Skis: What We Need to Know

Skis Basics

From the beginning of skiing to the type of ski-related activities we participate in today, this article will cover it all. In essence, skiing is a recreational sport that involves propelling oneself across snow via special equipment called skis that are connected to our feet using bindings.

Skis have been around for thousands of years and originally had the function of being a mode of transportation in aerial hunting for the Paleo-Eskimo people in Asia and North America.


Later on, in the 7th century B.C., skis were used for recreation by the Scandinavian people. They would attach sharpened stones to ski-like boards and propel themselves across frozen lakes and rivers (Skiing). Unfortunately, this type of skiing was very dangerous because the board did not have a way to maintain balance while being propelled through the water.

Furthermore, if one were to fall over it was impossible to get up because your legs would be trapped by the board (Skiing). Ancient Europe also had its form of skiing which made use of shodden hooves or flaps tied under their feet to help them move faster across snowy terrain (Kembel).

This type of skiing made it much easier to travel long distances because the skier was no longer restricted by their foot. Modern-day skiing is a much safer and practical sport. The equipment has evolved greatly since its origins as transport, to recreation, to the modernized version that many people use every winter season (Skiing).

The tradition of skiing is said to have begun in Northern Finland, which is where the word ski comes from. The people of this region were called the Sami people, who are still referred to today as the Laplanders by many others.

End Note

They were nomads whose livelihood depended on transportation across vast distances in an area that received very little sunlight each year. Thus, they began to design and construct a long wooden plank that could serve as an aid in traveling over the snow with great speed and ease.

By attaching it to one’s feet, the person was able to simultaneously move forward and steer with their hands; this created two different tracks in the snow (one for each foot), which made for smooth and simple mobility.

The skis were designed such that the foot would be positioned relatively close to the middle of the board; this helped balance out weight distribution and made it easier to navigate the snow ruts of others using skis as well.

Furthermore, one can also use skis for fun activities like skiing jumps and ski races. While the history of skiing is not very clear, it has been speculated that skiing originated when nomads in Asia made the transition from using skis where snow conditions prevented travel by foot.

When skiing was first conceived, it was born out of the need for survival. It wasn’t until later that skis took on an artistic flair when used for sporting events or recreation, resulting in the invention of ski-jumping and slalom. It is these types of activities that are the most popular when it comes to ski sports.

This is not to say that skiing as a general activity didn’t exist before. There are drawings from around 3000 BC in what is now Turkey depicting the use of skis by hunters and soldiers. Archaeologists have also found early ski-like objects in China predating these Turkish drawings by about 500 years.

The first actual instance of skiing as we know it was documented in Norway where the Skíðblaðnir, a Viking ship that could carry over thirty people and its cargo, had skis attached to its sides.

The Norwegians used this method of transport to cross all types of terrain and geographical elements like seas and rivers. However, skis were not initially used as a recreational activity, but rather as an instrument for transportation.

This is the same reason skis were put to use by several other cultures at some point in their history, including those of Lapland and Japan.

The first time skis were used for recreation-related activities that we would currently recognize was around 600 years ago when the Sami people of Lapland, a region north of Scandinavia, began making and using skis as a pastime.

The first documented instance of skiing as recreation was when an Englishman wrote about the “Northern Race” that took place every April between two towns in Norway where people from one town would ski to meet those from another town.

Once they met, the townsfolk would partake in singing, dancing, and feasting. It is important to note that skis were not used for racing at this point but merely as a mode of transportation to allow participants to arrive on location. A noted source about the history of skiing is the Norwegian book “Skiing Through History.

More details

To give you an idea of when skiing started, let’s go back to the Bronze Age. The earliest indication of skiing being used for transportation was in Northern Europe during this period when skis were used along with packs pulled by dogs or other animals. Skis were primarily designed for travel over snow and ice, and later became used as a hunting tool.

The Norse people, who lived about 1,000 years ago during the Iron Age were known to be excellent skiers according to historical sources such as Adam of Bremen, an 11th-century cleric from Germany.

The word ‘ ski ‘ comes from the Old Norse “skid” which means wooden plank or split piece of wood. However, some linguists claim that the word is likely derived from Proto-Slavic.

In the old days, skis were made of either wood or animal bone, and the typical length was around 3 meters. The front portion was cut down to a thin strip of approximately 10 cm wide, which is why they are sometimes called ‘ long bones ‘. They were also detachable so that sections could be replaced if needed.

To ski used to have very practical purposes and was mostly used to hunt or travel across large areas of land. Men and women alike were able to ski, utilizing their skills both in hunting and transportation.

It is believed that skiing originated somewhere in Eastern Europe where there was a greater need for such activity than what was available in Northern Europe.

Skis were also used as a military tool for moving troops across difficult terrain and icy surfaces. By the time of the Roman Empire, skiing was already popular in places such as modern-day Russia and Central Asia. Back then, skis stood upright and were fastened to boots using leather straps.

Skiing Category

A person riding skis down a snow covered slope
  • Alpine skiing is the most common type of skiing which includes a stiff boot being secured to ski and involves skiing down mountains. Alpine skiing is divided into three different categories:
  • Ski Jumping is a winter sport in which skiers go down a ramp and jump off of it before landing again on the ground.
  • Telemark skiing is where the boot is only attached at the toe and the heel is free. Telemark skiers sometimes walk up the mountains in their skis before skiing down the mountain.
  • Cross country skiing involves the use of lighter shoes and narrower skis and is also open at the heel. This type of skiing takes place on flatter trails.

Piste, Slope, and Trail                     

Snowmaking is the process of forming snow into a compacted and flattened state by snow machines to keep skiers and snowboarders from sinking. They are usually graded to provide a measure of their difficulty and steepness. Graded pistes come in varieties:

  • Nursery slopes – Beginners.
  • Green – Very easy and gentle slope.
  • Blue – Easy slope and not deep.
  • Red – Intermediate.
  • Black – Advanced slope.
  • Ski route – Marked and patrolled off-piste route.

Off-piste refers to areas of a mountain that have not yet been groomed. Because it has not been marked and groomed, skiers will sink and it is considered to be hazardous owing to rocks and avalanches.

Lift Pass

It’s a ticket that allows you to use the lifts at a ski resort. The pass is similar to a credit card that may be easily placed in a pocket.


This refers to “after skiing” in French and is a catchall phrase for any sort of entertainment engaged in by skiers following a day on the slopes. This might range from social gatherings to clubbing to dining events, all of which are held at ski resorts. The goal of these activities is to provide tourists with some rest and alternative amusement.

Packed Powder and Powder

The term “packed powder” refers to snow that has been compressed to prevent skiers from sinking. Packed powder, on the other hand, is used to describe snow that has not been compacted and is suited for snowboarders.


Water is melting from the snow and forming ice crystals. It’s most typical during ski seasons when numerous people are on the slopes. In slushy regions, skiers remark that they’re skiing on wet concrete.


When there isn’t much snowfall, pistes become solid and icy. This makes pushing the skis into the snow difficult and impairs the skier’s control.


Avalanches are classified as either skier- or snowboarder-caused, natural phenomena that start suddenly. It takes place in regions where a fragile layer of natural snow breaks away and slides down the hill.

Moguls and Bumps

A man riding on top of a snow covered mountain

These are snowballs that have formed as a result of a lot of skiers skiing in the same area.

Skis, Snowboards, Boots, Bindings, and Poles

All of the equipment you’ll need to ski is included in this package. On your visit, you have the option of purchasing or renting from the resorts. Another alternative is to borrow equipment from individuals who are smaller than you; however, they may not be as large.

  • Helmet

This is one of the most essential ski pieces of equipment for falls and collisions. For youngsters, wearing a helmet is required by law.

Skiing is a popular winter sport that has been around for centuries. From its humble origins as a competitive event to the worldwide phenomenon, it’s become, skiing now comes in many forms and varieties from slalom racing to snowboarding on mountains with moguls. T

here are different types of gear involved as well as different styles of skiing- some more difficult than others. Skiing may involve learning how to use all your equipment or just going down the slopes without any equipment at all.

The most important thing you can do before heading up into those snowy hills? Protect yourself by wearing a helmet and other safety gear so you have nothing but fun memories when coming back down again.

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