Pray for snow!

By Sergio González | 10:15
chairlifts and snowboarding

Chair lifts and snowboarding, two American contributions to winter sports

Winter is the best time for? Come on, you only have one second to answer!

Those of you who said sports, have earned…an auto-tap on the back!

The reason why New Yorkers and Minnesotans retire in Florida and Norwegians and British in Spain is the same reason why we should practise winter sports. The god of life for ancient cultures and the modern day motivation for many. 

In Spain, Sun is still considered to bring la alegría de vivir, the joy of living, although as long we know it’s because ultraviolet rays help us release endorphins, the so called hormone-of-happiness. Also the reason why some people get addicted to tanning beds or sunbathing. Who doesn’t want to feel good?

Eating chocolate or laughing can also release endorphins but physical exercise is key for a steady and healthy supply when the sun seems so reluctant to share. Practise indoors if it’s your liking but, please, pray for snow!

History of skiing can be traced back up to eight millenniums before our time, since the use of tools to walk over snowy lands found next to Lake Sindor in Russia can tell. Other remains from around the same time appeared in northern China and Scandinavia.

The word ski comes from the old Norse word for stick and it’s so important for Norwegian culture that their gods and goddesses actually ski.

Next time you feel fresh air speeding up around your cheeks as you ski down, remember Olaf Rye, a Scandinavian general who in 1809 made the first jump to entertain his soldiers. 

He used planks and only the boldest followed him in what was also the first extreme winter sport, but it caught viewers’ attention. Norwegian carpenters started to work and the first cambered skis finally allowed the world to fall for skiing. Soon afterwards, international federations and ski clubs came to organise the new winter sports fashion. You still can get a hint of those times at New Hampsire’s Nansen Ski Club, founded in 1872, which is still running.

This was also the time when, across the Appalachians in Canada, the old kolf game of hitting a ball with a stick over frozen lakes was being shaped by Dutch and Scandinavian inmigrants into modern ice hockey.

Trains made easier to reach mountain destinations and ski resorts popularised ski and winter sports in USA and Europe. To American inventive we must credit chair lifts and to Austrians, fiber-glass skies, which not only perform much better but made ski affordable to anyone. Get ahead with NH Hotels deals for every budget and go on the winter vacations you deserve!

Guy sledging down into the sunset

Feel free!!!

Surely cave-people enjoyed sledging on whatever-flat-thing as much as we do but it was the city of St. Moritz in Switzerland where sleighs were bob-graded.

St. Moritz was one of those ski resorts that thrived in the 19th century, but four months of British tourists’ income weren’t enough so they came up with bobsleigh. Attaching two sledges and adding and steering system earned them a full year profitable season and be one of the opening winter sports of the first Winter Olympic Games, held in Chamonix, France, in 1924.

Olympics have the power of awareness and winter olympic sports soon prompted new ideas or twists of the traditional manners considered then as extreme winter sports. Freestyle skiing, including aerial turns and mogul crossing, appeared in the 60’s but weren’t actually an Olympic winter sport until the 90’s.

Marshall Eriksen’s family, from hilarious sitcom HIMYM, has some creative ideas on dangerous home-made winter sports, but if you want to keep risk level to just a couple of broken bones, have a look at 2012 extreme winter sports, or 2040’s winter Olympics, as you prefer. And if Winter X Games aren’t enough for you, try Mountain Dew Ice Skating or get seduced by the amazing Frostbite project to have an insider’s look at extreme winter sports.

Christmas time is perfect for a ski breakaway with friends, away from meddling relatives and dull office parties. Go practise your favorite winter sport or try one if you haven’t because a huge stream of happy endorphins is waiting for you at the end of that next mountain!

Photo Credit: dualdflipflop

Photo Credit: Stewart

 

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