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Lesson 30

Winter Sports: Skiing and Snowboarding

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Skiing is the most popular of all winter sports. It is believed that skiing comes from northern Europe and Siberia, where it was a vital means of transportation during the long, snowbound months of winter. The pre-historic people of these regions used skis to keep hunters on top of the snow. Wooden planks were strapped to feet, to prevent sinking and making it possible to glide over the snow and travel faster. Skiing was such an important way of life in Scandinavia that the Vikings worshipped Ull and Skade, the god and goddess of winter/skiing. The first written account of skiing appears circa 1000 A.D. in the Viking "Sagas" where several kings are described as being superb skiers.

The word "ski" is a Norwegian word which comes from the Old Norse word "skid", a board or a piece of split wood. The first hints to the existence of skis are on 4,500 to 5,000 years old rock carving at the Norwegian Island of Rodoy, showing a man on long runners with a hunting implement in hand. The oldest ski on record, being 1.10 m. long and 20 cm. broad was found in a peat bog in Hoting, Sweden and it is estimated to be about 4,500 years old. Several other skis have been found all throughout Scandinavia and Lapland. These ancient skis show regional differences in length and width, indicating a gradual refinement in technology.

The findings of old skis and its role in literature show that skiing is deeply engrained in Nordic history. As skis became quicker and more versatile, their application shifted from hunting gear towards military purposes. Skis were first used in warfare in AD 1200 in the battle of Oslo, in Norway when Norwegian scouts used skis to spy on Swedish enemies. In 1206, during the Norwegian civil war, two scouts on skis carried the infant heir to the throne 35 miles to safety in the middle of winter. The historic event is celebrated today by the "Birchleg Race" over the same route -- so called because the scouts wrapped their legs in birch bark to keep them warm and dry.

Another illustrative example is found in Sweden history. In 1521 the Danes overran Sweden and massacred all the Swedish nobles but one, Gustav Vasa, who was able to escape. The Swedes were left without a leader, so two desparate peasants set out on skis to find Gustav. He came back, drove the Danes out of Sweden, and set up the kingdom that survives to this day.

During the 1700s, the people of Telemark, Southern Norway developed skiing into a sport. They invented the Telemark and the Christiana (now known as the Christie) turns as methods of artfully controlling speeds on downhill descents. The ideas of these early pioneers helped pave the way for the disciplines of both downhill (Alpine) and cross-country (Nordic) skiing.

The first evolution of skiing came in 1868 for downhill skis. Sondre Nordheim from the Telemark region, an outstanding craftsman and skier, developed the first binding that went around the heel, stabilizing the boot on the ski. He also contouring his skis so that they were slightly waisted in the middle. The new binding and refinement of the ski shape gave the skier more control, allowing for sharper turns, faster speeds and the ability to negotiate steeper slopes. Sondre Norheim is often called the "father of modern skiing".

When Europeans became aware of their Norwegian neighbors' amusement with skiing, the sport's popularity grew. By 1870, the skiing had spread to central Europe but soon became apparent that the techniques used by the Scandinavians were unsuitable for mountainous terrain, especially in the Alps of south central Europe. Nordic techniques were therefore adapted for the steeper slopes, and Alpine skiing was born.

Alpine skiing became a popular European pastime in the 1930s, as ski lifts were invented and that eliminated the labor of climbing a mountain before experiencing an exhilarating descent. The invention of the ski lift is credited to a young German engineer, Gerhard Mueller, who used parts of a motorbike and some rope to create the world's first rope tow.

The ski industry emerged and began in earnest after the Second World War, when Austria and Switzerland came out with the first Alpine Ski Resorts. The rapid advance of materials and technology further popularized the sport all over the world. Ski manufacturers developed faster and safer equipment which combined with the improving skills of the skiers to make the sport of skiing more intense, and easier to learn.

Nowadays, skiing has about 45 million fans worldwide. There are over 6,000 ski resorts around the world in more than 70 different countries. Most of these are in Europe, with 1,000 or so each in North America and Asia (Russia/Japan). Great ski resorts also exist in Chile, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand; they are found in hot countries such as Iran, Morocco, Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Portugal; and since the end of the Cold War, East European countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, with their upgraded winter resorts provide excellent opportunities for ski enthusiasts of all levels.

* * *

Snowboarding is the fastest growing winter sport and is set to become even more popular than skiing. It is hard to say who actually "invented" the first snowboard because it was influenced by many different people including Sherman Poppen, Demetrije Milovich, Tom Sims and Jake Burton Carpenter. Snowboarding's roots, however, may be traced back to the early 1920's. Then children in Vermont built what would now be considered makeshift snowboards out of barrel staves and rode them sideways down a snowy hill.

Later, there were some people, who built snowboard like sleds. One of them was M.J. "Jack" Burchett. He cut out a plank of plywood in 1929 and tried to secure his feet with some clothesline and horse reins. Burchett came up with on of the first "snowboards".

Another snowboard inventor is Sherman Poppen. In 1965 Poppen, a chemical gases engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, invented "The Snurfer" (a mix between the two words „snow" and „surfer") as a toy for his daughter. He made the Snurfer by strapping two skis together and attaching a rope to the front tip of the snurfer, so the rider could hold it and keep it more stable. Many of his daughters friends wanted one of those new Snurfers, and soon Poppen lincensed his new idea to a manufacturer.

Short after that Jake Burton Carpenter (a today's most popular snowboard factory "Burton Snowboards) used ski technology in snowboards. In 1977, at the age of 23, Jake Burton founded his own company in Londonderry, Vermont, and experimented continually with new materials and designs. Eventually, he was building a snowboard made of steam-bent wood and fiberglass, with high-back bindings and metal edges.

Another snowboard manufacturing pioneer is the former skateboard champion Tom Sims. Back in 1963, as an eighth-grader, Sims made a snowboard out of plywood in his shop class. He called it a "skiboard". After years of improvements, he opened Sims Snowboards in 1977 and with the help of his friend and employee Chuck Barfoot started making snowboards. Barfoot, who actually made the snowboards, came up with the "Flying Yellow Banana".

Snowboarding continued to increase in popularity over the next years but for a long time, snowboarders were seen as society's outcasts. Ski resorts banned them and the upper-middle-class ski community looked down upon them. In 1985 snowboarding was only allowed in 7% of U. S. ski areas and story was much the same in Europe. As equipment and skill levels improved, though, snowboarding gradually became more acceptable. Most of the major ski areas had separate slopes for snowboarders by 1990. Now, about 97% of all ski areas in North America and Europe allow snowboarding and more than half of them have ramps and pipes. The number of snowboarders increased from about 2 million in 1990 to more than 7 million in 2000. It is predicted that the snowboarders will outnumber skiers by 2015.

Source: Internet

Vocabulary
  1. skiing ['ski:i] n - (каране на) ски, ски-спорт
  2. snowboarding ['snbdi] - сноубординг
  3. means [mi:ns] - pl с гл. в sing средство, начин, способ; средства
  4. Siberia [Sai'biri] - Сибир
  5. snowbound ['snbaund] a - заснежен; откъснат/прекъснат от снегове
  6. hunter ['hnt] n - ловец, ловджия
  7. wooden ['wudn] a - дървен, от дърво; дъсчен
  8. plank [plk] n - дъска, талпа
  9. to strap [strp] v (-pp-) - връзвам, пристягaм с ремък/каиш(ка) и пр.; 2. прикрепям
  10. to sink [sik] v (sank [sk] ; sunk [sk] ) - потьвам, затьвам (и прен.)
  11. to glide [glaid] v - плъзгам (се), нося (се) леко/плавно
  12. to worship ['w:ip] v (-pp) - почитам, уважавам, тача; прекланям се пред, въздигам в култ; обожавам, боготворя
  13. circa ['sa:ka] n ат. adv, prep (съкр. с, са, cire) - около, приблизително (главно за дати)
  14. superb [sju'p:b] а - великолепен; изключителен, превъзходен; блестящ
  15. split [split] - 1. цепене, разцепване, разделяне; 2. раздвояване
  16. hint [hint] n - намек; загатване
  17. to carve [ka:v] v - изрязвам, дьлбая (с длето и пр.) (дьрво, камьк, мрамор и пр.)
  18. implement ['implimnt] n - сечиво, инструмент, оръдиe, уред, прибор
  19. peat [pi:t] n - 1. торф; 2. attr торфен
  20. bog [bg] n - тресавище, мочур, блато
  21. refinement [ri'fainmnt] n - усъвършенствуване
  22. to engrain [in'grein] v - прен. насаждам дълбоко, внедрявам, втълпявам (навик и пр.)
  23. application [pli'kein] n - приложение, употреба; прилагане
  24. to shift [ift] v - меня (се), променям (се); измествам (се); прехвърлям (се);
  25. warfare ['wf] n - война
  26. scout [skaut] n - 1. разузнавач (u за кораб, самолет и пр.); патрул
  27. to spy [spai] v - следя, шпионирам (on/upon s.o.)
  28. infant ['infnt] n - пеленаче, бебе
  29. heir [] n - наследник
  30. wrap [rр] v (-pp-) - завивам (се), загръщам (се), увивам (се); обвивам, обгръщам
  31. birch [b:] n - 1. бот. бреза (Betula); 2. дървен материал от бреза (и ~ wood): 3. брезова пръчка
  32. bark [ba:k] n - кора на дърво
  33. to overrun [,ouv'rn] v (-ran [-'rn]; -run) v - опустошавам, прегазвам (страна)
  34. massacre ['msk] n - (масово) клане/сеч/избиване
  35. noble ['nbl] n - благородник, аристократ
  36. desperate ['desprit] а - отчаян, безнадежден
  37. peasant ['peznt] n - селянин
  38. to set [set] out - тръгвам, отпътувам
  39. to drive [draiv ] out - изгонвам, прогонвам, пропъждам
  40. to set [set] up - основавам, създавам
  41. to invent [in'vent] v - изнамирам, изобретявам, измислям, създавам
  42. artfully ['a:tfuli] adv - умело, сръчено, изкусно
  43. downhill ['daunhil] n - 1. склон, нанадолнище; 2. ски спускане
  44. cross-country ['krskntri] n - 1. сп. кроc, надбягване през пресечена местност; 2. attr през пресечена местност
  45. outstanding [,aut'stndi] а - изтъкнат, бележит, виден
  46. craftsman ['kra:ftsmn] n - занаятчия; майстор
  47. binding ['baindi] n - ремък за притягане на ски, биндунг;
  48. heel ['hi:l] n - пета
  49. to contour ['knt] v - правя контури/очертания; очертавам, скицирам
  50. waist ['weist] - 1. талия, кръст; 2. по-тясната средна част (на цигулка, кораб и пр.)
  51. to negotiate [ni'gouieit] v - 1. уговарям; уреждам (сделка и пр.); 2. разг. преодолявам, справям се с, превъзмогвам (ограда, препятствие, трудност);
  52. steep [sti:p] a - стръмен, върл
  53. slope [slp] n - наклон; склон, скат
  54. to become [bi'km] v (became [bikeim]; become) aware of - усещам, разбирам
  55. amusement ['mju:zmnt] n - развлечение, забавление, удоволствие; занимание
  56. pastime ['pa:staim] n - забавление, развлечение, игра
  57. to exhilirate [ig'zilreit] v - ободрявам, освежавам; въодушевявам
  58. tow [t] n - ам. сп. скивлек (и ski ~);
  59. to come [km] out - 1) излизам; 2) появявам се (в печата, обществото и пр.), дебютирам (на сцената и пр.)
  60. intense [in'tens] а - силен; емоционален, прочувствен; дълбок; разг. екзалтиран
  61. world-wide ['w:ldwaid] а - разпространен по целия свят; световно известен
  62. to trace [treis] back - проследявам/връщам се назад (до); издирвам, откривам, намирам
  63. makeshift ['meikift] n - 1. заместител; временно/импровизирано средство; 2. attr временен; импровизиран
  64. barrel ['brl] n - буре, бъчва
  65. stave [steiv] n - дъга (на бьчва и пр.);
  66. ride [raid] v (rode [roud]; ridden ['ridn]) - возя се (с автобус, влак и пр.) (in, on); яздя; нося се, движа се
  67. sideways ['saidweiz] =sideway=sideward ['saidwd] a adv - кос(о); отстрани; с рамото напред
  68. sled [sled] n - шейна
  69. plywood ['plaiwud] n - шперплат
  70. clothes-line ['klzlain] - въже за простиране на пране
  71. rein [rein] n - повод (на кон и пр.); прен. юзда
  72. to come [km] up (to come up with an idea, conclusion, question, etc. = suggest an idea, etc.) - предлагам
  73. fibre-glass ['faibgla:s] n - стъклопласт
  74. shell [el] n - скелет, корпус
  75. outcast ['autka:st] n - изгнаник; бездомник; парий; social ~s хора, отхвърлени от обществото
  76. to ban [bn] v - забранявам; не допускам; осъждам
  77. to look [luk] down - прен. гледам отвисоко (on, upon на)
  78. to outnumber [,aut'nmb] v - превъзхождам числено/по количество

* UK ; US

 Descent, Dissent or Decent



 Key terms  

Downhill Skiing (Alpine Skiing) - Alpine skiing (or downhill skiing) is a recreational activity and sport involving sliding down snow-covered hills with long, thin skis attached to each foot. Broadly speaking, competitive alpine skiing is broken up into two disciplines: Freestyle and Racing. Racing involves making fast turns around gates in an attempt to get the fastest overall time down a course. Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, and Downhill are the 4 racing disciplines, with Downhill being the fastest event and Slalom being the most technical. Freestyle skiing incorporates events such as Moguls, aerial acrobatics, and skier cross.

Cross-Country Skiing (Nordic Skiing) - the sport of skiing across the countryside (rather than downhill). Cross-country skiing (aka XC skiing) is an adventure and fitness activity as well as a competitive winter sport popular in many countries with large snowfields, primarily in Europe and Canada. Cross-country skiing as a sport is part of the Nordic skiing family, which also includes ski jumping, and a combination sport of cross-country skiing and ski jumping called Nordic combined.

Ski Jumping - a winter sport in which skiers go down a hill with a take-off ramp (the jump), attempting to go as far as possible. In addition to the length, referees give points for style, on a scale from 1 to 20. The skis used for ski jumping are wide and long, with parallel sides.

Nordic Combined - Nordic combined, as the name implies, combines the two elements of Nordic skiing: cross country and jumping. It's a 90-meter jumping competition followed by a 15-k ski race.


 Skiing and Snowboarding - More Facts and Figures

The first known civilian ski race took place in Tromso, Norway in 1843.
Emigrants from Norway brought skis to the United States with them. The first skier of record in the United States was a mailman by the name of “Snowshoe” Thompson, born and raised in Telemarken, Norway, who came to the United States and, beginning in 1850, used skis through 20 successive winters in carrying mail from northern California to Carson Valley, Idaho.
In 1875, the first ski club, and two years later the first ski school were founded in Kristiania (now Oslo).
The first ski club in central Europe was founded at Munich, Germany, during the winter of 1890 to 1891.
In 1921, the International Olympic Committee voted to stage “International Sports Week 1924” in Chamonix, France. This event was a complete success and was retroactively named the First Olympic Winter Games. Nordic skiing in the first winter Olympics consisted of three different events - Cross Country skiing, Ski jumping, and the Nordic combined. Alpine events were included in 1936.
First rope-tow in America was invented in 1932, by Alex Foster and operated at Shawbridge, Quebec, using an old automobile with the rope looped around a wheel rim. Similar device copied and used in the U.S. in 1934, in Woodstock, Vermont.
In 1982 the first international snowboard race was held in Suicide Six, outside of Woodstock, Vermont. The goal of the race seemed to be survival. The race consisted of a steep icy kamikaze downhill run, called "The Face".
Snowboarding debuted as an Olympic sport in 1998. Men and women compete in halfpipe and the giant slalom events. The halfpipe is a U-shaped course carved into a mountain.
The newest snowboarding event is snowboardcross, in four to six riders race through an obstacle course that includes moguls and jumps. The first two or three finishers advance to the next round of competition.



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