- 1 The word ski is Nordic
- 2 The first skiers were Norwegians ... or were they from Asia?
- 3 Skiing has played a key role in wars
- 4 Arthur Conan Doyle helped popularize skiing
- 5 The oldest ski resort in the world is in the French Alps
- 6 The oldest ski resort in Spain is Candanchú
- 7 The first mechanical lifts in Spain are in La Molina
- 8 Skiing has been an Olympic sport since the 1920s
- 9 Skiing helped walk on the Moon
- 10 Snowboarding is American
- 11 In its early days, snowboard was a forbidden sport in many ski resorts
- 12 Many countries have hundreds of ski resorts
- 13 Only a small percentage of Spanish people know how to ski
- 14 Snow sports, the stars in many movies
- 15 Skiing has its own patron saint
- 16 Why should you book your ski holiday now?
We've decided to bring you an interesting read about things you probably don't know about skiing and snowboarding.
Surely, you're as much a fan of skiing as we are, so it's well worth giving this post a read and stay in touch with the ski world while you're waiting for the 2022-2023 ski season to begin.
The word ski is Nordic
We couldn't start our list of ski trivia any other way. In fact, this term comes from the old Norse word skíð , which means 'piece of wood'.
Norse mythology has the figure of Skaði (or Skade), who is the goddess of winter. It is said that she lived in the snowy mountains and that, in addition to skiing, she was also an exceptional hunter, and could handle a bow. Skaði was generally depicted dressed in white.
The first skiers were Norwegians ... or were they from Asia?
Who are the pioneers? The truth is that this honor is disputed by several nations. In Norway, the first evidence of the existence of skiing within its current borders dates back to 5000 BC. We refer to Rødøy, in the county of Nordland, where a cave painting shows a man on skis and a stick.
However, this is not the only ancestral evidence of skiing. There is also another on Lake Sindor, located 1,200 km northeast of Moscow, where the oldest skis in the world were found, dating back to 6300 BC. and 5000 BC
In any case, the struggle to be the discoverers of skiing continues. According to some experts, members of the Altai mountain tribes between China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia, may have practiced a rudimentary form of skiing before the Scandinavians.
Skiing has played a key role in wars
Today, it is inevitable to link skiing with a family holiday in the snow or with friends. However, this has not always been the case. An example is found in 16th century Scandinavia, when Sweden, eager to gain control of the Baltic Sea, went to war with Denmark. During the conflict, and to evacuate the wounded, a canvas was used that was stretched with the help of skis, which gave rise to the birth of the first modern stretchers
Nor should it be forgotten that fighters located in mountainous regions have been using skis as a means of transportation for hundreds of years. This means of travel played a key role during the two world wars. And that's not all: it is believed that ski competitions would have their origin in military exercises. Without going any further, the Norwegian army began to form battalions of skiers in the middle of the 18th century
Arthur Conan Doyle helped popularize skiing
Who would have thought that the creator of Sherlock Holmes had something to do with winter sports? The famous writer began skiing in the Swiss Alps in 1893, when he moved to the Swiss country on prescription so that his wife's delicate health could improve with the mountain air.
It was there that, while learning to ski at night to avoid feeling crowded by the villagers - yes, we've all been beginner skiers at one time - he met the Branger brothers. He decided to ski with them and became the first Englishman to cross the Maienfelder Furgga, with a summit at 2,440 m.
According to The Daily Telegraph, he was also the first Englishman to write about the thrill of skiing.
The oldest ski resort in the world is in the French Alps
We are not far from the Alpine landscapes yet, since there is the ski resort of La Clusaz (Haute-Savoie, France), an hour's drive from the Swiss city of Geneva. And what's so special about it?
It first opened around 1907, which is why many believe it to be the oldest ski resort in the world. If you're thinking about skiing in the French Alps, make sure you book in advance as it's one of our top ski destionations in Europe for skiing in 2023.
The oldest ski resort in Spain is Candanchú
In Spain, the oldest ski resort is the Candanchú ski resort, which opened for the first time in 1928. Located in the heart of the Aragonese Pyrenees and less than 30 km from the city of Jaca (Huesca), it's recently known to be the perfect destination for family skiing, thanks to the services and facilities it offers to beginner skiers.
Advanced skiers will also find great tracks as its 50.5 km marked out include 16 red runs and 13 black runs.
The first mechanical lifts in Spain are in La Molina
Now is the time to stop at the Catalan Pyrenees, since the first ski lift in Spain opened on February 28, 1943 in the La Molina ski resort (Alp, Girona). Specifically, it was launched on the slopes of Fontcanaleta.
Three years later, this Catalan resort would once again be a pioneer in the installation of ski lifts, with the inauguration of the Turó de la Perdiu chairlift in the winter season of 1946-1947
Skiing has been an Olympic sport since the 1920s
Cross-country skiing has been a part of the Winter Olympics in all editions since its inception in 1924 (not to be confused with the Summer Olympics, which began in 1896 in the modern era).
Alpine skiing was first introduced at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Interesting fact: it became a hobby for the population of central Europe after the Second World War. This sport also helped to increase travel through the Alps.
Another interesting fact: the first documented alpine skiing race took place a few decades ago, in Sweden, in 1879.
Skiing helped walk on the Moon
Yes, that's right! When Harrison Schmitt visited the Moon in 1972 as one of three astronauts on the Apollo 17 spacecraft, he set the moonwalk speed record by using a thrust technique used in cross-country skiing , and the one that he said was a perfect method to move through the so-called Sea of Tranquility.
In addition, the astronaut claimed that the satellite would be an ideal place to ski in the future. Will Schmitt end up correcting his prediction? On the other hand, it remains to be seen if this inspired the singer Michael Jackson in one of his most legendary dances.
Snowboarding is American
Unlike skiing, snowboarding is much more recent. Its story begins in 1965, when Sherman R. Poppen, a citizen of Muskegon (Michigan, United States) decided to give his daughter a toy that he made himself, tying two skis to build a kind of skateboard without wheels. His family and himself called this "new sport" snurfing.
In its early days, snowboard was a forbidden sport in many ski resorts
Until the early 1980s, ski resorts banned snowboarding. Traditionally, skiing was a sport mainly practiced by middle-aged adults, while snowboarding was seen as a dangerous teenage fad. Luckily, in the 1983-1984 winter season, the Stratton Mountain Resort, in Vermont (United States) decided to open its slopes to snowboarding.
Although this helped to popularize this type of sport, it wasn't until 1998 when snowboarding was incorporated into the program of the Olympic Games, in the edition held in Nagano (Japan). From then on, snowboarding became the fastest growing sport in America.
Many countries have hundreds of ski resorts
Currently, it is estimated that 97 countries in the world have a facility equipped for skiing or snowboarding. Among them, we should mention North Korea, where there's a ski resort in the Masik mountain pass; Mount Hermon, in Israel, or Bamyan, a province located in central Afghanistan. You can also ski in Dubai as this Arab emirate has an indoor ski resort, located on a hill 60 m above sea level.
Anyway, the country with the most ski resorts is Japan, with about 550 resorts, followed at a good distance by the United States, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Canada, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in that order. Spain is far from the top-10, although it can boast of being an ideal destination for winter sports.
We don't know about you, but this has us feeling inspired to start looking for a ski holiday for the next ski season. And we have a great tip for you! Want to know which have been the top ski resorts in Europe during 2022? We like to look back at the previous ski season to help us decide where we want to go skiing next ;)
Only a small percentage of Spanish people know how to ski
It is estimated that a quarter of the population of Austria, Norway and Switzerland know how to ski or snowboard. In Spain; According to a study by Lauren Vanat in 2018 , this country has 2,369,000 ski or snowboarders, which is equivalent to approximately 5% of its population
How good are you at skiing or snowboarding? Do you struggle to find a ski resort that suits your skills? Check out our ski guide section where we have all the information you'll need so you can find your ideal ski resort in Europe as well as tips to improve your skiing skills.
Snow sports, the stars in many movies
Even the seventh art has ended up surrendering to the magic of winter sports. Hence, the ski slopes have become a recurring setting for filming great blockbusters.
Even James Bond himself, the most famous spy in the movie world, has shown his skills on skis on several occasions, in titles such as The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), The World Is Never Enough (1999) or Specter: 007 ( 2015), a film in which actor Daniel Craig suffered an injury while skiing.
007, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Skiing has its own patron saint
We've decided to finish our list of interesting facts about skiing with the following: winter sports, as well as mountaineering, also have their own saint.
We are talking about Saint Bernard of Chin (1020-1081), an Italian monk and religious who founded a hospice and monastery in a rather dangerous corner of the Swiss Alps, baptized as the Saint Bernard Pass. In his honor, the dogs trained by Swiss monks to accompany Christian pilgrims in the area are called Saint Bernard (yes, exactly: they are the ones that carry a small barrel of brandy tied to their collar)
Why should you book your ski holiday now?
Booking a ski holiday with Esquiades.com has many benefits, especially if you book in advance!
❄️ Most of our ski holidays can be cancelled for free a couple of day before your travel date.
❄️ You only need to pay 10% of your ski holiday to secure your ski deal and you can pay the rest in monthly payments or even wait until a couple of weeks before you holiday to pay your balance.
❄️ We already have incredible Early Booking discounts for ski season 2022-2023. What are you waiting for?