A skier leaps above a slope in Sun Valley, Idaho. Although Sun Valley's climate and ski resorts are popular places for winter X Games athletes to train, the games themselves are always held in Aspen, Colorado.

Photograph by Dean Conger
    • Some of the earliest evidence of skiing is found in Norwegian rock paintings from about 4000 BCE. In fact, ski is taken from an Old Norse word meaning "stick of wood." Modern alpine skiing traces its roots to 19th-century Europe.
    • In the 19th century, Austrian inventor Mathias Zdarsky introduced rigid steel bindings mounted on springs. These bindings allowed skiers to remain secure on their skis while still being able to maneuver over hills and rugged terrain.
    • Norwegian skier Sondre Norheim introduced skis with curved sides in the late 19th century. This allowed skiers to make turns much more easily than they could with flat, rectangular skis.
    • Freestyle skiing, which combines speed, acrobatics, and performance skill, was recognized by the International Ski Federation in 1979. It made its Olympic debut in Calgary, Canada, in 1988.
    • In addition to alpine and freestyle, the Olympics also includes snowboard, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, and Nordic combined (which combines ski jumping and cross-country) as skiing events.
    • The earliest evidence of skis in North America dates to about 1010, in Greenland.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    acrobatic Adjective

    having good balance, flexibility, and the ability to perform athletic jumps and other activities.

    alpine skiing Noun

    sport involving skiing down a mountain or hill. Also called downhill skiing.

    cross-country skiing Noun

    sport where athletes on skis race across a relatively flat landscape.

    evidence Noun

    data that can be measured, observed, examined, and analyzed to support a conclusion.

    freestyle skiing Noun

    art and sport where athletes compete in acrobatic jumps and over obstacles on skis.

    maneuver Noun

    a skillful movement.

    Nordic combined Noun

    sport involving cross-country skiing and ski jumping.

    rigid Adjective


    secure Verb

    to guarantee, or make safe and certain.

    skiing Noun

    art and sport of gliding across snow on long, narrow boards strapped to the bottom of the athlete's feet.

    snowboarding Noun

    art and sport of gliding across snow on a short piece of wood and/or fiberglass attached to the bottom of the athlete's foot.

    terrain Noun

    topographic features of an area.