Although alpine skiing is now a popular recreational activity, cave and rock drawings found in Sweden prove that the sport is more than 4,500-years-old. However, back then, skiing was not a sport. It was the only viable means of transportation. Throughout the centuries, skiing eventually evolved into a popular winter sport. As such, manufacturers have altered the design of alpine skis, so that they may be suitable for different types of skiing.
Fun Fact: Early Skis Used in Breckenridge, Colorado
According to Frank Hall's History of Colorado, the first documented use of skis in the United States occurred in the area we now call Breckenridge, Colorado. The year was 1859, and gold had been discovered. However, the miners needed a reliable form of transportation. What we now call skis were called snowshoes, and what we now call snowshoes were called Indian feet. The miners would climb the hill on their Indian feet, and then switch to snowshoes to take them down the hill.
Advent of Skis
Parabolic, or shaped skis, caused a major revolution in the downhill ski industry. These skis featured a deeper side cut, which facilitated the turning and carving process. As a result, even people who were not really athletic had an easier time learning to downhill ski.
Different Types of Downhill Skis
As people became more involved in downhill skiing, ski manufacturers realized that different people were enjoying different aspects of the sport. As such, they began to create different types of skis. For example, powder skis are fatter, whereas racing skis tend to be stiffer. Twin tips are suitable for skiers who like to spend time in the parks and half pipes.
As more women began to enjoy downhill skiing, ski manufacturers began to realize that the female anatomy might present certain limitations for excelling at the sport. As a result of this realization, they began to create skis for women. These are usually lighter in weight and softer in flex. In some cases, the bindings are mounted in a forward position. Many skis for women feature attractive graphics.
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.