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oldest known artifact representing a ski is believed to be over
4500 years old. This short and wide ski was found in Sweden and
was used for work and transportation. Cave and rock drawings suggest
that skis were in use long before that time as well. Commonly used
in the Northern Russian and Scandinavian countries, the first skiis
were probably tools of hunters and travelers. Thus the ancient world
of skiing was not focused on speed, but on the practical need to
keep below the snow while traveling and going about business.
Skiing did not become a sport until sometime in the 1700s. The
people living in the Telemark area of Norway are generally credited
for this development, because they invented the Telemark and the
Christina (now called the Christie), turns meant to controls speed
in an artful manner while cruising downhill descents. They also
jumped in their skiing. Disciplines in both alipine and Nordic skiing
thus originated with the early Norway pioneers.
In fact, the distinction between different skiing disciplines
was not made centuries ago. All skiing was paerformed with skiis
that had boots mounted to the skis only at the toe, giving the heel
freedom of vertical motion (as the modern day Nordic ski).
Skiing steadily grew in popularity during the early 1900s, as the
Europeans began to take part in the Norwegian winter pastime. In
the first Winter Olympic Games (1924 Games in Chamonix), skiing
was one of the few sports that were conducted.
Today skiing equipment is made for speed and safety. Lightweight
and slim models are the most popular. While we no longer need the
use of skiis to transport our earthly goods during the winter, they
still come in handy for winter recreation!
For most of us, ice skating is merely recreational, whether ice
hockey or simply ice skating in a rink.
Congratulations on your ambition to try learning to ski! Skiing
is an extremely enjoyable winter activity, and one that has been
around for centuries.
Learning to snowboard can either be a frustrating experience, or
quite an enjoyable one.