|Petroglyphs and archaeological evidence suggest that skiing emerged at least 5,000 years ago in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the northern reaches of Russia and China. The first skis were probably ten feet long and had only loose willow or leather toe straps, which made it nearly impossible for the skier to turn or jump while in motion. Early skiers—hunters, midwives, priests, and others who had to travel across deep winter snow—dragged a single long pole to slow themselves down.
The Norwegians developed modern skiing in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By adding heel straps to skis, they were able to gain more control on descents and make quicker, tighter turns. These first rough bindings allowed skiers to use shorter skis and two poles instead of one.