Wikipedia states that “skiing can be a means of transport, a recreational activity or a competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow.” 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.
While that’s a basic and informative description of the sport, most people know this stuff… and it’s not exactly getting anyone pumped for a session in the snow, is it? Don’t worry though; we’ve got nine cool facts about skiing that will whet your appetite before you’re on your cheap snow holidays!
Take a look and see…
The word ‘ski’ originated from the Norwegian word ‘skíð’ which translates to mean a split piece of wood.
The first downhill skiing race to ever be officially recorded was in Sweden, in 1879.
Alpine skiing first debuted in the Winter Olympics of 1936 and the German-born Franz Pfnür was the first ever man to take gold in the championship.
‘Skiing’ is the only six-letter word in the English language that has a double ‘i’ precisely in the middle.
St Bernard of Montjoux is! He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1923 after Bernard spent four decades completing missionary work throughout the Alps. In fact, St. Bernard dogs are named after him too!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the man who did this after coming back from one of his ski trips in Norway; he returned with some skis. He thought Switzerland had the perfect terrain for sport – wasn’t wrong, was he? 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’ – definitely not wrong about that either!
Skiing is one of the fastest sports on land that has no assistance from a motor. In 2006, Simone Origone set a world speed skiing record at 156.2 miles per hour!
Many skiers invoke the name of ‘Ullr’ the Norse God of winter and make small offerings to get him to bring about a big dump on certain mountains. We’re not sure anyone will need his help for the 2017/18 season, as it’s looking pretty sweet so far!
Astronaut Harrison Schmitt said that astronauts travelling to the moon should learn the art of cross-country skiing. Why? Well, he thought that the techniques used in skiing would help walking on the moon become easier. He also had visions of ‘lunar skiing holidays’ in the future, but I don’t think we’re quite ready for them just yet.
Image: Zach Dischner under Creative Commons.