Massachusetts skiing may be fairly new in the overall history of skiing, but it is part of an age-old sport that dates back long before what is considered modern civilization. Historians trace back the history of skiing for practical uses such as hunting and traveling across the snowy terrain of what is now Norway and Russia more than 5000 years ago. Furthermore, those who have researched the subject believe that skis were developed in parts of Asia and Europe during the Ice Age.
Skiing as a sport and recreational pastime has a more recent development with Sondre Norheim in the 1860s. Norheim is credited with developing techniques to bind the feet to the skis so that they are not lost. Norheim also developed skis that were more flexible so that skiers had greater control and could turn more easily in the snow. Not surprisingly, these developments are a source of national pride for the Norwegians, particularly when they hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Oslo in 1952.
Of course, skiing has come a long way from the finding of the oldest skis in Russia, which date back between 6300-5000 BC, to its more modern incarnations from Norheim’s developments. By 1870, skiing was becoming more of an accepted form of competition rather than just a novelty in various parts of the world including the US and Australia. By 1875, the first ski club and the first ski school were formed in Oslo.
Norwegians continued to make important contributions to the development of skiing throughout the sport’s history. By 1928, Bror With developed the Rottefella binding, or rat trap, binding that has become a staple of cross country skiing. The United States also finally established skiing as a popular past time the next year when Katherine Peckett opened the first resort-based ski school in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. Just three short years later, cross country skiing and ski jumping were included in the Winter Olympic Games.
After other developments in the skis themselves, the sport and pastime had some developments that have now become commonplace in skiing. The first overhead chairlift was established in Sun Valley, Idaho in 1936 and training in ski combat had also become common by then. The growth of the industry continued so that artificial snow began to appear in various parts of the United States including Connecticut and New York while many ski companies like Plymold and Sailer grew and offered other developments in skis.
Of course, the Norwegians continued to be a force in the development of skiing. Serge Lang was a major force in starting FIS World Cup at Berchtesgaden in 1967. Canada also made some important contributions with the development of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiers and the incorporation of the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation in 1976. Needless to say, skiing has since been a staple of life in athletic competitions and recreational sports for some time.
Whether training for a competition or just out on the slopes for a little fun, there are lots of opportunities for skiing in Massachusetts whether you are just beginning or a pro. With its reputation for fine skiing resorts, Massachusetts has positioned itself as an important part of skiing’s history as well as a premier location for a day out on the slopes in a ski vacation.