History of Snow Skiing

The history of snow skiing and even ski equipment goes back thousands of years. The oldest ski ever found was discovered in Sweden and dates back anywhere from 2,500 to 4,500 B.C. Rock drawings that are 4,500 to 5,000 years old and depict a man on skis with a pole in his hand have been found in Norway, and this also leads many to believe that the Nordic countries were where skiing started. Some historians also believe that skis might have first emerged in Asia, and there is a common hypothesis that they may have been used in Europe around the Ice Age as well. In general, it is possible that the history of skiing began in different parts of the world at approximately the same time.

When it comes to the history of snow skiing, there is the early history and the modern history. As far as the modern history is concerned, it is tied to the Scandinavian countries. Scandinavian farmers and hunters used skis regularly during the Middle Ages, as did Scandinavian warriors. By the seventeenth century, the Swedish Army was competing on skis and using them for battle purposes as well. Eventually, Telemark skiing became the most popular form of skiing in the Nordic countries. This kind of skiing, which is still practiced to this day, allows the skier to lift his or her heels off the skis. Staggering the skis and distributing your weight in the proper way allows the Telemark skier to make turns.

Some refer to a Norwegian man by the name of Sondre Norheim as the father of modern skiing, though the equipment that he supposedly invented in the 1800s is believed by others to have already been invented. Interestingly enough, the bindings that Norheim used for his skis in the 1800s were made from birch roots. In 1894, a man named Fritz Huitfeldt became the first person to remove the heel from Telemark skis, thus making them more akin to the Telemark skis of today. As for standard downhill skiing, that was developing as well during the 1800s, and in 1882, the first hickory skis were being produced in Norway. This was almost 40 years after the first known civilian ski race was held in Norway.

The history of skiing is complicated, and there's no telling how many people had their hands in the development of technology for ski equipment over the years. Interestingly enough, skis were used in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the gold rush, and downhill races were organized by mining camps. By the late 1800s, people all over the world were experimenting with skis and using them for all kinds of pursuits. In 1888, for example, a Norwegian man named Fridtjof Nansen crossed Greenland on skis. Nansen kept a journal of this trip, and when this journal was published in 1890, it generated great interest in skiing in both Europe and the United States. This is one of the most important moments in the history of snow skiing.

The history of skiing sees the activity, or sport if you prefer, really taking off around the turn of the century. People started taking on all kinds of skiing challenges in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the technology continued to get better. The first packaged ski vacations were offered in and around 1903, and you might be interested to known that the US National Ski Association was founded in Michigan in 1905. This association is now known as the US Ski and Snowboard Association, and it continues to organize competitive events to this day. As for the International Ski Federation, that was founded in Chamonix France in 1924.

When it comes to the history of skiing, the Winter Olympics only helped the sport become popular. In 1932, both ski jumping and cross-country skiing were events that were featured in the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. The first alpine skiing events to be part of the Winter Olympics took place in the 1936 games in Garmisch Germany. After these Olympic games, skiing really started to take off around the world. Resorts started springing up in good number, and the sport certainly hasn't waned in terms of popularity. New technology continues to push the sport, and wherever it snows and wherever there are mountains or hills, you are likely to find ski resorts close by.

Compare Travel Sites and Save!

Best European Ski Resorts

Europe Ski Resorts

The best European ski resorts, as is true of the best ski resorts in North Am...

Latest Topics

Late Winter Conditions

Now that's February, it's still cold in many places, but the end of the season is drawi...

More Forum Posts »