The History of Skiing

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As you can see in the picture above this text, skiing was a popular sport B.C. Many people came to watch skiers. The picture was taken in Revelstoke in the 1950's.

To learn more about the history of skiing in Revelstoke

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James Curran, was the person who invented the chair lift. He based the chair on a banana loader he had previously designed. The device worked, and alpine skiing really took off after that. This first chair lift was built by the Union Pacific Railroad and Engineering in 1932 in Sun Valley, California.


People might think this is Whistler's first time at the Olympics, but no. A group of businessmen, led by Franz Wilhelmsen, wanted to make a alpine ski hill for the 1968 Olympics. This ski hill was to go on London Mountain. Soon Whistler Ski Resort was made in 1966. Franz's group renamed the mountain Whistler Mountain. They did not get the Olympics. In 1980, a new ski resort called Blackcomb popped up on a neighboring mountain, Blackcomb Mountain. Soon these two ski resorts merged companies. Whistler Blackcomb today is North America's largest and number one ski resort.


To learn more on Whistler's history





There is a indication that skiing started 5000 years ago. This indication came from a picture in a cave in Norway. The picture shows a stick man holding a hunting tool and on two long sticks of wood representing skis. See the actual Petroglyph below.

Petroglyph from Rodoy, Norway c.2500 B.C.

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The first organized ski events were held in the early 1800. All of the events were Nordic because Alpine skiing wasn't discovered yet.

Skis were first used in Western Canada by farmers and hunters in the 1850s. In the winter time, the farmers would cross country ski to a broken fence and then fix it. The farmers would make the skis out of lumber.

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Soon people started to ski for fun. There only was cross country skiing at that time. This made skiing a great work out, but some people would cheat. Look at the people racing in the picture above.

 The name of cross country skiing is Nordic skiing. Nordic refers to Scandinavia, where skiing began and where the land is relatively flat.

In the 1910's people started to skiing down hills. This was called Alpine skiing. The word Alpine refers to the Alps's steep, rouged terrain.

The first winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France. The first winter Olympics only had five different sports including Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing.

It was during the 1930's that alpine skiing became a popular European activity. With the invention of ski lifts there was no longer a need for climbing a mountain before experiencing an exhilarating descent. The ski industry began in earnest after the Second World War, when Austria and Switzerland developed the first Alpine Ski Resorts. 

To learn more on the early history of skiing, go to

To learn more about skiing in Canada, click on the Canadian Ski Museum logo below.