National Geographic : 1959 Feb
Rubber-tired Cable Cars of the World's Only Skimobile Whisk a Thousand Skiers an Hour skis, they devised a crude battlefield stretcher. In 1307 the Persian writer Rashid al-Din described skiing among the Mongols: "In their land are many mountains and woods where snow falls in abundance, so they hunt eagerly in winter on the frozen snow. For this purpose, they make boards out of wood, which they call sana or hana, they fasten them on their feet with straps, take a staff in their hand and press this staff against the earth, so that they glide on the upper surface of the snow, as one goes in a canoe on water." By the middle of the 19th century skiing had graduated from its purely utilitarian character and, particularly in Scandinavia, people were doing it for fun. Cross-country racing and jumping thrived in Norway, and Norwegian 224 immigrants brought their skis when they re settled abroad. But it was the Arlberg tech nique of the Austrian Alps that emancipated skiers from the sedate upright style of the north countries. The next stop on my swing through the Northeast was Stowe, Vermont, a typical New England town dominated by a church spire. Severely plain farmsteads-interspersed with ultramodern ski lodges with big picture win dows-dot the valley between the town and Mount Mansfield, six miles to the northeast. The air was crisp and snow crunched under foot, and as I rode up Spruce Peak, the sun shone warm on my back. Swinging through the air, I had a bird's-eye view of Mount Mansfield and the ski trails on its flanks.