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in which country was skiing invented
Fragments of ski-like objects, discovered by 1960s archaeologist Grigoriy Burov, date back to 6000 BC in northern Russia. Skis and snowshoes were first invented to cross wetlands and marshes in the winter when they froze over.
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When Were Skis Invented? The very first skis date back to 8000 years BC and were found in Northern China. They were made of 2-metre-long pieces of wood and were covered in horsehair (could you imagine skiing on those today!?)
A Short History of Skis
Håkon Håkonsson, the two-year-old future king of Norway, being taken from Lillehammer to Østerdalen in 1206. Ultimate safety for the prince lay further on, in Nidaros (now Trondheim). The intrepid Birkebeiner skiers are Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka. Painted in 1869 by Knud Larsen Bergslien (1827-1908). Thanks to Mike Brady for the history.
Rock paintings and skis preserved in bogs show that hunters and trappers used skis at least 5000 years ago, but skis are even older than that: As glaciers retreated, stone age hunters followed reindeer and elk herds from central Asia’s Altai region, moving to the northwest and northeast, using skis covered with fur that worked like modern climbing skins. Skis came to be used across the Eurasian arctic regions.
Early modern period:
Skis were in regular use by Scandinavian farmers, hunters and warriors throughout the Middle Ages. By the 18th century, units of the Swedish Army trained and competed on skis.
The cambered ski was developed by woodcarvers in the province of Telemark, Norway.
The bow-shape cambered ski arches up toward the center to distribute the weight of the skier more evenly across the length of the ski.
Before this, skis had to be thick to glide without bowing downward and sinking in the snow under the skier’s weight, concentrated in the middle.
If a ski is allowed to bow downward this way, the skier finds himself constantly skiing uphill, out of a hole his own weight has made in the snow.
Camber made possible a thinner, lighter ski that did not sink at the middle.
The thin, cambered ski floated more easily over soft snow, flexed more easily to absorb the shock of bumps, maneuvered more easily because it was lighter and easier to swing into a turn.
The thinner, lighter ski ran faster and maneuvered with better agility than the clumsier sideways skid of the plank-thick older “transportation” skis.
In a parallel development, skimakers learned that sidecut enabled more agile turning.
Sondre Norheim demonstrated the Telemark ski, with a sidecut that narrowed the ski underfoot while the tip and tail remained wider. In the same way as the camber, the sidecut produced a ski that flexed more easily when tipped on edge, so that in a turn its edge followed the shape of the turn instead of skidding sideways. He also popularized a stiffer binding that held the heel centered over the ski when turning. Norheim and his friends formed a small pioneer group of early skiers who improved the ski as they developed the first dynamic turns in downhill running, from 1850 to 1900.
Most high-quality Eurpean skis were made of strong, springy ash. In 1882, the first hickory skis produced in Norway. Hickory is so hard and tough that it was difficult to work with traditional hand tools. But with modern carbon-steel tools, Norwegian ski makers began turning out hickory skis. The tough wood made it possible to build a thinner, more flexible ski with good strength, and the hard base was less likely to gouge and scar enough to slow the ski down or cause it to sideslip during a downhill run. Hickory was imported at great expense from Louisiana, and Norwegian immigrants in Wisconsin and Minnesota very quickly figured out that, with easier access to lumber stocks, they could make excellent quality hickory skis more cheaply than their friends back in the old country could. By 1887 several Norwegian skimakers, like the Hemmestveit brothers, had relocated to the U.S.
The first two-layer laminated ski was built by H.M. Christiansen, in Norway. Using a tough hickory or ash base with a lighter body of spruce or basswood made for a lighter, springier ski and reduced the need to carve up thick planks of expensive hardwoods. But the flexible hide glues then in use were not strictly waterproof, so the skis tended to delaminate after a few days’ hard use. Meanwhile, in Glarus, Switzerland, carpenter Melchior Jacober launches what is apparently the first ski factory in Central Europe.
An alpine unit of the French Army undertook the first series production of a Telemark-style ski in France, at Briancon.
The segmented steel edge, invented by part-time mountaineer Rudolph Lettner of Salzburg, Austria, gave skis much better grip on hard snow while still allowing the wood to flex naturally. However, the segments had to be screwed into the ski, and tended to come loose. Worse, edge segments could break in two. In that case, it was difficult or impossible to continue skiing. Skiers usually carried spare edge segments, along with a screwdriver, screws and glue, to make field repairs.
Swiss ski racer Guido Reuge invents the Kandahar binding, using a spring-loaded cable to hold the heel down for alpine skiing.
Solid aluminum ski prototyped in France.
The first successful three-layer laminated skis were invented by Bjørn Ullevoldsaeter in Norway and independently by George Aaland in Seattle. Because they were made with really waterproof casein glues, the skis did not delaminate easily and lasted much longer. When it was found that skis with vertically laminated cores proved lighter, livelier, and stronger, sales took off. The first of these skis were marketed under the Splitkein (“split-cane”) label in Norway and as Anderson & Thompson skis in the U.S.
Limited production of solid aluminum ski by Joseph Vicky in France.
Aluminum ski poles reach mass production in Saint-Ouen, France.
R.E.D. Clark of Cambridge, England, developed the formaldehyde-based adhesive Aerolite to hold airplanes together– for instance, it was used in the all-wood deHavilland Mosquito bomber. Aerolite phenol glue is still manufactured by Ciba-Geigy. In 1941 he created Redux, used to bond aluminum and other impervious metals.
Cellulix, the first cellulose plastic bottom, made to go on Dynamic skis in France.
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History of skiing
Skiing, or traveling over snow on skis, has a history of at least eight millennia. The earliest archaeological examples of skis were found in Russia and date to 6000 BCE. Although modern skiing has evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, 5000-year-old wall paintings suggest use of skis in the Xinjiang region of what is now China; however, this continues to be debated. Originally purely utilitarian, starting in the mid-1800s skiing became a popular recreational activity and sport, becoming practiced in snow-covered regions worldwide, and providing a market for the development of ski resorts and their related communities.