Cross-country skiing is the earliest form of skiing. The word “ski” comes from an old Norse word “skid,” which translates to something akin to a “split length of wood.” The activity dates back some 5,000 years; most likely it was developed in northern regions (Scandinavia and Siberia) by people who discovered that strapping flat boards onto their feet for hunting and transportation beat walking in the thick snow. Military applications soon followed (legendary “free-heel” troop were thought to move as fast, or faster, than cavalry through snow-bound terrain). By the 1800s, not only had skis, boots, and bindings evolved,; so had the skiers. Races became popular with soldiers; soon the aristocracy adopted the sport for entertainment at their winter homes.
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