Did you know that skis were invented before the wheel? However, when the Cro-Magnon man first created skis, it wasn’t for recreation, it was for survival. Skis, like their close cousin snowshoes, helped man travel and hunt across a frozen tundra. And mankind has been using skis in one way or another ever since! In the 1760s, the Norwegian army held a skills competition that included ski races. These different challenges served as precursors to the Olympic events we are familiar with today. Civilians picked up the skiing in the 1800s, and as a result, Alpine (downhill) skiing overtook Nordic (cross-country) skiing in popularity, since it was more thrilling. Today, skiing lives on as a beloved sport, but we should never forget that the humble ski was once an important survival tool for early mankind.