Sand skiing: the new extreme sport

Are you so in love with the slopes that winter passes too quickly, leaving you with ski withdrawal symptoms long before you’re ready to call it quits? If you can’t get enough of skiing in winter, you may be interested in a relatively new phenomenon that is slowly spreading around the world: sand skiing.

What is sand skiing? It is simply the new extreme sport. From Palm Springs, California to Dubai, from Abu Dhab to Idaho, it’s the latest extreme fashion.

There are two types of sand skiing. Downhill and cross country, both of which more or less mirror their snow ski counterparts.

Downhill sand skiing involves finding a dune, hill, or mountain, climbing to the top, and skiing down it. It’s fun? Many, except for the part where you have to walk up the hill. You won’t find ski lifts, no trams, not even a rope tow. If you want to climb the hill, you have to climb it on your own. However, the lack of these niceties does not seem to have stopped newcomers from being drawn to the sport.

Sand cross-country skiing is all about skiing down a nice long scenic stretch of sand-covered land, strapping on your ski boots and skis, and getting down to business. Nothing builds muscle and builds endurance like cross-country skiing in the sand.

Whether you’re downhill skiing or cross country skiing, this is a fantastic workout. If you are not fit, this sport will definitely make you fit. If you’re already fit, sand skiing will keep you fit.

Sand skiing essentials

So what gear does a sand skier need? More or less the same as a snow skier. Of course, you will need skis, preferably old ones, as sand, even fine sand, is abrasive and can remove material from the running surface of the ski over time.

Sand blindness, like snow blindness, can cause temporary vision loss. To prevent this, you’ll need a good pair of UV-resistant sunglasses or goggles. You’ll also need ski poles to get through some of the denser sand areas.

Sand skiing is usually done in warmer environments, so dress accordingly. Wear light clothing and if the sun is intense, wear a hat to protect your head.

Finding the perfect sand

Snow skiers are very familiar with the different types of snow, for example, skiing on powder is a very different experience than skiing on packed snow. It may surprise you that sand skiers have similar experiences. Coarse sand provides a very different experience than fine sand. Wet sand is much more difficult to traverse than dry sand.

As you get deeper into sand skiing culture, you hear the terms “fast sand” and “slow sand.” Quick sand is great, you’ll feel like you’re sliding on glass. It’s almost effortless. Slow sand can be a grind, like walking through quicksand. And there are all kinds of gradients in between. Skiers looking for the perfect sand are much like the prototype surfer looking for the “perfect wave.”

So the skiers join in. You are no longer confined to the winter season. With sand skiing, not only can you enjoy your sport all year round, but you can enjoy it almost anywhere in the world.

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