Downhill skiing

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A recreational activity and sport involving sliding down snow-covered hills with long, thin skis attached to each foot.

Downhill skiing evolved from cross-country skiing when ski lift infrastructure was developed at mountain resorts to tow skiiers back to the top of slopes, thus making it possible to repeatedly enjoy skiing down steep, long slopes that would be otherwise too tiring to climb up. Thus, the sport is popular wherever the combination of snow, mountain slopes, and a sufficient tourist infrastructure can be built up, including much of Europe, North America, and Japan.

The main technical challenges faced by skiiers are simply how to control the direction and speed of their descent. Typically, novice skiiers use a technique called the "snowplough" to turn and stop by pointing one or both skis inward, but more advanced skiiers use more difficult but more elegant and speedier methods. As skiiers gain confidence, they tackle steeper, longer and more uneven slopes at higher speeds.

Various downhill skiing competitions have developed, and elite competitive skiiers participate in the annual World Cup series, as well as the Winter Olympic Games which is held at four-yearly intervals in the years 2 years distant from the Summer Olympics (for instance, as of writing the next Winter Olympics will be in Salt Lake City in 2002).

Downhill skiing competition events include: