• Ski is from the Old Norse skio meaning split piece of wood.
  • The oldest know ski found in Sweden dates from 4,500 – 2,500 BC.


  • The sport of modern skiing derives from ancient Nordic skiing. Most other snowbound cultures, like the Inuit, developed snowshoes which involve stepping rather than sliding.
  • The biggest innovator in the world of Nordic skiing was Sondre Norheim (1825 – 1897) from Telemark, he created Telemark bindings, enabling a skier to jump & turn while going downhill.

Conan Doyle

  • Not only brought us Sherlock Holmes but those of you who enjoy skiing in the Swiss Alps Swiss have him to thank. After falling in love with the sport in Norway he thought Switzerland’s terrain would be perfect for the sport. He imported a few pairs of skis and encouraged two Swiss brothers to join him one day. The brothers used to practise at night so that the local wouldn’t laugh at them.

Boards & Sleds

  • In 1965, Sherman Poppen from Michigan made a snowboard for his daughter by binding two skis together. He called it the ‘Snurfer’ and he sold nearly a million of them within a decade.
  • Bobsledding was invented in the 1870s in St Moritz by Caspar Badrutt. In an attempt to make his hotel more popular with English guests during the winter season he modified delivery sleds and sent his guests flying around the town’s streets. This became so popular he built the first half pipe as the pedestrians were so terrified. From the origin of this half pipe, sports such as the luge, skeleton & bobsledding developed.

The Cresta Run – The legendary run in St Moritz was built in 1884 by British Military officers and it remains completely off limits to women as a competitive sport.