Are you so fond of the slopes that winter passes far too quickly, leaving you with withdrawal symptoms from skiing long before you are ready to give up? If you can’t get enough of winter skiing, you might be interested in a relatively new phenomenon that is slowly sweeping the world: sand skiing.
What is sand skiing? It’s quite simply the brand new extreme sport. From Palm Springs, California to Dubai, from Abu Dhab to Idaho, it’s the latest extreme craze.
There are two types of sand skiing. Downhill and cross-country skiing more or less mirror their snow skiing counterparts.
Alpine skiing on sand is about finding a dune, hill or mountain, climbing to the top, and descending it. Is it fun? A lot – except for the part where you have to climb the hill. You will not find ski lifts, trams, or even a cable. If you want to go up the hill, you have to climb it on your own. Nonetheless, the lack of these subtleties doesn’t seem to have stopped newcomers from being drawn to the sport.
Cross-country skiing on sand involves skiing finding a nice long stretch of land covered in sand, attaching ski boots and skis, and playing there. Nothing strengthens muscles and increases endurance like cross-country skiing on sand.
Whether you are downhill skiing or cross country skiing, this is fantastic exercise. If you are not in shape, this sport will definitely get you in shape. If you are already in shape, sand skiing will keep you in shape.
The essentials of sand skiing
So what equipment does a sand skier need? Pretty much the same as a snow skier. You will of course need skis, preferably older ones as sand, even fine sand, is an abrasive and over time can remove material from the ski’s running surface.
Sand blindness, like snow blindness, can cause temporary vision loss. To avoid this, you will need a good pair of sunglasses or UV resistant glasses. You’ll also need ski poles to get past some of the denser sand areas.
Sand skiing is typically done in warmer environments – so dress accordingly. Wear light clothing and if the sun is intense, wear a hat to protect your head.
Find the perfect sand
Snow skiers are very familiar with the different types of snow, for example powder skiing is a much different experience than packed snow skiing. It may surprise you that sand skiers have similar experiences. Coarse sand gives a much different experience from fine sand. Wet sand is much more difficult to cross than dry sand.
As you become more familiar with the culture of sand skiing, you will hear the terms “fast sand” and “slow sand”. Quick sand is awesome, it will feel like you’re sliding on glass. It’s almost effortless. Slow sand can be a grind, like squeezing through quicksand. And there are all kinds of gradients in between. Skiers looking for the perfect sand are a bit like the prototypical surfer looking for the “perfect wave”.
So the skiers rejoice. You are no longer confined to the winter season. With sand skiing, you can not only enjoy your sport all year round, you can enjoy it in almost any place in the world.