Skiing Sports Oddities and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia about the sport skiing.



The first recorded European downhill skiing race was held in Sweden in 1879. La Porte, Calif., was the site of downhill competitions as early as 1861. Such legendary figures as Jimmy "Snowshoe" Thompson competed in the early races in the Sierras. (Thompson is credited with carrying 100-lb. sacks of mail over the snowbound Sierras on skis for distances of up to 90 mi. in just three days.) In the 1860s, racing skis were anywhere from 10 to 25 ft. long and were called snowshoes. Surviving snowshoe-race records list Frank Woodward as having schussed 1,950 ft. in 17 sec. and Tommy Tood as reaching speeds averaging over 87 mph when he schussed 1,804 ft. in 14 sec.

Herman "Jackrabbit" Johannsen, one of the founders of the Canadian ski marathon, a two-day, 100-mi. cross-country race, was still skiing (though no longer competitively) at age 102.

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