Downhill—Downhill skiing is the most basic type of alpine skiing where the foot is attached to the binding. This type of skiing is usually performed at lift-serviced ski resorts, which doesn't mean it's easy. Runs are often groomed, though more advanced skiers will enjoy hitting up moguls or hopping in and out of wooded areas. If you can score a lesson, that will be your best bet to master technique, which expert skiers make look easy.
Type of ski: All-mountain skis that will take you from groomed runs to a bit of fresh powder, too. All-mountain skis are perfect for beginners to advanced skiers, with the width under the foot varying depending on skill level.
All-mountain or Backcountry—Once you've mastered the groomers and are looking to track some fresh lines in newly laid powder, you'll want to venture into the backcountry or back bowls of major resorts. These areas often contain the hardest runs with deep powder where technical skills are necessary.
Type of ski: Powder skis are just that—skis specifically made to float on top of thick, fluffy snow. These skis, dubbed "fat skis," are wide on both ends and wide underfoot as well. They perform best on powder, but can still be managed on groomed runs.