In the Xinjiang region, now China, wall paintings that date back 5000 years show the use of skis. It is said that modern skiing evolved from Scandinavian beginnings, it is, however, still debated because of other findings that might be older.
Originally skiing was only used in utilitarian ways. It was a way to travel over snow doing daily business and tasks. Norse mythology described a god and goddess hunting on skis. A few millennia later, there are reports of king Sverre of Norway that sent troops on a ski patrol.
Skis were used to make traveling over snow possible. Like everything else in the world, skis and skiing also evolved through the years and with technology. At first, skis were used only to make daily travel safer and faster and chores easier.
Skis Then and Skis Now
People that lived in climates where snow fell for many months during the year, developed some form of skis and skiing. In Russia, Sweden, China, Norway, Lapland, Scandinavia, and many other countries, also not situated in Europe and Asia, many fragments of skis were found.
Some of these fragments can be traced back to prehistoric times. Some of these first skis seemed to have been broad and short, resembling snowshoes, rather than modern skis. Skiing has been employed by the military from very early on. Ski troops were deployed in warfare and they also competed in military ski competitions.
Skis had to be of thicker wood to not bend or bow when gliding, and not sink under the skier’s weight. Skis evolved from this to the use of many other products like fiberglass, carbon fibers, and epoxy.
Different materials are used in different brands of skis. Wood, like Ash, Poplar, Beech, and Okume is most common for use in the core of skis. Aluminum and foam can also be used for core materials and is cheaper.
The outer part of the skis is manufactured from a wide array of different materials. Fiberglass and other types of fibers are used for the outside. The bottom part or base of the ski is now mostly made out of polyethylene.