectators alike.

What is the Nordic Combine?

The Nordic Combine is a combination of Cross Country Skiing and Ski Jumping. This method has been included in both Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic Combined World Cup.

As you can see, ski and snowboarding are huge codes that have a whole list of sports underneath them. The two sports are more like categories and the base for a list of other events. There are numerous sports that play in the Winter Games and Winter Olympics. Find the year’s tournaments to see what upcoming events these sports and games will be presented at.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *