For those who haven’t yet embraced the wonderful world of living inside a dreamlike snow-globe environment for a week, getting lots of exercise and meeting people from all over the world, here are a few facts on the sport of sliding.
Bet you didn’t know that! Cammy Harley brings us up to speed on skiing’s background in bullet-point format for those that like to feel a bit more informed before committing to the thrill of sliding down a mountainside at 80km/hour.
Top Ten Interesting Facts about Skiing.
• Before it became a sport, Skiing was a method of transportation in the mountains of Europe.
• The word Ski, has its origins in the Norwegian word skíð, which means piece of wood.
• The oldest known ski, found in Sweden, dates from 4,500-2,500BC.
• In Asia, skiing may be even older. High in the Altai Mountains a Mongol tribe still makes skis by splitting spruce trees by hand and wrapping them in the dried skin of horses to give them grip going up and to slow them down while descending.
• During the later part of the 19th century, skiing was considered more of a ‘man’s sport’ and women were encouraged to take up skating instead.
• The first recorded downhill skiing race was held in Sweden, in 1879. Alpine skiing as a sport made its Winter Olympic debut in the year 1936• As a competitive sport, skiing is generally classified as Alpine, Nordic or Freestyle skiing. Alpine skiing has fixed heel bindings, Nordic skiing does not have a fixed heel, and freestyle skiing involves jumps and performance based routines.
• Skiing downhill with moderate effort can burn up to 350-400 calories per hour.
• Speed skiing is one of the fastest non-motorized sports on land. Italian skier Simone Origone currently holds the world record for the fastest downhill ski, clocking 251.4 km/hour in 2006 at Les Arcs.
• Arthur Conan Doyle fell in love with skiing and invited 2 Swiss brothers to join him on a ski holiday. They practised at night to avoid being teased by the locals and Arthur later wrote ‘I am convinced that the time will come when hundreds of English men will come for the skiing season’.