Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the sport or recreation of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. It is characterized by the requirement for mechanical assistance getting to the top of the hill, since the equipment does not allow efficient walking or hiking, unlike cross-country skis which use free-heel bindings. It is typically practiced at ski resorts which provide services such as ski lifts, artificial snow making and grooming, first aid, and restaurants. Back-country skiers use alpine skiing equipment to ski off the marked pistes, either by leaving ski area boundaries, using specialized bindings and other equipment which allow free or locked heels for efficient hiking, or in some cases with the assistance of snowmobiles, helicopters or snowcats. Alpine skiing has been an event at the Winter Olympic Games since 1936.
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