Skiing is one of the world's oldest winter sports, second only to ice
skating in age. Skiing developed originally as a cross-country means of
transportation during winter months, only later developing into a
recreational activity. In this latter capacity, skiing is sometimes
thought of as the adult version of sledding.
Snowboarding is a more recent development and an alternative form of
skiing. Snowboarding is derivative of surfing, using a single board
rather than two independent skis. Snowboarding relies on the same
principles as surfing, as well, with the back foot acting as a rudder
when trying to perform turns. Snowboarding is more popular with
"extreme" athletes, as it often involves acrobatic stunts and tricks.
Basic skiing equipment requirements include two independent skis,
complementary ski boots, and ski poles. Ski designs vary depending upon
their intended use. For example, cross-country skis are longer and
thinner, whereas those who plan to engage in slalom skiing will want
shorter skis to help facilitate more pronounced turns. Ski poles are
predominantly for helping maintain balance, although they can also be
used to assist in turns and other maneuvers.
Snowboarding doesn't require ski poles since snowboarders use their own
weight and center of gravity for balance and control. Both sports do
require special boots, but they are often made standard to a particular
board or ski design. Replacement boots and hardware are always available.