Skis in The King’s Mirror , 1250’s

Chapter 31


It will seem even more miraculous when I tell them about men who know how to use pieces of wood or boards in the way that a man, who is no faster on foot than what people normally are as long he has only shoes on his feet, becomes faster than a bird. As soon as he ties his boards, 8 to 9 yards long, he becomes faster than a bird or the fastest of Afghan dogs, and he can overtake a reindeer which runs doubly as fast as a deer. There are a great many people who can run on skis, so that they can keep up with reindeers, spearing 9 or more of them. These things will sound incredible and strange in all those countries where people are ignorant about this art and the fact that just a board can give people such speed in the mountains. Nothing earthbound can measure up in speed to the man who has the boards on his feet, but as soon as he removes them, he is no faster than the others. [...] Now we know for certain that during the winter, when we have snow, we have the opportunity to see many men who know the art of skiing.

Source: Finnur Jónsson, trans., "[Skis in] Kongespejlet — Konungs skuggsjá [The King's Mirror] " (Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandel, Nordisk forlag, 1926), 24-25. Notes: Translation into English by B. Wallace

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