A brief history of skiing and where to go before summer hits

Large snow covered mountain in Utah. Justine Baginski/Lariat

Skiing as we know it likely began around 6000 BCE, in a Russian region called Karelia. However, there’s been thought that skiing could’ve been used in the last Ice Age.

Alpine skiing took off in the mid-1800s, developing in Norway. Alpine skiing is the act of skiing downhill, which is what most would associate skiing with nowadays.

Norwegian armies would hold skiing competitions in the winter, navigating sloping mountains while firing guns.

The first known ski jumper was a man named Olaf Rye in 1809. He managed to make a 9.5 meter jump into the air, while in front of an audience.

Skis in the 1800s also made many advancements as the sport gained popularity.

The first telemark ski was invented in 1868 by a man named Sondre Norheim. Telemark skis allow users to carve into the snow, rather than simply slide diagonally. Skiers were then able to lift their heel as they moved to allow for more range of motion.

The steel edge ski was invented in 1928 by Felix Leitner, in Austria. Just a year later, a Swiss racer named Guido Reuge figured out he could tie his heel down with a cable so his feet could lay flat on the ski. Originally, people struggled to keep their feet flat.

In 1932, Jorgen Aaland and Bjorn Ullevoldsaetter separately invented the three-layer laminated ski.

The first Winter Olympics, featuring skiing, were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. In 1934, downhill skiing was included in Germany’s Winter Games.

In 1936, practically during the Winter Games, chair lifts were invented. This was a revolutionary idea that allowed skiers to ski down the same hill multiple times a day.

Skiing has remained just as popular now as it has been hundreds of years ago, with skiing resorts left and right. Below are some common skiing areas in both California and Utah so you can join in the action.

Brighton Resort, Utah

Brighton is a skiing resort in Brighton, Utah. The resort was founded in 1936, one of the first skiing resorts in the United States.

Being one of the first skiing resorts in the U.S., there are many slopes to go down, ranging from a simple bunny hill to black diamonds. It is a great place to learn how to ski.

The resort also offers a lodge to stay the night and multiple restaurants to refuel once you’ve gone down enough slopes.

Snowbird Resort, Utah

Snowbird is also a skiing resort, located in Utah’s Wasatch National Forest. It was founded in 1871 alongside its lifts and lodge.

As with Brighton, the resort has a plethora of slopes, with over 140 trails. The resort features a larger selection of advanced trails rather than beginner’s slopes, but it’s still a good choice.

There’s quite a few options for restaurants, and Snowbird has around two places to stay that are close to the slopes.

Big Bear Mountain Resort, California

Big Bear Lake is a small town in California with a few ski slopes nearby. One of the ski resorts is the Big Bear Mountain Ski Resort. 

Big Bear Mountain Resort was founded in 1969 and is a great option for people in Southern California who want to ski somewhere close.

Big Bear Mountain also has many other places to stay, if not more than the other two skiing resorts, Snowbird and Brighton. There are less places to eat on the slope itself, but the town has many cafés.

However, Big Bear Mountain doesn’t have as much snow as the resorts in Utah. It isn’t currently open late in April. If you’re looking to go skiing in April or May, the other ski resorts in this article may be a better choice.

Skiing has been and will likely always stay a fun sport. History repeats itself, as they say. If you decide to indulge in history, make sure to research the slopes near you.