Are you so in love with the slopes that winter flies by much too fast leaving you with ski withdrawal symptoms long before you are ready to give it up? If you just can't get enough of winter skiing, you just might be interested in a relatively new phenomenon slowly sweeping the world - sand skiing.
What is sand skiing? It is 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 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 of it and skiing down it. Is it fun? Lots - except for the part where you have to climb up the hill. You'll find no ski lifts, no trams, not even a rope tow. If you want to get up the hill, you have to climb it on your own. Nevertheless, the lack of these niceties doesn't seem to have prevented newcomers from being drawn to the sport.
Cross country sand skiing involves skiing finding a nice long scenic stretch of sand covered land, strapping on the ski boots and skis and having at it. Nothing strengthens the muscles and increases stamina like cross country sand skiing.
Whether you do downhill or cross country sand skiing, this is fantastic exercise. If you're not in shape, this sport will definitely get you in shape. If you're already in shape, sand skiing will keep you fit.
The Essentials of Sand Skiing
So what equipment does a sand skier need? Pretty much the same as a snow skier. You'll of course need skis, preferable 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 a temporary vision loss. To prevent it, you'll need a good pair of UV resistant sunglasses or goggles. You'll also need ski poles to push past some of the denser spots of sand.
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 much different experience than skiing on packed snow. It may surprise you that sand skiers have similar experiences. Coarse sand gives a much different experience than fine sand. Wet sand is much harder to traverse than dry sand.
As you get more into the culture of sand skiing, you're hear the terms "fast sand" and "slow sand". Fast sand is great, you'll feel as though you're gliding on glass. It's almost effortless. Slow sand can be a grind, like slogging through quicksand. And there are all sorts of gradients in between. Skiers looking for perfect sand is much like the prototypical surfer looking for the "perfect wave".
So skiers rejoice. No longer are you confined to the winter season. With sand skiing, you can not only enjoy your sport year round, you can enjoy it in almost any place in the world.