Skiing is done both recreationally and competitively. People travel a wide range of speeds while on skis, and this article aims to comprehensively break down the skiing speeds of an average, beginner, and expert skier, as well as provide context to how these speeds may vary.

Broadly, the average skiing speed of a recreational skier going downhill is around 10-20 mph, or 16-32 km/hr. That said, skiing speeds have been recorded from anywhere between 5mph (8km/hr) to 158mph (255 km/hr).

This post will break down how these skiing speeds vary across different abilities of skiers.

Table of Contents

downhill ski
me after bombing a run just shy of the world record, obviously

The Fastest Skiing Speed Ever Recorded

An Italian skier named Ivan Origone broke the record for the fastest speed ever recorded on skis in 2016 at Vars Ski Resort. Ivan clocked 158.4 mph (255 km/hr). This speed means he approached the speed of a free-fall.

Downhill Ski Competitions – Average Speed

Downhill or “alpine” skiing is done competitively across the globe.

At the amateur level, skiing speeds at downhill competitions tend to be around 40-50mph (64-80km/hr).

At the highest level, with olympic skiers, the average downhill skiing speeds are 75-90mph (120-145 km/hr) in the men’s division and 40-60mph (64-97km/hr) in the women’s division.

Recreational Skiers – Average Speed

Although I categorize myself as an expert skier, I have never done so competitively, so I’d put myself in this category. That said, recreational skiers can range from beginners, who clock less than 5mph on skis, to experts who can reach near-olympic speeds in the right conditions.

Average speeds tend to be between 10-20 mph.

I ski on 165cm skis and weigh 175 pounds, and I have maxed out around 60mph. My brother, another expert skier who has not skied in competitions has broken 70mph, so it’s safe to say a recreational skier can reach the same speeds that cars travel.

ski tracks
screenshot of my brother’s max speed on Ski Tracks

How to Ski Faster

In general, the consensus is that straightening your skis to parallel and aiming straight down the mountain will allow you to reach your max speeds. That said, there are nuances to skiing faster overall.

It’s important to note that most trails are not straight, and there are people that you share the mountain with. To handle the turns that are necessary, it’s important to learn how to carve effectively. Carving can help you accelerate out of your turns to maintain maximum speed.

Other factors, like ski length and bodyweight affect your speed. In general, the longer the skis and heavier the person, the faster they can travel.

This video by Stomp-It Tutorials is a great introduction to good practices when trying to ski for speed.

We also break this topic down in one of our articles: How to ski faster

How to Track Your Speed While Skiing

The most convenient way to track your speed while skiing is through a smart phone app. I’ve used both Strava and Ski Tracks for this, and they are both great ways to track your skiing.

You can track max speed, average speed, distance traveled, and more. Strava even has a social media feed where you can share your runs, and share other workouts like biking or running.

To recap, skiers can travel anywhere from 5-90mph, and record times are even higher. If you’ve tracked your speeds before, I’d love to hear how fast you have gone in the comments!

I'm Sean. Owner of MTBS&F and self-proclaimed ski/bike bum. Catch me on the trails on the weekends and working out during the week.

1 Comment

  1. Catch me going 10-20mph with the beginners!! I don’t need to be hitting the speed of a free fall! Great post

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