A SHORT HISTORY OF SKIING

W Tatrach spadł pierwszy śnieg i nieuchronnie zbliża się zima – a wraz z nią kolejny sezon narciarski. Czy wiecie, że historia narciarstwa sięga tysięcy lat wstecz, a niektórzy twierdzą nawet, że narty zostały wynalezione wcześniej niż koło? Polecamy krótki artykuł w języku angielskim o historii tego popularnego sportu.

Skiing has come a long way since its ancient origins to the modern ski lifts and hi-tech ski gear. Surprising as it may sound, the sport has a history of at least 8000 years and some people claim that the ski was invented before the wheel!
The earliest set of skis was found in Northern Russia and dates back to 6000 BC. Archaeologists have also discovered rock paintings from that period, presenting prehistoric skiers hunting reindeer and elk. Skis and snowshoes were first invented to cross frozen wetlands and marshes. They enabled people to travel during the winter as walking in deep snow was slow and exhausting. The first skis were rather simple: Stone Age hunters began strapping long pieces of wood to their feet to travel farther and faster over snow. Long femur bones from animals were also used to make skis.
Skis – mostly wooden ones – were in regular use by Scandinavian farmers, hunters and warriors throughout the Middle Ages and skiing as a means of transport evolved in Scandinavia for military reasons. In the 1760s, the Norwegian army held competitions involving skiing down slopes, around trees and across snowfields and these races were precursors to Olympic sports.
Over time more and more civilians – both in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe – were trying their hand at skiing. In the 1880s there was a shift from Nordic skiing (cross-country skiing), to Alpine skiing (downhill skiing), because gliding down a mountainside turned out to be a lot more fun than skiing across flat terrain.
Interestingly, he word ‘ski’ comes from the Old Norse word ‘skíð’ which means ‘stick of wood’ or ‘ski’ and the modern English word is quite similar to the original!