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Facts about skiing

Skiing is one of the most famous and classic winter sports that has been so enjoyed by people for centuries that entire resorts and mountainsides are now dedicated to promoting this activity. However, skiing actually started as a means of transportation, not as a sport or a hobby. Centuries ago, in the snowy mountains of Europe, people used skis to simply travel from one place to another when the snow made walking too difficult!

Skiing is one of the first sports that was included on the Winter Olympics roster.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ski jumping is a very popular Winter Games event.
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

At present there are several different types of skiing and all of these events have their own rules and regulations. Alpine skiing takes place on steep hills while cross-country skiing more resembles taking a journey on skis (much like skis were originally used for). Ski jumping requires competitors to ski off a slope, fly through the air, and make a clean landing. Freestyle skiing is arguable the most extreme form of the sport that demands that competitors ski over moguls (small bumpy hills of snow) and ski off ramps where they are expected to do twists and turns while in mid-air.

Skiing can be a dangerous sport but it is also one that many people find enjoyable. Children who are homeschooled can use skiing lessons as a way to meet their gym credits and, for those lucky talented few, getting involved with skiing might eventually lead to participation in the Olympic Games!

Below are some facts about skiing:

• Cross-country skiing has been a part of the Winter Olympics since it started in 1924. There were two races (15 kilometers and 50 kilometers) and the same man, Norway’s Thorleif Haug, won gold in both events.

• Alpine skiing was introduced to the Winter Olympics in 1936. A German man named Franz Pfnur won the event’s first gold medal.

• After World War II interest in alpine skiing boomed, partly because people got more interested in the sport after watching it on TV.

• Njorn Dahlie of Norway is the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. He dominated the sport of cross-country skiing in the 1990s and won a total of 12 medals (8 gold).

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