Skiing: the Oldest Mountain Sport

A more traditional activity than most people realize is skiing on a mountain. According to the BBC, skis are an older invention than wheels: cave paintings show that the Cro-Magnon attached sticks to their feet to travel down snowy mountains, and researchers have discovered remanants of skis dating from 6,000 B.C. Although European armies began cross-country skiing in the 1700s, downhill skiing only became popular with ordinary people in the late 1800s.

The National Geographic reports that different types of skis — varying in length, width, and curvature — developed in different areas of the world. Today, most standard skis are narrow strips of layered fiberglass and plywood, used with snug-fitting plastic boots.

Besides ski boots, skiers should wear proper layers of clothing, including hats, gloves, and goggles, made with synthetic, waterproof materials. Beginners usually take a few lessons before attempting difficult trails or slopes, though they should still expect to fall often, as part of the learning process. By having the correct gear and following safety guidelines, skiing in the mountains can be a fun winter activity for all ages and abilities.