iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Dec 2016 (Day 353/366)
A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than wide and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are attached to ski boots with ski bindings, with either a free, lockable, or partially secured heel. For climbing slopes, ski skins (originally made of seal fur, but now made of synthetic materials) can be attached at the base of the ski.
Originally intended as an aid to travel over snow, they are now mainly used recreationally in the sport of skiing.
The word ski comes from the Old Norse word “skíð” which means stick of wood or ski.
In Swedish, another language evolved from Old Norse, the word is “skidor” (pl.).
English and French use the original spelling “ski”, and modify the pronunciation. Prior to 1920, English usage of “skee” and “snow-shoe” is often seen. In Italian, it is pronounced as in Norwegian, and the spelling is modified: “sci”. Portuguese, German and Spanish adapt the word to their linguistic rules: esqui, Schier (a German plural of Ski) and esquí. Many languages make a verb form out of the noun, such as “to ski” in English, “skier” in French, “esquiar” in Spanish, “sciare” in Italian, “skiën” in Dutch, “esquiar” in Portuguese or “schilaufen” (as above also Ski laufen or Ski fahren) in German.
Finnish has its own ancient words for skis and skiing. In Finnish ski is suksi and skiing is hiihtää. The Sami also have their own words for skis and skiing. For example, the Lule Sami word for ski is “sabek” and skis are “sabega”. The Sami use “cuoigat” for the verb “to ski”. The term may date back to 10,000 years before present.
The oldest wooden skis found were in what is today Russia (c. 6300-5000 BCE), Sweden (c. 5200 BCE) and Norway (c. 3200 BCE) respectively.
Nordic ski technology was adapted during the early 20th century to enable skiers to turn at higher speeds. New ski and ski binding designs, coupled with the introduction of ski lifts to carry skiers up slopes, enabled the development of alpine skis. Meanwhile advances in technology in the Nordic camp allowed for the development of special skis for skating and ski jumping.