The history of skiing is rich and illustrious, and it all starts with the invention of the ski mask back in the 1800s. Back then, people would wear these masks when going skiing, and they would remove them once they were back on the ground. It was at this point that skiers would wipe their eyes and look around to make sure that they were still alive.
The invention of the ski mask marked the beginning of organized skiing in Europe. These early skiers would meet at the top of an already established ski run, and they would ski toward each other and around a couple of turns before meeting once again at the bottom. It was during this period that skiing became a sport that people sought out to participate in and witness.
The first ski club was formed in Lech, Austria, in 1885, and it was there that skiing became an organized sport. The Alps were the first terrain that most people learned on, as the area is home to some of the most well-known ski resorts in the world, including Zoi Sadowski-Synnott’s home base, Meribel.
The early years of ski-in/ski-out lodges and chairlift operations saw huge expansion in the sport across the Alps, and it was this period that ski equipment became streamlined and improved. In the decades that followed, the ski industry grew by leaps and bounds, and with it, the equipment needed to partake in the winter sport.
The Great German Uprising
It was in the winter of 1890 that the German Empire took the decision to revolt against their Austrian overlords. The great uprising saw German men and women participating in mass skiing outings in the streets, with many resorts closing down for the duration of the war. It was during this time that Germany refined their ski technique, and they began to develop their own style of skiing that is still practiced to this day. The war didn’t see the end of the ski industry though, as it was one of the activities that the soldiers and the civilians participated in to keep their bodies active during those dark times.
While the Austrians were busy developing their own form of skiing, the people of northern Europe were busy developing their own unique styles of skiing too. The most prominent of these styles is called nordic skiing, and it was developed in the Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway, and Finland in the early 20th century. Its basic principles are derived from the customs of the Sami people, whose traditional winter sports include snowboarding and skiing. The Sami people inhabit Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia, and they consider skiing to be part of their culture. The nordic style focuses on speed and maneuverability above all else.
Skiing in Finland in 1930. Source: Antai-Frangattini / Wikimedia Commons
The Golden Age
The years between WWII and the Vietnam War saw the golden era of skiing. The sport flourished, and new resorts opened their doors to the public, welcoming skiers from around the world. It was at this point that the gear-related side of the industry began to take off, as the equipment needed to partake in the winter sport was now available in greater quantities. Today, we see ski equipment stores being opened up around the world, with enthusiasts walking in and out, trying on different boots and sticks to find the right fit for their feet. This is because finding the right equipment is now more important than ever before.
In the 1960s, the rise of the leisure class saw the emergence of the modern era in the sport. The golden era of skiing drew to a close as the leisure class sought new pastimes, and the need for work-related travel diminished. As a result, the winter sport lost many of its enthusiasts, and it dipped in popularity.
In recent years though, the industry has seen a resurgence in participation and interest, with many people turning to the internet for resources and finding inspiration for their next ski trip. Today, we’re looking at seven unique stories of how the internet changed the way we play and interact with our phones, and how these seven stories represent the evolution of the modern era in the sport.
One of the first things people do when they get on the internet is consult online forums about the etiquette of snowboarding. Forums like Snowboarder.com exist to provide information about riding techniques, equipment, and the like, so when you get on the internet to find out about snowboarding, this is the first page you should visit. You’ll see lots of people asking questions about riding specific resorts, how to handle bad snow, and more.
It’s important to note that the etiquette side of things is quite separate from the sporting side of things. You don’t need to be best friends with your phone to use it effectively while snowboarding, and the etiquette rules don’t say anything about how you should perform on the slopes. This is why forums exist to keep the information relevant to those who ask questions about it, but it doesn’t mean that people who ignore these rules won’t have great success on the slopes.
The first story we’re going to explore is how technology has changed the way we interact with our phones while riding. A few years back, if you wanted to interact with your phone while skiing, you’d either need to take it off the hook and watch it vibrate in front of you, or you’d have to do everything by button, using the device’s onscreen keyboard. These days, with advancements in technology, we can perform all sorts of functions with our phones without having to take them off the hook. This has resulted in a boom of apps specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding, allowing you to plan your ski holiday, view snow reports, and the like, all from the convenience of your phone. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Skiing With Your Phone
Back in the 2016 ski season, Skiing with Your Phone was one of the most popular apps on the App Store, and it saw over a million downloads. The app’s tagline is “Get in Shape for the Winter Season… on the Go”, and that pretty much sums up what the app does. You download the app, create a username and password, and then you can begin using it.
Once you’ve set up a location for your phone, you can begin skiing, either on the slopes or in the park. Once you’ve found a decent spot, you can set the gradient, number of trails, and difficulty level. Then, you hit “play”, and your phone will guide you through a series of easy to intermediate ski trails, explaining what each one is and what skills you’ll need to master to ride them successfully.
You can download and use Skiing with Your Phone for free, but certain features (like the ability to buy skis and snowboard and join a ski club) require a paid membership. The app is the perfect choice for beginners and intermediate skiers, with easy access to all the essential information they need, without having to pick up a guidebook. Plus, it has that all-important gamification element, rewarding you for completing your ski vacation with a badge that you can proudly show off.
While Skiing with Your Phone is an important tool in the arsenal of any winter sports enthusiast, it’s not the only one. The app isn’t unique in that it allows you to ski with your phone, as there are numerous other apps and websites out there that allow for similar functionality. What sets Skiing with Your Phone apart though is that it is one of the very first apps to truly integrate technology into the sport, and it uses blockchain to make the whole process of booking a ski vacation and tracking your performance easier. The developers of the app hope that by integrating blockchain into the process, they can create a transparent and open platform for the entire ski community, ensuring fair and honest gameplay.
Ski The Slopes In Style
The second story we’re going to cover is how technology has changed the way we travel to and participate in our favorite winter sport. A few years back, if you wanted to ski in Europe, you pretty much had two choices. You could either go to a chain store, book a scheduled ski trip, and pack your ski gear accordingly, or you could join a local ski club and rent all the gear you need. This way, you can focus on having fun and don’t have to think about your gear.