10 things you didn’t know about skiing

Ready to book your next holiday or just curious about the world of skiing? Either way, these unusual ski facts will definitely surprise you.

Whether you’ve been going on ski holidays your whole life, have a new-found interest since watching the Winter Olympics or occasionally visit a dry ski slope, it’s never too late to brush up on the fascinating world of skiing.

Here’s our top 10 unusual facts about skiing.


The combination of skiing and ballet (or acrostic skiing, later renamed ski ballet) was once a thing. Between 1960 and 2000, the art of perfectly choreographed ballet moves while wearing skis was all the rage. Sadly, after two Olympics, it was dropped. The evidence of the hypnotising sport is still available on YouTube, and we suggest you take a look.


In ski jumping, the skier is often air bound for seven seconds, and in that time they can travel as far as 250 metres. Austrian Stefan Kraft currently holds the record for the world's longest ski jump, jumping a ridiculous 253.5 metres in 2017. After being asked what it feels like to make such a huge jump, Stefan said, “I am a flier, it feels great”.


Skiing is considered the world’s fastest non-motorised sports, and the fastest anyone has ever been recorded skiing is a terrifying 254.958kph. This was set by Italian Ivan Origone in 2016.


It was once suggested that all astronauts travelling to the moon should learn to cross-country ski, as it was believed that this would be the easiest way to navigate around the moon’s surface. In 2007, astronaut and last man on the moon, Harrison Schmitt said, “I tried to convince my pilot colleagues to take a few weekends off to learn cross-country skiing, because that is the way to move rapidly and easily with little energy expenditure across the surface of the Moon”.


Arthur Conon Doyle is reportedly responsible for bringing skiing to Switzerland. The Sherlock Holmes creator developed a love of skiing in Norway, then brought his hobby to Switzerland after visiting and noticing the perfect, untouched terrain. He even predicted the ‘ski season’, writing in a magazine, “the time will come when hundreds of Englishmen will come to Switzerland for a skiing season”.


Think you love skiing? Probably not as much as Nick Willey, who once spent eight and a half days skiing continuously, breaking the world record for the longest time anyone has ever skied. He travelled over 715 miles in the process. He later admitted that the attempt was ‘a bit crazy’.


Talking of endurance on the slopes, in 2004 Arnie Wilson and Lucy Dicker broke the record for most consecutive days skied by skiing every single day for a year. They went to 240 ski resorts in 13 countries.


English cult hero Michael ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards gained huge fame in the UK as the 1st ever ski jumping athlete to represent Great Britain in the Olympics. He came last in ski jumping in the 1988 Winter Olympics while becoming the British ski jumping record holder. Most people don’t know that he actually collected most of his ski gear from lost property, down to having no money or sponsors.


Skiing is a great way to lose weight, with a skier using minimal effort being able to burn up to 400 calories per hour. However, it’s all about how hard you ski. Cross-country skiing burns more calories than downhill skiing, as cross-country skiing requires you to get up the hills, instead of taking a ski lift. The massive bowl of cheese fondue that comes after might not be as healthy though…


The word ski derives from skíð, an Old Norse word that means ‘split piece of wood’. Skis were originally used by Scandinavian farmers and hunters throughout the Middle Ages. Then, in the 18th century, the Swedish army used skis to train on. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the popularity of skiing as a sport really took off, and it has continued to grow ever since.

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