The fastest skiers in the world can reach speeds over 100 mph, but the average skier will only hit 10 to 30 mph. Multiple factors affect how fast you can go on skis, such as conditions, equipment, and skill.
I’m Christine, the founder of this blog and a lifelong skier. I love to go fast on my skis and have reached some pretty high speeds over the years. I’ve done some research to learn about how fast different types of skiers can go.
I’ll tell you how fast you can go on skis in this post. I’ll provide you with information that can impact speed on the snow and give you some average speeds you might be able to reach on the mountain.
Time to let it rip.
Downhill Skiing World Record
The fastest speed ever documented on skis occurred in 2016 when an Italian skier reached a top speed of 158.424 mph (254.958 kph). You can check out this world record-setting run in the video below.
Even in a car, this top speed is extremely fast, so you can only imagine what reaching it on skis would feel like! It’s pretty impressive to think that a skier can go this fast down the mountain. It’s also way faster than what the average skier can reach.
Average Skier Speeds
The world record run above is blazing fast, but it’s more than 3X as fast as what an average skier can do. Most skiers who visit the resort will go between 20-30 mph when zipping down runs.
If you are an experienced skier with a need for speed, you might be able to reach speeds of up to 50 or 60 mph. But again, beginners and intermediate skiers will only top out at 30 mph, maybe 40 mph.
What Affects Skier Speed?
Several factors can affect skier speed, and that’s why there is a pretty wide range of possible top speeds for the average skier.
It takes a high level of skill to go really fast on skis. You need to stay in control and be strong enough to keep your body in a tucked position to reach extremely high speeds. Advanced and expert skiers can go faster than beginner and intermediate skiers.
See this ski ability level chart to discover yours.
Snow conditions also affect how fast you can go. Hardpack and icy conditions will be faster than powder or packed powder conditions. The more fresh snow on the slope, the more friction there will be to slow you down.
The steeper the slope, the faster you can go. This is pretty obvious because gravity also plays a role in reaching higher speeds. You also need long runs to reach higher speeds because this gives you more time to build momentum.
Skiers who reach high speeds often, such as ski racers, will use skis that are built to go fast. These skis are generally long, stiff, and aggressive. They will be much faster than skis designed for powder, the terrain park, or average skiers.
How to Go Fast on Skis
If you want to go fast on your skis, you really need to keep safety in mind as a first consideration. Always ski in control and make sure that you don’t go super fast if you can’t slow down or react to the terrain around you.
Good form and technique can also help you go faster. You’ll want to limit your turns to be effective and efficient and be strong enough to stay in a tucked position for an extended period of time. Taking a ski lesson with a race instructor can teach you the basics of form for speed.
You also need to consider what type of skis you are using. All-mountain or freestyle skis won’t be as fast as racing-style skis, so if you want to go faster, you might need to consider getting new gear.
Going fast on your skis can be really fun. While you probably won’t get anywhere near a world record, you can still push yourself to learn proper form and technique to boost your top speeds. Just remember to be safe when you hit the throttle!