If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that skiing is our favorite pastime. Between the epic mountain views and escape from everyday reality, skiing is the perfect form of meditation.
Feeling stuck in your everyday routine? A few hours carving down the slopes will wipe your exhaustion away, sparking a newfound motivation for the week ahead. Longing for the great outdoors in below freezing temperatures? Skiing will no doubt be your fix. But beyond our love for the greatest snow sport in the world, skiing has a rich history that dates back to before it was even considered for pleasure.
Think you know everything about the latest ski gear, tricks and knowledge on the sport? Well, think again, because I can (almost) guarantee that you don’t know these five things about skiing.
Origins of Skiing
Skiing is much older than your great, great, great grandmother. In fact, it dates back to as early as the Stone Age! But long before we began using skis to effortlessly glide down a mountain, skis had a much more practical use.
Hunters in this time period used skis to hunt reindeer and elk around Asia after the glaciers began to melt. Sounds prehistoric, am I right? One rock drawing in Norway is estimated to date from 4000 BC. And because of its origin, you can probably gather that the etymology of the word “ski” comes from Norway.
The Old Norse word skíð translates to mean a piece of wood. Although the word can be traced back to a specific region, it is not certain whether skiing actually started in Norway or Asia.
After many years of using skis to hunt and traverse across snow-covered terrain, people began to think of skiing in a new way. What if we could ski down a mountain and race for fun, they thought. And boom… the sport of skiing emerged.
After the first recorded downhill race in Sweden, in 1879, skiing as we knew it morphed into a sport that would forever shape our culture. But it wasn’t until 1936 that alpine skiing was introduced as part of the Winter Olympics.
Skiing is more than just a leisure activity; it’s an absolute killer workout as well! And I bet you didn’t know that cross country skiers have the highest VO2 max in the world. In other words, when comparing various athletes, cross-country skiers have the highest rate of oxygen consumption measured during exercise of increasing intensity.
Because of the full body strength required during the activity, skiers will increase their overall aerobic capacity. Thus, regular skiing will strengthen your lungs, joints and overall physical health. It’s a win, win, win!
Skiing and Space?
If you thought skiing couldn’t get any cooler, get this… it’s now encouraged for astronauts to learn cross country skiing before they head into space.
Harrison Schmitt, an astronaut on the 1972 Apollo 17 crew, shares “When you’re cross-country skiing, once you get a rhythm going, you propel yourself with a toe push as you slide along the snow. On the Moon, in the main you don’t slide, you glide above the surface. But again, you use the same kind of rhythm, with a toe push.”
His experience with Nordic skiing has allowed him to move faster and more efficiently across the moon’s surface.
Out of all of the non-motorized sports that exist, skiing is undoubtedly one of the fastest. So fast that Simone Origone set a world record for speed skiing in 2015.
He clocked in at 156.978 miles per hour, how insane is that!? The average car only goes up to 120 miles per hour, so I’d say that’s pretty impressive.