Skifree was an old windows game that came on lots of computers in the past. It was a fun, but totally pointless little game. You controlled some little guy as he skiid down a hill, jumping over trees and rocks, knocking ski bunnies and (unfortunately) snowboarders over, running over dogs, etc. You got points for jumps and tricks and stuff but lost points if you hit trees or yellow snow. There was also a slalom version and a downhill race version. After you went on for a while, a big yeti would come and eat you. If you avoided the first one, another one would come by soon; it was inevitable. It was easy to cheat for points and stuff, but it was sort of an amusing game if you were bored enough.

SkiFree, a computer game programmed in 1991 by Chris Pirih. SkiFree is a simple game developed for Microsoft's Windows 3.1, and to this day, I still find myself playing it to kill time. The game features a small man on skis who skis downhill in one of three modes of play; Slalom, Free Style, and Tree Slalom. The controls are very simple; move the mouse left to move left, right to move right. The farther that you move the mouse, the sharper the turn your character makes. Left clicking will make your him jump, and if you're already in the air, clicking will make him preform a flip or a stunt.

In Slalom mode, you have to pass a series of flags on the side that they designate. (I.e. if the flag has a left arrow, pass it on the left side.) For each flag that you pass on the wrong side, you are assessed a five second penalty. In Tree Slalom, the object is the same as in Slalom, except there are trees in the playing field that you must dodge. Free Style mode has you going downhill, trying to rack up as many points as possible by doing jumps and tricks.

While progressing downhill in any of the modes of play, you will encounter obsticles like trees, rocks, dogs, obnoxious snowboarders, and rookie skiers. There are also ramps, which you can use to launch yourself into the air for a chance to score lots of points in free sytle mode.

After you complete the event you compete in, you're shown your score compared to your previous scores for that event. In Slalom and Tree Slalom, you're given the time that it took to complete you're run, plus the time penalties, if any. In Free Style, you're showed your score compaired to your previous scores. After completing an event, you can progress downhill for fun hitting ramps and jumps for about one thousand meters until suddenly, a big, grey snowman runs after you, and eats you when it catches up. The snowman moves twice as fast as you do, so it is impossible to escape him.

SkiFree - By Chris Pirih. Copyright 1991 Microsoft. Version 1.0.

SkiFree was a little distraction that came in the "Best of Windows Entertainment Package", "BOWEP" for short (and probably what the name of the folder is on your computer). Since you've already got the idea of what happens in it from previous write ups, here's a detailed guide on every aspect of the game.

  • Your Appearance-
    You're a small, nearly-stickman skier. You sport a red toque and matching mittens. You also wear blue sunglasses, and what seems to be a blue vest covering a purple sweater. The ski boots you use are green, and the skis attached to them are yellow.

  • Control Methods-
    There are a number of control methods, all pretty much doing a pretty good job.
    • Numpad - Takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it can be very handy. 1 and 3 make you slowly ski down diagonally, while 2 sends you straight down. 4 and 6 rotate you left and right, respectively. They also make you walk left and right when you're fully rotated in that direction. 7 and 9 merely make you stop skiing and face left or right. 8 makes you walk back up the hill, veeeery slowly.
    • Arrow Keys - Not quite as handy as the Numpad, but easier to grasp. The left and right keys rotate you left and right, as always, down makes you go down straight, and up makes you walk up. As simple as that.
    • The mouse - Probably the best method of control. Just put the mouse in the direction you want to head, and you'll do so. This makes your turns far faster, and stopping very easy. The mouse works even better in unison with the arrow keys, since there is no way to move straight left, right or up with the mouse. It can get a little annoying, though, since as soon as you move the mouse, you start heading in that direction.

  • General Controls-
    Controls that stay constant throughout the game.
    • Left Clicking with the mouse makes you do a jump. If you're already in the air, you do a partial flip. Once again, there is a section devoted to the tricks of SkiFree below.
    • Pressing "F" makes you speed up. Note that you aren't REALLY going any faster; EVERYTHING is going faster. Look at your speed; You still only move at 25m/s. Press "F" again to slow down.
    • Pressing "S" is supposed to make you slow down. But honestly, I can't tell any difference. So whatever...
    • Pressing "Y" slowly moves you down, along the Y axis, no matter what position you are in.
    • Pressing "X" slowly moves you right along the X axis, no matter which position you are in. These controls were probably put in during the testing of the game, and then were forgotten and never removed.
    • While doing tricks, pressing any of the arrow keys will make you partially rotate in those directions. More on doing tricks later.
    • Pressing "F2" starts a new game. Pressing "F3" pauses the game.
    • While paused, pressing "T" will move the game one frame at a time. Handy at times, but pretty much cheating.

  • The Terrain-
    The various things you will come across going down the hill of SkiFree.
    • Small Evergreen - A small tree. If you hit it, you wipe out.
    • Large Evergreen - A large tree. The same as a small ever green.
    • Dead Evergreen - Same as a small evergreen. However, if you jump just before you are going to hit it, you fly over it, setting the tree on fire (you still wipe out, however).
    • Rock - If you hit it while going down, you wipe out. However, if you jump just before you hit it, you jump extra high. Handy if there aren't enough jumps around and you want to show off.
    • Jump - a rainbow colored bar which launches you upwards if you hit it. If you're going fast (Press "F") you go extra high and can do more tricks. More on tricks later. Most jumps are within the "Free Style" area.
    • Stump - Basically the same as a rock, but with a really strange feature; If you stand underneath it, then head up, you hit it and fall, apparantly destroying the stump and revealing a mushroom underneath. Just another strange feature, I guess.
    • Mogul - A single mogul. There are large and small varieties of these, both make you do a small jump.
    • Mogul group - A group of moguls. You slow down quite a bit if you run over one of these patches of moguls.
    • Chair lift chair - The chair of the chair lift! If you go off of anything that makes you jump and run into one, you'll wipe out in mid air and fall harshly to the ground. Occasionally, you'll see snowboarders jump out of it and start boarding down the hill. Strangely, if you stand directly under one (or perhaps a better word is "behind" one) while doing the "Free Style" run, your points begin to increase drastically.
    • Chair lift pole - You'll see one of these every so often. No special features here, just a big ol' pole that'll knock you over if you hit it.
    • Slalom signs - To properly go around these signs, go to the left of red signs and to the right of blue ones. If you fail to do this, 5 seconds are added to your time.

  • Moving Obstacles-
    A really rude way of saying "people".
    • Novice Skiers - These characters move incredibly slowly and share your love for red toques. If they hit any obstacle, they fall down and stay there. If you hit them, you fall down as well, making them slow, irritating and otherwise uninteresting.
    • Snowboarders - These snowboarders move quickly and in pretty much a straight line, although they do trail over to the sides. They move about as quickly as you do when at top speed (25m/s). They do little flips over any obstacle they hitting, making them look pretty cool. If they hit you, you fall, but the chances of that happening are pretty slim.
    • Dogs - Dogs run across the mountain to the right, in a fairly straight line. The best part (and only real reason they're in the game) is that if you hit them, they'll sometimes leave a puddle of urine in the snow. In fact, the urine even slows you down if you run over it. Unlike real life, in which case you'd jump up and start wiping your shoe off on the carpet.
    • The Yeti - Also known as "The Snowman" or "The Abominable Snowman". These guys are generally hated by everyone. You run into this character when you hit 2000 m. The first yeti is pretty easy to outrun, but you need to be certain that you're in fast mode (by pressing "F"). The second one is basically the same, only he chases you relentlessly. You then have to travel another 2000m and you wind up back at the top of the hill. (Why do I get the feeling you're really skiing on a giant snowball?) You can even redo the runs, racking up more and more points. There are a number of strategies in beating the Yeti, but they've been covered in a previous node.

  • The Score Box-
    For lack of a better name, the box in the top right corner of the screen.
    • Time- The time it's taken you to do either of the slalom runs. An extra 5 seconds is added on for every flag missed.
    • Dist- The distance down the hill you've traveled, in m (presumably meters... but it might be "monkey's tail lengths or something). When going down the Free Style run or either Slalom runs, the distance goes backwards, telling you how far until the end of the run. Some notable distances are...
      • 00 m - The very beginning
      • 540 m - The end of the slalom run
      • 1040 m - The ends of the Free Style and Tree slalom runs
      • 1999 m - One m before the Yeti will attack you...
      • 2000 m - Too late. (Note: Climbing back up to 1999 m or less will make the Yeti stop chasing you. Guess he's just territorial.)
    • Speed - Your speed in m/s. The top speed on ground is 25 m/s. The top speed while in the air is 37 m/s. While traveling backwards you can even achieve -4m/s.
    • Style - The style points you get in the Free Style mode. The system is fairly simple, and pulling off the tricks is fairly simple. The section devoted to these tricks is just below!

  • Tricks-
    Finally, the trick values. These are the "tricks" and other point giving methods while doing the "Free Style" run. (Note: The "points" I've listed here are "Points per frame", meaning the value increases that much each frame, unless otherwise noted.)
    (Sub-Note: You CAN use the mouse for every trick. For spins, move the mouse AROUND the actual skier. For flips, left click.)
    • Jumps, 1 point. Simply ramping off of a rainbow jump, rock, mogul or stump gives you a quick 1 point. You only get this point once per jump.
    • Spins, 2 points. Pressing left or right turns you to the left or right. Pressing left or right again turns you backwards. For each instant you're backwards, you get 2 points. Return to either the "turned to the side" position or the spread-eagle position to land.
    • The "And Your Little Dog, Too", 3 points. Hitting a dog will give you 3 points. Why do the dogs just bark and wag their tails when you run into them? We may never know.
    • Flips, 4 points. Pressing up, down, or left clicking makes you do a portion of a flip. For each instant you're in an inverted position you get 4 points. Be sure to return to the spread-eagle position to land.
    • "Chair Lifting", 6 points. The strangest way to accumulate points, standing beneath the chair lift is also the fastest way to do so. All you need to do is stand beneath a chair that is descending or ascending (ascending being the easiest way) and follow the chair. You get 6 points for each instant underneath the chair.
    • Back Scratcher, 8 points. The biggest "non-cheating" way to get points. When in the air, press left or right, then up. Your skier pulls his legs up under him, while turned sideways. In order to land this trick, you must AT LEAST press down before you land. You're then still sideways, but you land the trick perfectly. Other wise, press down then left or right (depending on which way you need to rotate to be facing forwards again).
      Thanks to haze for the site with the skiing info, but I'm still not 100% sure if this is the exact trick.
    • The "Only you can prevent forest fires", 16 points. A pretty awful way of showing kids that pyromania is wrong. If you set a dead tree on fire by trying to jump over it, you get 16 points. Jumping over it again and trying to burn your crotch doesn't work though. Nice try.
    • The "Big Jerk", 20 points. If you knock over a novice skier, you get a big 20 points. Crime does pay. This does take a little skill, however. You need to just slightly tap them, or get in their path. Otherwise, you end up falling too.
    • The "Mushroom Snatch", 101 points. A really very strange "easter egg" if you can call it that. After turning a stump into a mushroom, go back above it and do a jump off of it. You get 100 points for it being a mushroom and another 1 point for doing the jump. You only get 100 points per "Snatch".
    • Falling, -32 points. If you run into anything that causes you to fall, you lose 32 points. Failing to execute a jump doesn't seem to make you lose any points.
    • The "Eeeyech!!!", -48 points. When you run over some dog pee (or poo... There seems to be some controversy over the identity of the brownish stain) you lose 48 points.

I hope that after reading this lengthly guide you'll rush to open SkiFree and start playing, if only to make the dog pee.

Thanks goes to:
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/9448/skifree.html
Where you can also download this fine landmark in gaming history.

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