Whether you’ve never put them on, stick to the bunny slope, or head right for the chairlift, skiing can be anything from fun to great exercise. Whether you have an annual skiing weekend or travel more often to hit slopes around the world, there are quite a few fun facts about skiing that you may or may not know. Keep reading to learn 9 of them for your own entertainment and to make great conversation while in line for the lift.
9 Fun Facts About Skiing That You Probably Didn’t Know
1) Everything Started In Norway:
Linguists say that the very word of ‘ski’ is traced back to an Old Norse word which stands of ‘piece of wood’. Archaeologists in Norway have unearthed ancient carvings which indicate locals started skiing millennia ago. In fact, one of the rock drawings dates back to 4000BC. Can you imagine them skiing without special ski boots, ski masks, and other safety gears? Dangerous I know! Modern skiing is also indebted to Sondre Norheim of Telemark. The inventor of the Telemark bindings let skiers both turn and jump back in the 1800s.
2) Then Again, It Might Have Started In Asia:
It’s widely regarded that Norway was the spot where skiing started, but it is possible that tribesmen were practicing a form of actual skiing well in advance of the Scandinavians. These tribes were in the Altai Mountains, which sit between Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. A part of a very primitive ski made of wood is assumed to be around 8,000 years of age. It was discovered in Russia near Lake Sindor. There’s also a tribe in China’s Xinjiang province that still makes its skies by splitting spruce trees before wrapping them in dried-out horse skins, which are then used for sliding down slopes and also climbing them. These skiers only use on pole though, unlike modern skiers. That’s because they need their other hand free to hunt elk!
3) Have You Ever Ridden A Snurfer?
That’s not a typo. It’s what Sherman Poppen of the state of Michigan called it when he bound a pair of skis together for his daughter to use as a skateboard without any wheels. He was thinking of it like a surfboard you could use on snow. Now, we all know them as snowboards. A million of them were sold in the first decade from 1965 to 1975. They had no bindings and could be steered using a handheld rope before later advances showed up.
4) Skiing Is Siblings With Sherlock Holmes At Least In England:
Remember literature class? You learned that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the creator of the many Sherlock Holmes mysteries. He found out about skiing in 1893 when he moved to the nation of Switzerland. It was thought that the mountain air would do wonders for his wife’s health. While there, he met a pair of locals known as the Branger brothers. They skied at night in order to not put up with the contempt of their fellow villagers. Together with them, he made the first ever pass of the Maienfelder Furka mountain passage at 8,000 feet. The Telegraph reports that he was the very first Englishman to write about how thrilling skiing was, claiming that it could get you as close to flying as any man bound to the earth could possibly do.
5) Snowboarding Only Joined The Olympics In 1998:
Cross-country skiing started with the Winter Olympics in 1924. Downhill or alpine skiing started in 1936, even though the first ever recorded race happened in Sweden nearly 60 years prior. However, the younger child of snurfing, er, snowboarding, only debuted at the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, Japan.
6) Forget Speeding Tickets:
You might be able to ski faster than you usually can drive. Most passenger vehicles max out at 120 MPH, although many rarely go so fast. However, speed skiers go down super-steep slopes as fast as they can. No wonder ski helmets are a thing, as some skiers have topped 150 MPH!
7) You Can Go Skiing In North Korea:
More than 80 nations have at least one ski area, and some of them might be in places that surprise you. If you’d like ski resorts where you’re not going to run into the usual crowd, consider Masik Pass inside of North Korea or even Afghanistan’s Bamyan area. You can even visit Mount Hermon inside of Israel. Surprisingly enough, Dubai is a place to go skiing too. it has a 60-meter mountain as part of an indoor ski resort.
8) The Day May Come You Ski On The Moon:
Harrison Schmitt was an astronaut on Apollo 17, setting foot on the moon in 1972. While there, he commented that the Sea of Serenity had a mountainous rim that could be idea for lunar skiing. Schmitt owns the moonwalking speed record, as he used a sliding toe-push technique that cross-country skiers use. He claimed that is was good for moving across the moon’s surface.
9) James Bond Wasn’t Always Faking It:
Some of 007’s most famous action sequences have involved ski scenes, but the idea of skis being used in combat isn’t that unrealistic. Ski troops were used effectively in decisive battles in both world wars.
Now that you have read this list of 9 fun facts about skiing that you probably didn’t previously know, you can make great conversation with fellow enthusiasts while in line for the slopes, riding up the chairlift, or driving to the resort. You never know where such conversation can go after that, although given the nature of skiing, it’ll have to go downhill eventually.