• Sam Box

A Brief History of Skiing

Although there is archeological evidence for the shred in both Russia and China around 5000-8000 years ago, scientists suggest these were just shot skis and weren’t used on the mountain much. Maybe the reason the Scandi children felt so entitled to come and trash the resort recently is because skiing is widely believe to have originated in their homeland. The ‘Sami’ were the only indigenous people of North Scandinavia and are credited with being the first to drop cliffs not bombs. Cave paintings show the Sami equipped with bows, axes and other weapons atop of long planks under their feet. These primitive paintings are believed to be the earliest known drafts of Echo front covers.

Skiing started spreading around the world with yet more cave paintings and carvings showing various cultures getting pitted. In 1300 BC, Norse mythology announced Ullr and Skade as the God and Goddess of Skiing: one would assume they were pretty stoked. Around this time, skis were generally used to hunt and to get around in snowy climates, hopefully not on the roads though.

A fair while later, during a period of civil war in Norway circa 1206 AD, the infant heir to the throne was trapped inside enemy territory and needed to be retrieved. The Birkebeiners (one of the warring political parties) sent some absolute shredders over to recover the child. Thorstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka went on a colossal overnight tour in a savage blizzard, bringing the 2 year old home over the Dovre Mountains. Since 1932, an annual race has been held over the same route where competitors carry a 3.5kg backpack to represent the weight of the baby prince who went on to become King Haakon. All this is to say that in 1206 AD, backcountry became cool.

Around the 18th century, people realised that skiing is pretty fun and so started doing it recreationally. Jump forward one hundred years and we have Olaf Rye, the first recognised park rat. Olaf was actually a highly distinguished Norwegian/Danish military officer but had somewhat of a penchant for getting sendy. On a brisk day in 1808, somewhere near a church, Olaf nailed the worlds first recorded ski jump at 9.5 metres. Potentially more historic though, was his post on the seasonaire page the next day stating that his jacket had been taken from a bar that night and he had lost his Gopro with the footage.

Skip ahead another hundred years or so and freestyle skiing starting becoming trendy. However, back then it was known as hot-dogging for some reason. This included moguls, jumps and of course, ski ballet. Whilst the latter is sadly no longer with us (but hopefully due a comeback), moguls are still supposedly popular. Of course, freestyle in the form of; jumps, park, freeride and those fourteen year olds who tweak their sweet airs as they blindly fly back onto the piste, is bigger than ever.

Oh, and some time in the 60s, an angsty teenager who couldn’t ski figured he would just skateboard in the winter - but we won’t talk about that.

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