THE HISTORY OF SKIING
The aim of this work is to summarize the history of skiing and at the same time, to highlight the main characteristics of this sport in our country. Thus, firstly, we will talk about the general history of skiing, and then, we will focus on our country and its resorts.
It is clear that skiing is not only a favorite sport for many; it can be also considered an art. However, the history of this famous sport is somewhat obscure. Regarding its origins and thanks to historians ‘works, we do have a good idea of the basic history of skiing. It is clear that the first type of skiing was cross country skiing, which then evolved into downhill skiing. It is also thought that skiing has been around since before Christ, when the Norwegian hunters had to ski on flat wood to get more speed when hunting animals. The first findings were found in Rodody, Norway, although other proof has been found in Russia, for the same use.
But, this did not remain the same. Downhill skiing came later, during a more modern era. In 1850, Sondre Norheim, a Norwegian, constructed a birch binding that enabled skiers to ski without the risk of losing their skis. Norheim’s bindings were perhaps the first stiff bindings, which tied his boots to his skis and provided more control than leather straps. While others had built devices similar to this before Norheim, he paired his birch binding with shorter, curved skis that enabled him to win the first Norwegian downhill skiing competition. Most historians believe that Norheim’s method of skiing is similar to the modern day form of telemark, or “free heel” skiing.
So, it is obvious that with more and more improvements, skiing became the popular recreational activity that we participate in today. In other words, little by little, techniques were perfected to be able to use skis, and the art of skiing was born: how to ski over flat plains with no hills, styles of ski, discipline etc. Material for skis has gradually been improved over the years to increase mobility and use. In addition to this, lots of ski brands were set up. In addition to this, we cannot forget the first Skiing Olympics that took place in the town of Chamonix and later in St. Moritz and Oslo.
Spanish skiing started later. It grown steadily since the Spanish Civil War, where it played an important role in the military ski units. After the war in 1941, the Spanish Ski Federation was born, and nowadays thousands upon thousands of tourists enjoy the fantastic facilities on offer in the many ski stations present in the country, most across the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada. Regarding Spain, we have to state that it began being practiced widely around the start of the 1900s when Candanchu (became a popular destination for people wanting to try out this new sport. Other destinations such as Sierra Nevada , Valgrande-Pajares and Navacerrada then quickly followed suit, seeing the many economic advantages that could be gained from offering this type of tourism. Nowadays, enthusiasts of this age-old sport can choose the type of Spanish resort best suited to their preferences.The largest resorts are Formigal, in the Aragón Pyrenees and Baqueira Beret, in the Catalan Pyrenees, and Sierra Nevada, in Andalusia. The rest are scattered across different parts of the country, and are ideal for longer stays and for those who want to combine skiing with other activities.
So, about Spain, we could also add that the first snows usually come in late November or early December. This is when the country’s 33 ski resorts get up and running. Mountain passes and snow-covered valleys, along with facilities which are constantly being refurbished to provide enthusiasts with a whole range of exciting options after a day’s sport. Spain’s ski resorts all offer excellent infrastructure and transport links. (http://www.loveandpiste.co.uk/historyofskiing.php) In general, all of Spain’s ski resorts are characterized by their excellent location, as well as good transport connections and services. Facilities designed to satisfy skiers’ requirements before, during and after the runs.
In the end, it did not matter which ski resort you chose if you are going to enjoy the feeling of standing on top of a mountain or the unexplainable sensation of feeling absolutely tiny in the shadow of these huge mountains along with feeling so tall, like you can conquer anything.
So, in conclusion, some things will never change. In the past skiers wanted to evade the reality, they did not want to think at all. Currently, and even the material has been improved, skiers do not want to think clearly. We just want to feel whole, feed our need for exploration and our need for a challenge, while spending a good time with our family or friends.
A video about skiing and skiers ‘feeling:
- Butlers, S. (2007). The History of Skiing. Retrieved from http://www.skibutlers.com/history-of-skiing.aspx
- Dawson, L. (2007). The background skiing blog. Retrieved from http://www.wildsnow.com/
- Doyle, M. (2010). Skiing History. Retrieved from http://skiing.about.com/od/downhillskiing/a/skiinghistory.htm
- Eskí., F. I. de. (2008). Welcome to the History of Skiing. Retrieved from .
- History of Skiing. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.loveandpiste.co.uk/historyofskiing.php
- Lund, M. (2011). A short story of skis. Retrieved from http://www.skiinghistory.org/index.php/2011/08/a-short-history-of-skis/