National Geographic : 2013 Dec
92 national geographic • month 2011 Ski Hair Snow Turn left Turn right 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kola Peninsula, Russia Alta, Norway Rødøy, Norway Böksta, Sweden Zalavruga, Russia Sogoo Gol, Mongolia Baga Oigor Gol, Mongolia RUSSIA CHINA FINLAND KAZAKHSTAN MONGOLIA SWEDEN NORWAY AL TAY MOUNT AINSSCANDINA VIA SIBERIA 1 2 34 5 6 Rock art depicting skiers Area of ski origin (debated) 12 feet 10 8 6 4 2 0 A History of Skis After the last ice age, Stone Age hunters began strapping long pieces of wood to their feet to travel farther and faster over snow in pursuit of the game that flourished across Europe and Asia. Adaptations for terrain and snow conditions influenced the design of the skis in different regions. Scientists continue to find evidence of these early skiers engraved in rock and preserved in bogs. Downhill technique Unlike a modern skier, who bends forward on his skis during descents, an Altay skier trails his pole behind, leaning back on it for balance. To turn, he moves the pole to the side he wishes to turn and leans in that direction, which tilts his skis. To slow down or stop, he swivels his heels off his skis and drags them in the snow. Historians are divided on where skiing was born. Some argue it arose in Scandinavia and northwest Russia, though others point to the Altay region. Altay skis The grain of the horsehair is aligned so it digs into the snow as the skier climbs but glides on descents. 8000 B.C. (disputed) Altay, China Altay skis are long by modern standards. Skiers use a single pole to aid balance. Some Chinese academics say the earliest Altay skis date back to 8000 B.C ., but other scholars say skiing came to the region much later.