Welcome to 2016 Newschoolers! It’s a new year, so that means it’s time to learn new things. This year I’m tackling the origin of skiing, from its roots to the current state. We’re going all the way back to 8,000 B.C. in order to find the earliest depictions of skiing.

Via National Geographic, Esther Jacobson-Tepfer

The Ice Age has ended, and in the Mongolian/Chinese Altay Mountains, cave art shows images of skiers hunting down prey. The skis attached to their feet are long, and have tacked on horse hair for grip. A single pole was used for balance- as skis were used to glide across many miles of snow covered land. That doesn’t mean they’ve found any skis like this. As a matter of fact, people often dispute whether it was Russia or China that had the first skis.

The Scandinavian countries have long been credited with creating the sport of skiing, and perfecting the ski as a vital piece of hunting technology. In Vis, Russia a ski adorned with a carved elk head was uncovered. It’s from approximately 6,000 B.C. and is the first ancient ski to be uncovered. Long and slender, this ski was probably used for hunting purposes, not sliding down hills trying to get ladies.

Ullr by Eric J Button

Jumping to 3,200 B.C. The Swedish use a similar shaped ski as the (Ancient) Russians. They however, created a long pole with a paddle like scoop on the end. This versatile pole was used for clubbing, shoveling, and even steering.

Ending today’s journey in 750 A.D. with the short, wide Finnish ski. Not much is known about it, Just that the Finnish are creative in their skiing ways, as this more closely resembles a snow shoe than a ski. It was maneuverable through forests, as short skis typically are.

Viking Nevo Sport Club has a huge page dedicated to Finnish skis

So, did cavemen ski? Unless you think of cavemen as the early humans from the last Ice Age (which ended 11,700 years ago) then yes- cavemen skied, three thousand years after the Ice Age ended. Next week we’re tackling the begin of the sport, skiing from 1600-1800 and the organization of the first skiing clubs.