An old legend says it was a god who brought skis onto the earth, rather accidentally. He’d been on an elk hunt, chasing the elk all over the sky. In his desperation the elk jumped down to the earth, and the god followed it there. This way even the people on earth came to use this divine means of locomotion. In fact, archeological finds and stone age carvings show that people used skis thousands of years before the invention of the wheel.

Without skis we’d get hopelessly stuck in the masses of snow. We don’t own the constitution and strength to trudge through the deep snow as the elks do, or to plough through it like the musk ox. And we’re not light enough like the foxes and snow hares, who just run on top of the snow. Skis are the divine gift, which lifts us up upon the surface of the snow. But not enough, skis let us glide, and in fact I only know of one animal to share this privilege with us.

 

Skilaufen auf traditionellen Holzski - auch Tiere tun es (Bild)

Skiing is outstanding and elegant, yet simple and easy. First of all, you don’t need anything but two planks. You tie them to your shoes and here you go! Special gear like you need for cross country or alpine skiing are just unnecessary. Traditional skiing is all about playing with the snowy landscape: to find the right angle on the slope for not getting to slow or to fast, to keep balance, to chose a suitable path between hills and valleys, not too steep, not too flat, and to find one’s way through the labyrinth of trees. We hardly need to know any skiing technique. We glide a bit, adapt, glide another bit, or climb. We don’t use skins for climbing as when ski touring. The wooden structure of the skis and some wax give grip enough to climb gently. Got curious? Join in and try!