# How Are Downhill Skis Measured? [Ultimate Guide!]

Downhill skiing is one of the most popular winter sports thanks to the European Alps. The slopes are steep and the view breathtaking, which makes it a bit more complicated to calculate how fast you will go when you ski down.

The difficulty level of a ski slope increases as it gets steeper. As a result, the amount of work you have to do to go down the mountain also increases. When you factor in how fast you will descend, the effort required to stay in place increases even more. Because human performance steadily decreases as fatigue sets in, the last thing you want to do is overdo it and crash on the slopes.

## The Metric System

One way of measuring skiing performance is using the metric system. The imperial system was originally used to rate roads and trackways, which is why it is used today to measure the distance you have driven. The metric system is based on the inverse of the height of the mountain you have ascended. For example, if you climbed Aiguille Merlette and the top of the mountain is 100 m, then the slope is 10. Although the heights of the mountains vary, the metric system remains the same. The one exception is the ski run known as the Supertrail, which is measured using the hectometric system.

## The Inverse System

It is also possible to calculate how fast you will go using the inverse system. In basic terms, the method involves finding the speed that provides you with a constant deceleration. To do this, simply find the gradient of the slope and multiply it by the distance you have traveled. For example, if you traveled 15 km and the gradient of the slope is 36 m per kilometer, then you will decelerate at the rate of 1 m per second. To put this in perspective, 1 m/s² is a brisk walk and it takes you only a few minutes to walk a kilometer. Thus, your total deceleration over the course of a 30-minute ski session will be 30 m/s², or 30 times 1 m/s², or 30 m/s³.

## The Impact Of Slope Type

The rate of speed you will achieve will depend on the type of slope you are on. There are three types of slopes: beginner, intermediate, and expert. Beginner slopes are the easiest and therefore, the fastest. They are designed for people with no previous experience and they are typically around 10%.

Intermediate slopes are next and they are a step up from beginner slopes. They are designed for intermediates with some experience and they range in speed from 10% to 18%.

Expert slopes are the steepest and therefore, the slowest. They are designed for expert skiers and they range from 18% to 25%.

## The Impact Of Gear

The gear you will use will also have a big impact on your skiing performance. Generally speaking, the faster you spin, the faster you go. High-speed skis, which are also called racing skis, are a great example of this. When you combine high speed with a steep slope, you get an exhilarating experience, which is what makes downhill skiing so appealing.

Racing skis came about because of the need to have faster and faster performances on the slopes. They also enable you to ascend steeper hills, because the smaller surfaces on the front end allow for more contact with the snow.

## The Impact Of Surface Type

The type of surface you are skiing on will also have an impact on your skiing performance. The smoother the surface, the faster you will go. You can have a similar effect by decreasing the weight of your ski equipment, which you will experience as increased speed.

However, the opposite is also true. If you are skiing on a very rough surface, then each individual bump will slow you down, because less friction means you have to apply more force to keep moving. If you are new to skiing, then start with a gradual build-up of surfaces and change to a firmer material as you gain experience.

## The Impact Of Skiing Mode

When you are skiing, you have two options: powder and classic. Powder skiing is the general term for skiing where you are buried in snow. When you are in powder, you are essentially skiing on a blanket of white. The deeper you go, the whiter the snow becomes, until eventually, you melt into it. Classic skiing, on the other hand, is when you are skiing on a groomed surface, which is why you will see ski trails and rails laid out in advance. Because you know what awaits you on classic slopes, you can get in some extra training in the off-season, which also helps improve your skiing experience.

## The Impact Of Experience

Even though you may have experience in other winter sports, each winter sport has its own set of rules and regulations, which you have to learn afresh. It is a good idea to take a course in skiing and other winter sports in order to have a better understanding of how each sport functions. Once you have completed a winter sport course, you will find it a lot easier to maneuver traffic and police officers, who often think you are a professional skier, because you will appear to be more familiar with the rules and regulations.

Taking a winter sport course will not make you an expert skier overnight, as you will still have to prove yourself on the slopes. However, it will certainly help you find your feet on the ice and snow.