Archaeologists in Norway have found what they believe is the second ski in a pair that were lost during the Iron Age 1,300 years ago.
The first ski emerged from thawing ice due to climate change on Mount Digervarden in 2014 and now the returning archaeologists used GPS to locate the second ski in the set seven years later. They then used poling water and chipped away at the ice to get to the second ski.
Unlike it modern times though, the two skis are different. The first ski was 170cm long the newly found one 187cm in length. The newly found ski is also 2cm winder at 17cm compared to 15cm. The skis show signs of repair indicating they were considered valuable and worth preserving.
The second ski is in a better state of preservation than the first, archaeologist Lars Holger Pilø, it has three twisted birch bindings and a leather strap to fix it to the skier’s foot.
As yet there no sign of the skis’ owner.
Although the skis are the oldest and best-preserved set of skis, older single skis or parts of skis have been found over the years.
A primitive ski was found in a peat bog in Hoting in Jämtland County in Sweden that is thought to be somewhere between 6500 and 4500 years old.
Skis have also been found in peat bogs near Lake Sindor in Russia that are claimed to date from 6,000 BC, or 8,000 years ago. The preservation is so good that a carved elk head is visible on it.
The oldest possible evidence of skiing dates back further still, perhaps, in the Xinjiang region of China – where the 2021-22 ski season just got underway. A rock painting from there and dated to 8,000 BC or 10,000 years ago, appears to show an early skier, or snowboarders. However there in ongoing debate about the age of the image (some believe they’re ‘only’ 4000-5250 years old).
(Image top credit Museum of Cultural History Oslo)