Skiing has been around since the 600 B.C.E. era.
In those days, it was used as a form of transportation over snow-covered terrain, but since then it has evolved immensely.
Skiing is now a way to increase exercise, a way to enjoy the long winters and a sport that simply never gets old.
Rock paintings of skis were preserved and show that hunters and trappers used skis at least 5,000 years ago, but skis are even older than that.
As the glaciers retreated, the Stone Age hunters followed reindeer and elk herds from central Asia’s Altai region, moving to the northwest and northeast.
They used skis to do so, covering themselves with fur that worked like modern climbing skins.
Skis thus came to be used across the Eurasian arctic regions.
As time progressed into the modern age, skis were in regularly used by Scandinavian farmers, hunters and warriors throughout the Middle Ages.
By the 18th century, units of the Swedish Army trained and competed on skis (www.skiinghistory.org).
In the 1840s, the cambered ski (a shaped alpine ski with relatively little sidecut and classic camber: the tip and tail touch the snow while the midsection is in the air) was developed by woodcarvers in the province of Telemark, Norway.
The bow-shaped, cambered ski arched up toward the center to distribute the weight of the skier more evenly across the length of the ski.
Before this invention, skis had to be thick to glide without bowing downward and sinking in the snow under the skier’s weight (they were concentrated in the middle).
If a ski is allowed to bow downward this way, the skier finds himself constantly skiing uphill, out of a hole his own weight has made in the snow.
But with this new ski, the skier no longer sank in the snow, but instead glided smoothly across it. This was the start of the new and ever improving ski (www.skiinghistory.org).
In the 1860s-1900s the ski continued to transform, as new models and ideals were put to the test. Skis were made narrower, the edges were thickened and sharpened, and in the early 1900s skis were laminated, which was the first attempt at waterproof skis.
Lacking good materials though, the glue used to laminate the skis quickly deteriorated due to water, proving useless within a few days (www.skiinghistory.org).
But the inventors and improvers of the ski world never failed to stop improving and that’s why we have such good quality skis today.
Looking at old pairs of skis, it’s amazing to think that anyone could even ski on them.
But the sport of skiing proves to be unstoppable in that aspect.
It’s always interesting looking back at where something began. Skis are impeccable now, with so many designs, lengths and parts that provide safety and fun to the skier.
It’s nice to be a part of that history, even if it’s just a small sliver.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org