Skiing is a recreational activity and competitive sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and the International Ski Federation.
Until the mid-1800s skiing was primarily used for transport, and since then has become a recreation and sport. The oldest and most accurately documented evidence of skiing origins is found in modern day Norway and Sweden. The earliest primitive carvings circa 5000 B.C. depict a skier with one pole, located in Rødøy in the Nordland region of Norway. The first primitive ski was found in a peat bog in Hoting, Sweden which dates back to 4500 or 2500 B.C. Joel Berglund reported in 2004 the discovery of a primitive ski, or "85cm long piece of wood", carbon tested by researchers in 1997 while excavating a Norse settlement near Nanortalik, Greenland. The primitive ski dated back to 1010, and is thought to be Greenland's oldest ski brought by Norsemen circa 980 A.D.
The first public skiing competition ("betting race") was held in Tromsø, Norway on March 19, 1843. It was also the first skiing competition reported in a newspaper. Military ski races were held in Norway during the 18th century, and ski warfare was studied in the late 18th century.
Types of skiing
Also called downhill skiing, alpine skiing typically takes place on a piste at a ski resort. It is characterized by fixed-heel bindings that attach at both the toe and the heel of the skier's boot. Because it is difficult to walk in alpine equipment, ski lifts including chairlifts bring skiiers up the slope. Backcountry skiing can be accessed by helicopter or snowcat. Facilities at resorts can include night skiing, après-ski, and glade skiing under the supervision of the ski patrol and the ski school.
Cross-country or backcountry skiing is the oldest form of skiing and was developed in Scandinavia as a way of traveling over snow. It uses free-heel bindings that attach at the toes of the skier's boots but not at the heels. Various specialties of competitive or recreational skiing developed from this basic style, sub-genres of Nordic skiing include:
- Cross-country skiing
- Ski touring and Ski mountaineering
- Ski-flying and ski jumping
Skiing without snow
Equipment used in skiing includes:
- skis, which may have skins or wax applied for traction.
- Boots and bindings
- ski clothing
- Saur, Lasse (1999): Norske ski - til glede og besvær. Research report, Høgskolen i Finnmark.
- Chronology timeline, North American ski mountaineering backcountry skiing
- IOL: Wiping the snow off Greenland's oldest ski
- The cradle of skiing (Norway – the official site in the United States)
- Skiing and the Creation of a Norwegian Identity (Norway – the official site in the United States)
- Bergsland, Einar (1946): På ski. Oslo: Aschehoug.
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- The Melbourne Argus, 6 July 1908.