Hisotrical Facts and Information About Skiing

The modern form of skiing has grown to the point where it is practiced both recreationally and competitively in nearly every mountainous region in the world. From the Himalayas to the Rockies, skiing has grown to be one of the widest-ranging sports in the world. But like many sports, skiing has its roots based in humble beginnings. It is a sport born out of the necessity for the world’s ancient snowbound people to traverse their surroundings quickly and efficiently.

The first signs of the existence of skiing are taken from Scandinavian rock carvings dated to more than 4,000 years ago. The word ski is derived from the old Norse word skio, which translates to “stick of wood.” The first skis evolved from early snowshoes which allowed the wearer to move across the surface of snowdrifts without sinking into the deep snow. But these snowshoes were not the sleek aluminum and fiberglass models that we find in sporting goods stores today; they were large and cumbersome, requiring a great amount of skill and effort to walk in them properly. By modeling thin wooden planks into a fashion that resembled sleigh runners, the ancient Norse found that not only would they be kept safely on top of the snow, but also they were able to move much faster and with less effort over the deep snowdrifts.

For the vast majority of the history of skiing, the activity largely resembled modern cross-country skiing. Until the 19th century, skiing was practiced as a means to traverse snowy terrain quickly without the need for cumbersome snowshoes or expensive sleds. In 1850, however, Norwegian skier Sondre Norheim developed a stronger ski binding that allowed skiers to travel at very fast speeds without the risk of being thrown off their skis. This invention and the development of shorter curved skis allowed Norheim to capture the title at the first-ever Norwegian downhill skiing competition. After several years and more fine-tuning had been made to Norheim’s original design, downhill skiing developed to the point where it became a highly respected and widely practiced sport across the world.

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