Skiing is über popular in southern Germany and the surrounding countries and is known to be one of the most thrilling sports! Skiing in the Alps of Switzerland, Austria or Bavaria takes the sport to a whole new level. I know this because I have been there. In 2003, my parents took my sister and I to Austria for a unique vacation including skiing in the Alps. 

 Growing up in Chicago, the closest ski “mountain” is Wilmot… and it’s more like a big dirt hill most often covered in faux snow. Don’t get me wrong, we loved going skiing at Wilmot and it was always quite a treat to go up to Michigan or further up in Wisconsin to ski on a larger hill. So you can only imagine our shock and awe when we locked into our skis on REAL mountains with REAL snow. It was an unbelievable experience!  

There are many unknown and interesting facts about skiing in the Alps. Here are some of the most intriguing fun facts about skiing in the Alpine mountain ranges of Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria.

  1. Before being considered a sport, skiing actually primary means of transportation in the Alps. Yup… the best way of traveling downhill was by simply letting the slope take you to your destination while you enjoy the views!
  2. Despite the vagueness about its origin, skiing is said to be the Scandinavians' means of following their prey while they were hunting. Evidence suggests that this practice dates back to 4000 years ago. So pretty safe to assume this was when skiing got it’s start.
  3. Unlike many other winter games, skiing caught the interest of the world in a relatively short time. Skiing made its Olympic debut in 1936 and the love and obsession with this sport hasn’t diminished.
  4. No matter how thrilling it already is, people always want more, the audience and the athletes alike. Giant Slalom run was introduced in 1952 Oslo games. Giant Slalom Run is like a regular Slalom Run but with more speed and more sharp turns. And when that wasn't thrilling enough, Super Giant Slalom runs were introduced in 1988 Calgary games. Just like it sounds, Super G is a Giant Slalom run with even more speed, sharp turns, and longer distances. According to the International Herald Tribune, Austrian ski star, Hermann Maier, controls his ski edges at up to 90 miles per hour!
  5. Western European countries are home to the uncrowned kings of this high-adrenaline sport. Austria alone had over 85 medals (26 of which were gold medals) in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

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January 31, 2017 — Erika Neumayer

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