History of skiing
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Skiing, or traveling over snow on skis, has a history of almost five millennia. Although modern skiing has evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, it may have been practised as early as 600 BC in Daxing'anling, in what is now China.
Originally purely utilitarian, starting in the mid-1800s skiing became a popular recreational activity and sport, being practised around the world, and providing crucial economic support to purpose-built ski resorts and communities.
Etymology and usage 
The word ski comes from the Old Norse word "skíð" which means stick of wood or ski. The word "ski" has a wider meaning in Norwegian, for instance "vedski" meaning "splitwood for making fire" or "skigard" meaning "a wooden split-rail fence".
In modern Norwegian this word is usually pronounced [ˈʃiː]. English and French use the original spelling "ski", and modify the pronunciation. In Italian it is pronounced as in Norwegian, and the spelling is modified: "sci". German and Spanish adapt the word to their linguistic rules; "Schier" (however there is a form- Ski) and "esquí". Many languages make a verb form out of the noun, such as "to ski" in English, "skier" in French, "esquiar" in Spanish, "sciare" in Italian, or "schilaufen" (as above also Ski laufen or Ski fahren) in German which is not possible in Norwegian. In Swedish, a close relation to Norwegian, the word is "skidor" (pl.).
Finnish has its own ancient words for skis and skiing. In Finnish ski is suksi and skiing is hiihtää. The Sami also have their own words for skis and skiing. For example, the Lule Sami word for ski is "sabek" and skis are "sabega".
Early archaeological evidence 
The oldest information about skiing is based on archaeological evidence. A wooden ski dating from about 6300-5000 BC was found about 1,200 km northeast of Moscow at Lake Sindor. The Kalvträskskidan ski, found in Sweden dates to 3200 BC, and the Vefsn Nordland ski, found in Norway is dated to 5100 BC. Rock drawings in Norway dated at 4000 BC depict a man on skis holding a stick. A ski excavated in Greenland is dated to 1010.
Skiing as transportation 
Norse mythology describes the god Ullr and the goddess Skaði hunting on skis. Egil Skallagrimsson's 950 AD saga describes King Haakon the Good's practice of sending his tax collectors out on skis. Ski warfare, the use of ski-equipped troops in war, is first recorded by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in the 13th century. The speed and distance that ski troops are able to cover is comparable to that of light cavalry. Swedish writer Olaus Magnus's 1555 A Description of the Northern Peoples describes skiers and their climbing skins in Scricfinnia in what is now Norway. Skis were used in military exercises in 1747. In 1799 French traveller Jacques de la Tocnaye visits Norway and writes in his travel diary: "In winter, the mail is transported through Filefjell mountain pass by a man on a kind of snow skates moving very quickly without being obstructed by snow drifts that would engulf both people and horses. People in this region move around like this. I've seen it repeatedly. It requires no more effort than what is needed to keep warm. The day will surely come when even those of other European nations are learning to take advantage of this convenient and cheap mode of transport." In 1910 Roald Amundsen uses skis on his South Pole Expedition.
Skiing as sport 
- 1809: Olaf Rye: first known ski jumper.
- 1861: The world's first alpine ski club was formed in Kiandra, Australia. Alpine ski racing as an organised sport commences in America and Norway.
- 1878: On the occasion of the Exposition Universelle in Paris, the Norwegian pavilion presents a display of skis. This ancestral means of locomotion draws the attention of visitors who buy many of them. Henry Duhamel experiments with a pair at Chamrousse in the Alps.
- 1879: first recorded use of the word slalom.
- 1872: The oldest ski club in North America still existing is the Nansen Ski Club, which was founded in 1872 by Norwegian immigrants of Berlin, New Hampshire under a different name.
- November 1895: creation of the Ski Club des Alpes in Grenoble by the friends of Henry Duhamel to whom he had distributed fourteen pairs of skis acquired during his trip to Finland
- 1905: foundation of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.
- 1924: formation of the International Ski Federation
- 1922: start of the Vasaloppet.
- 1932: start of the Birkebeinerrennet
- 1992: Mogul skiing and Freestyle skiing added to the 1992 Winter Olympics.
- 2009: campaign for the inclusion of women's ski jumping leads to its inclusion in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Skiing as recreation 
- 1868: Mountain resorts became commercially viable when city-dwellers could reach them in winter by train.
- 1910: first rope tow.
- 1936: The first chair lift is introduced at Sun Valley, Idaho
- 1939: the Sno-Surf is patented in the USA. Made of solid white oak, it had an adjustable strap for the left foot, a rubber mat to hold the right foot, a rope with loop used to control speed and steer, and a guide stick used to steer. The first commercially successful, precursor to the snowboard, the snurfer was introduced in 1965.
- 1952: The first major commercial snow-making machinery installed at Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel in New York state, USA.
- 1970s: Telemark skiing undergoes a revival possibly inspired by Stein Eriksen and his book Come Ski With Me.
Evolution of equipment 
Asymmetrical Skis 
This type of skis has been used at least in northern Finland and Sweden up until late 19-hundreds. In other leg the skier wore a long straight non-arching ski for sliding and in the other a shorter one for kicking. The bottom of the short ski was either plain or covered with animal skin to aid this use, while the long ski supporting the weight of the skier was treated with animal fat in similar manner to modern ski waxing. Early record of this type of skis survives in works of Olaus Magnus. He associates them to Sami people and gives Sami names of savek and golos for the plain and skinned short ski. Finnish names for these are lyly and kalhu for long and short ski.
Single Long Ski 
The seal hunters at the Gulf of Bothnia had developed a special long ski to sneak into shooting distance to the seals' breathing holes, though the ski was useful in moving in the packed ice in general and was made specially long, 3–4 meters, to protect against cracks in the ice. This is called skredstång in Swedish.
Modern Skis 
Around 1850 artisans in Telemark, Norway invent the cambered ski. This ski arches up in the middle, under the binding, which distributes the skier's weight more evenly across the length of the ski. Earlier plank-style skis had to be thick enough not to bow downward and sink in the snow under the skier’s weight. This new design made it possible to build a thinner, lighter ski, that flexed more easily to absorb the shock of bumps, and that maneuvered and ran faster and more easily. Norheim's ski was also the first with a sidecut that narrowed the ski underfoot while the tip and tail remained wider. This enabled the ski to flex and turn more easily.
In 1950 Howard Head introduced the Head Standard, constructed by sandwiching aluminum alloy around a plywood core. The design included steel edges (invented in 1928 in Austria,) and the exterior surfaces were made of phenol formaldehyde resin which could hold wax. This hugely successful ski was unique at the time in having been designed for the recreational market, rather than for racing. 1962: a fibreglass ski, Kneissl's White Star, is used by Karl Schranz to win two gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. By the late '60s fibreglass had mostly replaced aluminum.
In 1975 the torsion box ski construction design is patented. The patent is referenced by Kästle, Salomon, Rottefella, and Madshus. In 1993 Elan introduced the Elan SCX. Skis with a much wider tip and tail than waist. When tipped onto their edges, they bend into a curved shape and carve a turn. Cross-country techniques use different styles of turns; edging is not as important, and skis have little sidecut. For many years, alpine skis were shaped similarly to cross-country, simply shorter and wider, but the Elan SCX introduced a radical sidecut design that dramatically improved performance. Other companies quickly followed suit, and it was realized in retrospect that "It turns out that everything we thought we knew for forty years was wrong." The Twin-tip ski was introduced by Solomon in 1997.
Bindings and boots 
Sondre Norheim demonstrated Telemark skiing before 1866, and the Open Chritiania in 1868, both made possible with a binding design (which dated back to the late 1840s). This binding innovation, also credited to Sondre, added a loop of twisted birch roots that ran from the existing birch root toe loops around the boot heels and back. This stiff heel loop allowed the heel to lift as before, for walking and gliding, but better held the boots to, and aligned with, the skis allowing greater torque to pivot the skis in a new direction than when the boot could easily pivot sideways in the toe loop. This enabled Sondre to control the skis with his feet and legs, replacing the former technique of dragging a large pole in the snow on one side or the other to drag the skier in that direction. These new techniques spread throughout Telemark and would later be named for the region. In 1894: Fritz Huitfeldt invented a binding with a secure toe iron which allowed the heel to move freely. This became the standard industry binding through the 1930s.
The release binding, the Saf-Ski, was invented by Hjalmar Hvam in 1939.
In 1955 the then world's leading ski boot company, Henke, introduced boots with buckles. It was not widely-adopted until the early 1960s, when Lange used them on their new plastic ski boots. Salomon introduced the rear-entry boot in 1984.
Glide and grip 
Johannes Scheffer in Argentoratensis Lapponiæ (History of Lapland) in 1673 probably gave the first recorded instruction for ski wax application He advised skiers to use pine tar pitch and rosin. Ski waxing was also documented in 1761.
1934 saw limited production of solid aluminum skis in France. Wax does not stick to aluminum, so the base under the foot included grips to prevent backsliding, a precursor of modern fish scale waxless skis. In 1970 waxless Nordic skis were made with fishscale bases. Klister, which helps get a grip in warm snow, was invented and patented in 1913 by Peter Østbye. Recent advancements in wax have been the use of surfactants, introduced in 1974 by Hertel Wax, and fluorocarbons, introduced in 1986, to increase water and dirt repellency and increase glide. Many companies, including Swix, Toyo, Holmenkol, Briko, and Maplus are dedicated to ski wax production and have developed a range of products to cover various conditions.
Early skiers used one long pole or spear. The first depiction of a skier with two ski poles dates to 1741. In 1959 Ed Scott introduced the large-diameter, tapered shaft, lightweight aluminum ski pole.
A skiing Sami woman or a goddess. Olaus Magnus (1555)|
Advertisement for ski race in La Porte, California (1869)
Wolf hunting on skis
See also 
- "Ancient Ice Sports". Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- Lund, Morten (Winter 1996). "A Short History of Alpine Skiing". Skiing Heritage 8 (1). Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
- Burov, Grigori (1985). "Mesolithic wood artefacts from the site of Vis I in the European North-east of the USSR". The Mesolithic in Europe: 392–395.
- Sørenson, Steinar (1993). Ski i Norge. Oslo: Aventura. p. 14.
- "Bølamannen". Steinkjer Kunnskapsportal. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- Olsen, Jan. "Wiping the snow off Greenland's oldest ski". iol. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- Vaage, Jakob (1955). Milepeler og merkedager gjennom 4000 ar. Ranheim: Norske Skiloperer Ostlandet Nord Oslo. p. 9.
- Magnus, Olaus. "Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus". Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- SKI Magazine’s Encyclopedia of Skiing. New York: Harper & Row. 1979. p. 5.
- de La Tocnaye, Jacques (1801). Promenade d'un Français en Suède et en Norvège. Brunswick: P.F. Fauche et Cie.
- Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Federation International Skiing. letters published, “World’s First Alpine Ski Club” ISBN 978-0-646-58842-1
- "Longboards at Mammoth". Mic Mac Publishing. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "Australian High Country History". Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Henri Duhamel". bivouak.net. 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Chamrousse Ski History". PisteHors.com. 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Bolitho, Andrea (January 2010). "Top Secret Slopes". France Today. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Skis – Bindings – Telemark Turn – Christiania Turn – Slalom". Sondre Norheim - the Skiing Pioneer of Telemark. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "Union Leader - Nansen Ski Jump gets historical marker (seventh paragraph down)". Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "History of the Nansen Ski Club". Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "About USSA". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Timeline". International Ski Federation. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Masia, Seth. "Skis, Trains and Mountains". Skiing Heritage. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "The Progression of an Obsession: Ski History 4,000 B.C. - 1930".
- "The Beginnings of [[Snowboarding]]". Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum. Retrieved 12 November 2012. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Leich, Jeff. "Chronology of Snowmaking". New England Ski Museum. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Halvor Kleppen – Telemark Skiing, Norway's Gift to the World", Alpenglow Ski History
- Olaus Magnus, 1555:1,4
- "Västerbotten 1971 nr. 2" magazine in Swedish, includes copious pictures of the ski and the associated equipment. 
- Masia, Seth. "Evolution of Ski Shape". Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- Fry, John (2006). The story of modern skiing. Hanover: University Press of New England. ISBN 978-1-58465-489-6.
- Bjertaes, Gunnar. "Patent number: 4005875 Ski construction of the torsion box type". US Patent Office. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- Lert, Wolfgang (March 2002). "A Binding Revolution". Skiing Heritage Journal: 25–26. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Lund, Morten (September 2007). "Norway: How It All Started". Skiing Heritage Journal: 8–13. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Fry, John. "When you could be racing while others were lacing". skiinghistory.org. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Kuzmin, Leonid (2006). Investigation of the most essential factors influencing ski glide (Licentiate). Luleå University of Technology. http://epubl.ltu.se/1402-1757/2006/03/LTU-LIC-0603-SE.pdf. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Oberleutnant Hals. Om Skismøring. Vaage: Skienes Verden. p. 254.
- Masia, Seth (September 2003). "The Wonderful Waxless Ski". Skiing Heritage 15 (3).
- Hergstrom, P (1748). Beschreibung von dem unter schwedischer Krone gehörigen Lappland. Leipzig: von Rother.