If sandboarding is somewhat already established – or at least, widely practiced – as a sport, sand skiing could very well become the next big thing after Swedish olympic freeskiers Jesper Tjäder and Emma Dahlström filmed themselves with a GoPro while skiing down Cerro Blanco, the world’s tallest dune located near Huacachina, Peru.
What is sand skiing
As the name suggests, sand-skiing is the practice of skiing on sand dunes or deserts. It can be practiced with regular ski gear such as ski poles, or with a cable ski setup while being carried by a vehicle, similar to waterskiing. It is different from sand dune surfing mainly in the type of equipment used – skis instead of sand surfing boards.
Can you ski on sand?
Skiing on sand is totally doable! Like sandboarding and sand sledding, you will likely need to apply sand wax to the bottom of your ski poles in order to reduce friction. You will damage your skis if you use them on dry sand without proper waxing.
Sand skiing vs snow skiing
There are two different ways you can practice sand skiing: sliding down a dune (sand dune skiing), or cable skiing across the land (desert skiing). The former is virtually the same as sandboarding, except practiced with skis. As long as your equipment is properly waxed, sliding on sand shouldn’t feel too different from sliding on snow – except that you won’t be wearing heavy winter clothes. Desert skiing with a rope will feel more similar to water skiing except that you won’t get wet, but rather covered in sand.
Where can you ski on sand dunes
The aforementioned Huacachina oasis in Peru is easily one of the best spots for sand skiing (and any sand related activity, really). That said, Namibia is quickly becoming one of the countries where sand sports are practiced the most – and it’s right there, in Swakopmund, that the current Guinness World Record holder for faster sand-skiing got his achievement. Other locations where sand skiing is practiced are Monte Kaolino in Germany, Fort Meade in Florida, and in the Kalahari desert in southern Africa.
Where to buy sand skis
Sand skiing is still a very new and niche activities and you will have a hard time finding sand skis for either rent or sale. You can make your own sand skis by adding a layer of Formica or similar laminate material at the bottom of an old pair of wooden skis (mind that this won’t prevent your skis from wearing out eventually, but it will make sliding much easier on sandy terrains). Sandboard wax still needs to be applied before every ride.