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Worlds Oldest Skis

Photo: @johnonolan, Unsplash

Worlds Oldest Skis Found in Norway

by | Oct 27, 2021

It was 2014 and some archeologists at Digervarden Mountain in southern Norway were gingerly probing the ice. The afternoon was chilly but tolerable, a gentle chill was in the air. Later on a 1,300 year old ski would be unearthed. This single wooden ski should have a mate.  But it would take 7 years to locate it, and the fate of the skier who left it.


Archeologists locating the second ski which was burried deeper in the ice. It is beleived that this helped preserve it better then the previous ski. MUSEUM OF CULTURAL HISTORY, OSLO

The skis found measure approximatly 74 inches long and 7 inches wide. As ski technology and ski fabrication was not what it is now, one ski is slightly longer than the other. The binding system is as fascinating as it is crude: leather straps and twisted birch bark bindings were attached through holes near the feet to bind feet to the skis.. The skis were worked on and repaired more than once and one of the skis, the one more recently found, is better preserved as it was deeper in the ice when it was located.

Due to climate change the ice feilds and glaciers are now make it easier to spot items frozen in the icepack. This helped locate the skis as the pack has been melting. This has even led to the usage of GPS and satellite imgery to locate items.  The ski recently found in 2021 was only two body lenghts from where the other was located.

Other items located in the ice in Norway include an ancient beeswax candle and a lambs wool tunic. Who knows what other mysteries the ice holds in Norway and other places around the globe. As ice retreats and meltwater uncovers these items we may find much more soon.

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Other Ancient Skis Found 

“Two regions present the earliest evidence of skis and their use: the Altaic region of modern China where 5000-year-old paintings suggest the aboriginal use of skis, and northern Russia, where the oldest fragments of ski-like objects, dating from about 6300–5000 BCE were found about 1,200 km northeast of Moscow at Lake Sindor.”


Other eaarly skis include those found in the Altic region of China where ancient paintings depict skis and the technology of skiing. Aditionally in Moscow ski objects or remanants of skis were located around 6300-5000 BCE. Although that is a broad range in the dating these would be early examples and some of the earliest examples of very old ski technology.

A Scandinavian ski was found in a peat bog in Hoting, Sweden that is as old as 4500 to 2500 BCE. Other earlier findings of old skis include: 1938 where a ski was found in Finland that has been dated back to 3245 BCE. Other older skis were also found in Sweden and Norway and these parts of the globe seem to host a wealth of burried ski relics.  There have been at least 22 findings of ancient skis found in Norway alone, most have been in surprisingly good condition. This proves that skis have been used a lot in these times especially in Northern Norway, and Russia as well as Scandinavia dating back to prehistoric times. Greenland has aalso been a location for ancient skis wheere a ski excavated in Greenland dates all the way back to 1010.


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