Millions of people take to the slopes every year to give skiing a go. The exhilarating feeling of gliding over the pressed snow balanced on two thin boards of wood, with the wind in your hair, is apparently an addictive one! But who was the first person to attempt skiing as we know it?..
- The word ‘Ski’ is derived from the Norwegian word ‘skíð’ which means a split piece of wood.
- Archaeologists have uncovered ancient carvings in Norway dating back to 4000BC that depict skiing.
- Skiing was originally a form of transportation for locals who lived in mountainous areas.
- In the 16th century conflict between Denmark and Sweden, canvas was stretched between skis to help carry the wounded, hence the modern term “stretcher”.
- Telemark bindings that bind the ski to the plastic boot were invented by Norwegian Sondre Norheim, making it possible for skiers to jump in the air for the first time.
- In 1721, the Norwegian army developed a specialised ski unit.
- The first ever downhill ski race was recorded in Sweden in 1879.
- Alpine skiing was first introduced to the Olympics in 1936, but skiing became more popular after WW2.
- You can ski in more than 80 countries around the world.
- It’s estimated that 25% of the populations of Austria, Norway and Switzerland can ski.
- Skiing is one of the fastest non-motorized sports on land. Some skiers can ski faster than a car – for example in 2006, Simone Origone set a world speed skiing record at 156.2mph.
- The record of the longest ski jump is held by Norwegian skier Anders Fannemel, who jumped 251.5metres in 2015. That’s longer than two football pitches.
- Skiing for an hour can burn 350-400 calories!
- St. Bernard of Montjoux is the patron saint of skiing.
I bet some of these shocked you – I definitely learnt something, who would have thought skiing had such a rich history. With an estimated 400million people taking to the slopes each year, why not be one of them? Check out our ski breaks here and get skiing.