When Did People Start Skiing? [Answered!]

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When did people start skiing? It’s a question that you are probably asked quite frequently, and it’s a question that can be difficult to answer. After all, while modern skiing is often associated with Switzerland and the Alps, skiing was actually invented in Toulouse, France, in 1868, and it wasn’t until the late 1800s that ski clubs in Switzerland began to take shape.

The first ski clubs were established in the Alps around the 1860s, and it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the practice of skiing began to take hold and attract a wider audience. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that many resorts began to feature chairlift operators who would carry you to the top of the mountain in order to give you a better chance of skiing down.

While you might think that skiing was invented in Europe, in fact, the practice of skiing is much older than that. As travel restrictions and social restrictions were lifted in the 19th century, more and more people from North America and Asia began to explore the mountains, looking for new places to ski. In fact, Japan was one of the first countries to establish a ski resort in 1894, a fact that was likely inspired by the country’s appreciation for skiing and its status as one of the world’s greatest sport. When Did People Start Skiing?

Early Days

You might be surprised to learn that skiing began life as a military sport, a form of training for soldiers developed in Switzerland and used in the Swiss Alps. The first ski tracks were actually made for the military by Swiss army engineers in order to give soldiers practice in skiing during their breaks, which were often long and arduous due to the harsh winters in the region. Although the military still uses ski tracks for military training, the Swiss government currently spends less than one million dollars per year on ski equipment and lessons.

The first ski race was held in 1885, and it wasn’t until the 1890s that the practice of skiing began to spread outside of the military, especially in resorts like St Moritz, which was populated by wealthy English and European socialites, as well as visiting American and Canadian politicians and their families. It was around this time that ski equipment such as ski goggles, ski jackets, and ski pants became available for purchase, as well as snowboard gear and freeride equipment for expert skiers.

Early Skiing As We Know It

It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that skiing began to change significantly, which is probably why it’s such a difficult question to answer, as much as most people seem to have a good guess. For one thing, skiing became much more fashionable in Europe and North America in the early 1900s, as people sought a way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, especially in crowded cities like London and New York. Tourists from North America and Europe were able to take the practice of skiing for a Sunday afternoon diversion, but the real boom in skiing came alongside the invention of ski equipment, which allowed for easier and more exhilarating skiing experience.

The first ski mask was probably manufactured in Austria in the early 1900s, and it wasn’t until the invention of skiing goggles that the look of modern skiing was truly established. As for the style of skiing, it was largely influenced by the European aristocrats who were skiing at the time, and it was also inspired by the English Gentleman, a skiing style characterized by a large collar, pointed shoes, and a flat cap. Since then, the fashion for skiing has remained relatively unchanged.

One of the great things about skiing is that it has remained a popular activity for both young and old alike, which is probably due in part to the fact that it can be practiced anywhere, at any time, and by anyone. The snowboard was invented in order to make skiing more accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and it was a monumental achievement in the history of sport, as well as technological advancement when Snowboarders were able to use ramps, kicktails, and other such devices, to achieve greater speed and control on the snowy slopes.


While skiing has largely remained a hobby for the wealthy in Europe and North America, it has become a popular pastime for the emerging middle class in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The number of people taking up the sport has increased by 132% in Fiji in the past decade alone, with the country now regularly hosting international snowboarding and skiing events. It’s fair to say that skiing has completely entered the mainstream as a recreational sport in these and other parts of the world, and it continues to grow in popularity, both in terms of participation and as a spectator sport. It’s worth noting that the 2020 Olympics were held in Tokyo, and the ancient sport of sumo wrestling was incorporated into the programme, which probably helped to promote skiing in the country.


It wasn’t until the last decade that the practice of skiing truly came to the attention of the world, when it was featured in the 2019 documentary Lost in Translation, which explored the rise in popularity of the sport. It also gained popularity as a result of social media platforms like TikTok, where viewers watch videos of people skiing and snowboarding and try to replicate the tricks and outfits of their favorite athletes. As you might imagine, the viral success of the documentary meant that the question of when did people start skiing was now at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

In fact, it wasn’t until the end of 2019 that the first official international ski record was achieved, when Canada’s Colin Meloy skied to a time of 3:10.56 in the Canada 50 km ski marathon, becoming the first racer to break the three-hour mark. It wasn’t only about setting a record, however, as the Canada 50 km ski marathon is commonly regarded as one of the greatest achievements in the history of Canadian skiing. The previous record had stood for nearly 40 years.

While we await the 2020 Winter Olympics in Tokyo, when did people start skiing? It’s an interesting question, and it’s one that you might be able to answer, even if you aren’t a skiing historian. When Did People Start Skiing?

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