31 May 2004

Run out of snow? No problem. Strap on some caterpillar tracks and join the hardy perennials who don't wilt in the summer months, hitting the slopes whatever the conditions. The grass skiing season is underway in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Balkans, and its popularity is growing rapidly in China, Japan and even Iran.

Training and experience all summer
Invented in Germany in 1966, grass skiing was introduced to the Vosges region of France in 1968 by Richard Martin and spread rapidly throughout the Europe. It was mainly a competitive sport to begin with, however over recent years grass skiing has become increasingly accessible to the leisure skiing public.

Anyone can grass ski, and previous experience on snow is not a necessity. It's more accessible, as you don't need snow, and a perfect way to experience alpine skiing without the travel or expense, or to keep yourself in training over the summer months. It's a great way to learn slalom racing, although it can hurt a bit more when you fall over!

Technical equipment
The main models are tracked, and only the Roll-Racer and Skinov makes are currently directly available in Europe. The latest models are fast, precise, and require grassy, well-prepared slopes. It's a competitor's ski, for lovers of speed, but which can equally well be used by beginners; each model exists in different sizes, adapted for skiers of all standards. Further info about grass skiing around Europe and a comprehensive list of dates is available on the Grasski website.

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