Skiing was originally a form of transportation in Europe before it became a sport.
The oldest documented evidence of skiing is found in the region of Norway and Sweden from primitive carvings dating back to 5000 B.C. Until the 1800’s skiing was primarily used only for transport, it was after the turn of the 18th century that it became a recreational sport. Commercially the popularity of skiing holidays took off in the 19th century which increased substantially during the mid-1900s until today.
Winter sports holidays have seen a boost in popularity with 15% of those taking a winter holiday planning to take one, an increase from 10% in 2012. ABTA estimates that approximately a million Brits will be hitting the slopes this year. Skiing and snowboarding holidays are most popular amongst the 16-24 year olds, nearly half (44%) of those taking a winter break will be heading for the slopes.
Besides being a popular sport, below are 10 interesting facts about Skiing:
- The word ‘Ski’ is derived from the Norwegian word ‘skíð’ which means a split piece of wood.
- The first recorded downhill skiing race was held in Sweden, in 1879.
- Alpine skiing made its first debut in the Winter Olympics of 1936 and German born Franz Pfnür became the first man to win the gold medal in the championship.
- ‘Skiing’ is the only six-letter word in the English language with a double ‘i’ exactly in the middle.
- St Bernard of Montjoux is the patron saint of skiers. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1923. Bernard became a patron and protector of skiers as a result of his four decades spent in missionary work throughout the Alps. St. Bernard dogs are named after him.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the man who introduced skiing to Switzerland. After returning from one of his ski trips in Norway, he brought with him some skis as he felt Switzerland had the perfect terrain for it. In his own words, ‘I am convinced that the time will come when hundreds of English men will come to Switzerland for the skiing season.’
- Skiing is one of the fastest non-motorized sports on land. Skiers can ski faster than a car and this was proven by Simone Origone in 2006 that set a world speed skiing record at 156.2 miles per hour compared to the speed of road cars at 120 miles per hour.
- Many skiers invoke the name of ‘Ullr’ the Norse God of winter and make small offerings to get him to unleash a powder dump on selected ski hills.
- Telemark bindings invented by Norwegian Sondre Norheim, that bind the ski to the plastic boot made it possible for skiers to jump in the air.
- Astronaut Harrison Schmitt said that astronauts travelling to the moon should learn the art of cross country skiing as he believed that the techniques involved in skiing will help walking on the moon easier and envisioned ‘lunar skiing holidays’ in the future.