How Fast Do Skiers Go? Skiing Speeds of An Average Skier

Speed is one of the things that attracts people to skiing. From beginners to experts, ask any and they will tell you one of the thrills of skiing is speed but how fast do skiers go? We take a look at beginner, average and expert skiers so you can compare your skiing speed.

We’ll even get into how you can find out your skiing speed as well.

Let’s slide into it.

Downhill skiing
Downhill skiing. Photo Credit crowderchrome (Flickr CC)

How Fast Do Skiers Go? It Depends on A Lot of Factors

There isn’t one speed to point to for skiers. It depends on a bunch of different things. You are probably already thinking of a few of them but others, maybe not so much.

The factors that have a big influence on skiing speed include:

  • Length of skis
  • The last time the skis were waxed
  • The slope of the trail
  • Rider weight
  • Confidence of the skier
  • Technique

If you are trying to beat your personal best then you’ll have to play around with all the factors and work on your technique to reach new speeds. To know what is a fast speed, let’s look at the speed of some other skiers.

Recreational Skiing Vs Downhill Competitions: What is the Speed Difference?

downhill ski race
Ski racing. Photo Credit Michel (Flickr CC)

Downhill competitions often see skiers reaching speeds much higher than recreational skiers. In fact, downhill skiers can reach speeds up to 100 mph while recreational skiers often won’t go higher than 40 mph.

Just think about that. That is over 110 mph than some of the fastest recreational skiers. This is often attributable to a few factors.

Downhill skiers use longer skis, they wear special body suits and some even sport more aerodynamic helmets to get to those top speeds. For a recreational skier, none of that is necessary.

How Fast Does an Average Skier Go?

An average skier will generally ride between 20-40 mph when skiing. Compare this to a beginner and they are often in the 5-20 mph range, something we have seen when using GPS tracking ourselves.

Can an average skier get above 40 mph? They can if they bomb a hill and have the right gear but at those speeds, any mistake can be very detrimental.

How Can You Go Faster Skiing? Steps to Increase Your Speed

For skiers looking to set their own personal best speed records or just hit high speeds on the trails, good technique is a lot of the battle. Approach the day with a long pair of freshly waxed skis and head to your favorite steep.

Before you drop-in, keep these 4 key points in mind for a fast ski run.

1. Tucking

1st, tuck in tight so you reduce drag. You are going to want to squat into an aggressive position and get as aerodynamic as possible. A tighter tuck can shave seconds off any run and is a massive contributor to skiing speed.

2. Read the Terrain

For a fast run, you are going to want a well-groomed run. This also means no downhill skiers or obstacles. If you are going for pure speed then avoid any trails with turns.

3. Wearing the Right Clothes

If you are going for your personal speed record then even the clothes matter. Wear something tight-fitting that reduces drag. Don’t skip the goggles and opt for light poles.

4. Believe in Yourself

Skier gliding downhill
Skier gliding downhill. Photo Credit David Stewart (Flickr CC)

The difference between a record-setting run and an average skier’s speed can come down to confidence. Skiing above 40 mph is certainly flirting with danger on the slopes. Not only should you be able to control your speed but you should have confidence in your abilities if you are going for a top speed.

Applying those tips will make you a faster skier but just make sure you have a high enough skill level if you are out there on the trail trying to set speed records.

Too often I personally see skiers on trails where they think there is no downhill traffic or they don’t have enough control, trying to bomb a hill. If you are serious about a speed record, you’ll also want to track it.

Here’s how I track my skiing speed.

Want to Know Your Skiing Speed? Here’s How You Can

I’m usually on the lower end of an average rider speed if I’m with my kids and putting down a higher speed if I head off on my own to trails like Upper Kidderbrook or Upper Standard.

Final Thoughts on How Fast Skiers Go

Skiers speeds vary all over the place but average skiers stay in a pretty consistent range. What may seem fast to a beginner will seem slower as they spend more time on the trails and get more comfortable.

While it can be fun, remember to watch out and giveaway to the other people on the slopes!

Alec Wilson writes for Proper Peaks and lives near Claremont, VT. He hardly misses a weekend on the ski slopes in the winter. If there is snow, Alec’s skis are on for a go. Look out for his stickered-up helmet and you might just meet him on the trails.

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