Wooden skis have been in use for more than 5,000 years, as evidenced by rock paintings and skis preserved in bogs.
Military units in Nordic countries used wooden skis to aid travel over snowy country. Norwegian paintings show warriors on skis, and by the 18th century the Swedish army trained and competed on skis made out of wood.
Woodcarvers in Norway developed the first cambered wooden skis in 1850. The upward arch in the middle of the ski allowed the skis to be made thinner and lighter, flexing more easily and floating better on the snow's surface.
The first two-layer laminated skis were produced in Norway in 1893. While this technology was still far from perfect, its introduction allowed the production of lighter, more resilient skis and reduced the use of expensive hardwoods.
While all-wooden skis have largely been replaced by synthetic materials, some snow skis still use a wooden core sandwiched between other materials.
Article Written By Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.