Skis and Snowshoes

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Skis and Snowshoes


devices that increase the area of support and facilitate movement across snow-covered terrain and marshy and water surfaces. Skis and snowshoes appeared among northern tribes during the Neolithic age. The cliff drawings of people on skis that have been found along the banks of the White Sea date to this time. For several millennia, skis and snowshoes were used primarily as a means of travel by hunters and warriors. Subsequently, they have become widely used in sports and physical training.

Snowshoes and swampshoes are subdivided according to purpose into snow and marsh types. They consist of a wooden hoop around an interwoven network of rawhide or flexible vine. They may be oval, round, horseshoe-shaped, square, or some other shape.

Skis are shaped like runners. They have a smooth bottom surface with a longitudinal groove and a weight bend in the middle. The tip is pointed and bent upward. The tip and back parts are somewhat widened. Skis may be made from whole pieces of wood (such as birch, ash, maple, beech, or hickory), or they may be laminated.

There are several types of skis: sports skis, including types for racing, ski jumping, and alpine events (the slalom, the giant slalom, and the downhill); tourist skis, subdivided into general-purpose and forest types; and hunting (huntsmen’s) skis, including the chamois type (with a gliding surface covered with a sewn-on length of short, stiff fur) and the “bare” type (with a gliding surface of smooth wood). Special folding skis are made that have a device to lock them in open or closed positions. Machine skis are used for aircraft, snowsleds, and motorcycles, and there are pack skis for towing a load. There are also military skis, similar to general-purpose tourist skis; children’s skis; and water skis.

Characteristics of some skis are shown in Table 1. The tips and backs of jumping skis are usually framed by metal plates, and the gliding surfaces have three to six grooves. Alpine skis are laminated strips of plastic and various varieties of wood, metal, rubber, fabrics and other materials, framed by metal plates. Forest tourist skis are 80-200 cm long and have a width of up to 200 mm. Chamois hunting skis should be as tall as the hunter’s shoulder and are up to 250 mm wide. “Bare” hunting skis are slightly longer than the skier’s height, with widths up to 180 mm. Water skis are 90-250 cm long and 150-250 mm wide, with keel elevations of 30-120 mm. For the slalom and speed competitions in water, one ski with two fasteners is used; jumping and pleasure skiing requires a pair; and for figure skiing one or two skis may be used. The gliding surface is often covered with plastic and the keel framed by metal plates.

Each type of ski is produced in numbered categories that depend on height. The best quality skis have company trademarks.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The grocery store at Dornan's rents skis and snowshoes, but most visitors head to downtown Jackson, where Skinny Skis and Sports Authority will gladly rent you equipment for about $20 the first day and $10 each additional day--it's a small price to pay for access to 99 percent of the white landscape that spreads out before you.
Cross-country skis and snowshoes are available for rent, and the main lodge provides a warming area, snack shop, and ski pro shop.