What Is Ski Flying? [Answered!]

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Skiing is one of the most popular winter sports worldwide. It is a popular sport in Europe and Canada. However, it is relatively new to the United States. In fact, prior to the 1940s, skiing was mostly restricted to a few European countries. Its popularity spread to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany during this time. It wasn’t until the 1960s that skiing truly took off in the U.S., thanks to the trails and the powder that lay on them.

Today, with the resurgence of winter sports and luxury brands like Luge, which was inspired by and named after the sport of luge, a combination of snowmobile and sledging,) becoming popular, skiing has experienced a revival. However, not all versions of skiing are created equal. While some are just for fun, others are a lot more serious. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the different types of ski flying, how to identify them, and how to prepare yourself for the thrill of a lifetime on the slopes.

Types Of Ski Flying

There are four types of ski flying, and this article will introduce you to them. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the differences between them so you can accurately identify which type of ski flying you’re facing on the mountain.


Parallel ski flying, also known as direct drive, is the simplest and most common type of ski flying. With this technique, you are simply pushing your ski directly in front of you. While this may at first seem like a simple operation, keep in mind that you are now operating two vehicles at once. While one is pushing you forward, the other is bearing down on you. This makes it a little more difficult to control and puts you at a higher risk of tipping over. However, it is still a popular choice amongst beginner and intermediate skiers because it is the most basic form of ski flying and therefore the most accessible for anyone. The only real downside is that this technique is most effective at high speeds.


Diagonal ski flying, which was first made available to the general public in the 1950s, is named after the ski direction it follows. With this technique, you are turning your ski sideways while pushing it in front of you. This makes it easier to balance, as your skis are no longer directly ahead of you. However, you are still operating two vehicles at once, so keep that in mind. One important thing to note about this technique is that, unlike parallel skiing, you are supposed to lean into the turn. This will help you maintain your balance while turning.


Tandem ski flying is, as the name would suggest, when you are skiing with someone else. This is most commonly done with a ski partner, who is also acting as your guide, coach, or instructor. Tandem skiing can be a lot of fun, especially when practiced at a low speed on a gentle slope. However, this is often where the similarities between this technique and regular skiing end. One important thing to note about tandem ski flying is that you are supposed to let the person in front of you push you forward. In most cases, this will be your guide or instructor. However, in some regions, like the French Alps, you are free to push each other as hard as you can. This is often referred to as ‘solo-tandem’ skiing.


Frontward ski flying, also known as ski backwards or schussing, is the act of skiing with your face forward. With this technique, you are looking down at the trail in front of you, not at the mountain. This puts more pressure on your skis, since they have to act as a mirror for your face while you’re skiing. One important thing to note about this technique is that you are supposed to ski with your knees slightly bent. This will keep your skis straight and help you maintain control while turning and gliding. However, it is still a demanding technique, since you have to keep your eyes focused ahead.

How To Identify Them

As you become more experienced and familiar with various types of ski flying, you will learn to identify them based on certain features. Keep in mind that not all skiers will be able to do this, especially since not all will be familiar with all of them. Therefore, it is up to you to practice and learn to recognize the different types of ski flying. Here are some of the features that will help you identify them:

  • The style of the ski or snowboard
  • The shape of the ski or snowboard
  • How the skis are attached to your feet (Bindings)
  • The type of ski equipment you are using
  • The type of ski clothing you are wearing
  • The position of your skis on the snow (Placement)
  • Your speed (How fast or slow you are skiing)
  • The angle of the terrain (Where are you going)
  • The snow (How is it snowing/is it deep or shallow)
  • The wind (How is the wind behaving)
  • The temperature (How cold or hot is it)
  • The sun (Does it shine or does it stay hidden)
  • The terrain (Is it open or closed)
  • The ice (Has it formed or is it solid all the way through)
  • Whether or not you are carrying any extra luggage

Preparing For The Thrill And Agony Of A Ski-in/ski-out

One of the greatest things about skiing is the ability to ski-in/ski-out of any trail. This is due to the fact that it is often possible to park your vehicle on top of the mountain and then hike down to the lodge or restaurant. This is something that is not possible in other winter sports. It is rare to find a situation where you can’t access the slope from the parking lot or terrace of the lodge. This makes ski-in/ski-out an exciting option for those who live in areas where the terrain is difficult to reach. However, this convenience comes with a price. Once you have hiked down to the lodge, it is then time to either choose between restaurant food or lift ticket, or go back and forth between the two. This is not a fun proposition, and it can be exhausting to boot. This is why most seasoned skiers avoid going to the top of very large mountains. It’s just too exhausting to be able to go back and forth between the two all day long. Some people call this the vertical transportation overload syndrome.

The Downside Of Ski Flying

Apart from the thrill of a lifetime that comes with skiing, there are a number of risks and hazards that you have to be aware of. Here are some of the things you should know about:

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