Skiing – History, Types and Facts

Skiing is a common winter activity in Australia. It involves skis to glide on snow for basic transportation, recreation or competitive sporting. Skiing is estimated to be almost five millennia old, and the word 'ski comes from the old Norse word 'skio' meaning firewood or split wood. In Victoria, skiing is a popular activity, and it has some of the top-rated places to ski in Australia, like Mt Buller, Lake Mountain, Falls Creek etc. If you are an avid skier or want to start this activity, here's your guide to understanding its history and types. Additionally, read on to learn fun facts about skiing.


According to prehistoric accounts, skiing was used for hunting, transporting and war. The oldest skis date back to 8000 and 7000 BCE and were traced to Russia. Ski was found in northern Europe, and rock carvings depicting the equipment were found in the arctic circle in Norway. Additionally, 1,000 to 3,500 years old ski fragments were present in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Carvings, ski equipment and other findings have made it clear that the activity wasn't confined to Europe. There is written evidence that suggests skiing was also present in China. It is safe to assume that places with snow had some form of skiing.


Skiing has been used for recreation and competitive sports for hundreds of years. Therefore, it is natural it has multiple types. Here are some of the most common ones.

  1. Nordic Skiing
Also known as classic skiing, the Nordic type of this activity is suitable for hilly terrains. Therefore, most events include relay races, cross country races and ski-jumping. Before 1970, Nordic skiing includes following parallel tracks. However, Bill Koch used skating strides and pushed outside parallel lines. It is now called skating skiing and involves longer poles and shorter skis. Skiers also need to wear higher boots for better ankle support.

  1. Alpine Skiing
A more modern approach to skiing was the alpine skiing method. It is done on mountain terrains to allow downhill and fast racing. Alpine skiing is most commonly done for competitive racing. Modern alpine competitions are divided into four races slalom, giant slalom, supergiant slalom and downhill. These races are progressively faster and have fewer turns. Many places also conduct combined races with slalom and downhill techniques.

  1. Freestyle Racing
Like every other sport or recreational activity, skiing also has freestyle and focuses on acrobatics. Freestyle skiing races can be acro, aerial or mogul. For example, an acro race can have moves from figure skating, gymnastics, jumps, flips, spins etc. Freestyle racing also includes somersaulting and other tricks.

Fun Facts About Skiing

Are you interested in learning more about skiing? Here are chickwithskit fun facts about this recreational and competitive sport.
  • Skiing was originally a form of transport in European mountains before it became a recreational and sport activity.
  • While today men and women enjoy the sport alike, in the 19th century, it was called a man's sport, and women were encouraged to ice skate.
  • Across the world, more than 350 million people visit ski resorts or areas every year.
  • You can burn up to 350 to 400 calories via downhill skiing.
  • Skiing is a popular sport in Australia as people do it in the Australian Alps in Victoria, New South Wales and Australia Capital Territory.
  • Victoria has the greatest number of ski resorts in Australia, and most of them are close to its capital Melbourne.
  • The first ski lift was installed and operated at Mount Buller in 1949.
  • In 1957, the first chairlift was installed at Falls Creek, and it is now the biggest ski resort in Victoria.
  • A professional skier can go faster than a car and Simone Origone proved it.
  • British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced skiing to Switzerland.
  • Skiing is the only English letter with a double 'i' in the middle.


Skiing is a popular Australian sport, especially in Melbourne and other regions of Victoria. Therefore, if you are in the state during the winter season, visit one of Victoria's famous ski resorts. Once you do it, you will want to do it every winter.  

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