“Geek Out” The history of Skiing

The History of Skiing

How it Became What we Know it as

If you do not know what skiing is, or are unsure of its exact details, go to my other story, explaining what skiing is!

Early Skiing

Although alpine skiing wasn’t publicized as a sport until the 18th century, cross-country, involving bursts of downhill skiing has been around for what is estimated to be about 10 millennia (ten thousand years) The very first archeological evidence of skiing was found all the way back in 8000 BC, in what is now northern china, but is still debated between scientists of whether the two planks covered in horsehair that were discovered were really “ski’s”, and if they were even used for skiing. Cave drawings found in Central Asia suggest that man used ski’s during the last ice age. The next most early and guaranteed to be a pair of ski’s dates back to 6000 BC in Lake Sindor, Russia, but was completely utilitarian and skiing back then was used for mobility, to get to places more efficiently in the snow-covered alpines and planes, and hunting.

 Imagine gliding as fast as you can while holding a spear or bow and arrow and trying to chase down and kill a wild animal, which if you aren’t fast enough will easily get away. Skiing was used for hunting because when you walk in the snow, it is both loud and will scare your pray away, and it is hard to be fast in the snow. The ski’s back then were found to be even wider than they are now, so they acted more like snowshoes, and you would glide effortlessly along the snow, and if you were lucky, catch dinner or get where you needed to go.

Rock paintings estimated to date back to 3000 BC confirm a history of skiing of those people by that time. Created in what was estimated to be around 2500 BC, a rock carving in Norway was found.

The Beginning of Alpine Skiing   

Alpine or downhill skiing wasn’t invented until the 18th century, evolving from military considerations. The Norwegian army held skill competitions in which members would enthusiastically ski down narrow slopes, navigating through trees, all while shooting guns. A gentleman called Olaf Rye from Norway became the worlds first long distance ski jumper in 1809, as he jumped 9.5 metres in front of an audience and miraculously survived. This was an even more impressive feat than it would have been today, because we have high tech ski’s that will detach from our boots when necessary to prevent a broken ankle or leg. Back then, they did not have this privilege, and ski’s were metal and strapped to your leg, and most of the time downhill skiing was done more conservatively than today. Of course, there are exceptions.

A Timeline of Skiing Through the Ages:   


Vital Development of Skiing

Around 1890, is when skiing evolved as a popular and leisure sport. Norwegians were the first to start alpine ski races, and the design of the skis they used evolved rapidly over this time period, as more and more people were doing it. The telemark ski was invented in Telemark, Norway, revolutionizing skis.  As skis evolve, their shape, length and  material change, each time improving on its previous. In 1928, a steel edge was built on a new kind of ski allowing people to have much better grip on the snow, and be able to carve into downhill turns.

In 1924, the first Winter Olympics was held, but only cross-country skiing was included. Nevertheless, in 1938, the first Winter Olympics to include both alpine and cross-country skiing was held, and both times were milestones in the history of skiing. Skiing has grown in popularity ever since. On Jan 15, 1996, Mt. Whistler ski resort opened, and in 1938, Mt. Seymour ski resort opened. Many other popular resorts opened at this time.

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