Norway is regarded as the birthplace of skiing

By on 05/12/2015

Norway is regarded as the birth place of modern skiing. The word “ski” is Norwegian and simply means “piece of wood” or “cleft piece of wood”. Contrary to English, the word “ski” is not a verb (only noun) in Norwegian, so Norwegians say “to walk on skis” (cross country) or “to stand on skis” (alpine skiing).

People have been skiing for more than 4,000 years in Norway. In fact, this is where skiing first became a sport.

Over the years, skiing moved from being a means of transportation, to pure fun. In the 1870s, Sondre Norheim from Morgedal in Telemarkrevolutionised skiing and introduced the dicipline we today know astelemark skiing.

The cradle of skiing

Norheim began using stiff bindings around the heel so that the skier could turn and jump without losing his skies. The ski he constructed was narrow at the middle and became the prototype for all later ski production.

Morgedal has therefore been named the cradle of ski sports and was a natural place for the Olympic flame to be lit before the Winter Olympics atLillehammer in 1994.

Polar explorers

Norwegian polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen have made a significant contribution to the existing national pride in ski sport. Roald Amundsen was the first man in history to reach the South Pole.

After crossing Greenlands’s inland frozen wasteland from east to west, the great explorer Nansen wrote that “skiing is the most national of all Norwegian sports, and what a fantastic sport it is too. If any sport deserves to be called the sport of all sports, it is surely this one”.

Much of the equipment they used when struggling across Greenland and to the South Pole have been preserved. Visit the Fram Museum and the Ski Museumto see it. Both museums are located in Oslo.

Number one winter sport

Today it is said that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. Not quite true, but as a family activity and the number one winter sport, skiing is very important. Most children start learning the skill when they are very young and Norwegians rush to the mountains and forests to ski every chance they get.

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