Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - Athlete Perspective
Salomon's Skinny Ski Story Winner: How I Think Cross Country Skiing Began

By: Hanne Collins



Age 9

Telemark Cross Country Ski Club, Kelowna, BC


A long time ago, before there were snowshoes, before there were skis, even before there was Kraft Dinner there was a man by the name of Skibjorn Fishskin. Skibjorn lived with his family in the middle of the forest in a little wood hut. When his family got hungry he would go out with his spear and his fishing pole to get some food.


One year it was the longest and coldest winter ever. The snow piled up deeper and deeper every day, until the snow covered the windows of the hut. Skibjorn and his family had almost run out of food, and they could see the time coming when they would start to feel hunger. Even though Skibjorn hunted farther and farther away from his home he could not find any food. It seemed like the snow had hidden all of the animals. Their food supply continued to get lower every day. They were beginning to feel desperate. Skibjorn had to do something to save his family.


One day when it was sunny and cold Skibjorn made up a big pack with all of his gear and set out on a quest to get food. He set out through the waist deep snow farther and farther into the forest. When he got to his usual hunting spot there was no sign of food, so he traveled into places he had never seen before.


Skibjorn slept out in the open for two nights, and on the third day he crossed a mountain pass into long and beautiful valley. In the distance he spotted a frozen lake with an open area where a river flowed into it. He decided to try his luck at fishing. It took him several hours to wade through the snow to the fishing hole. By the time he had his fishing pole ready it was starting to get dark. Even so he caught five large fish before he decided to make camp and eat. It was the first food he had eaten in two days, and because of it he slept well.


Overnight it began to snow and it snowed hard all night long. When Skibjorn woke up he had to dig himself out of his little shelter. It took him more digging to find the fish that he had caught. Skibjorn knew that his family would be worried and out of food. He caught a few more fish, but knew that he had to get home quickly. He tried to put all the fish in his pack, but they wouldn’t fit so he had to carry one in each hand. Then he set out through the chest deep snow.


It was very tiring work moving forward and he fell several times because his pack was quite heavy. When he fell the fish would slide forward on top of the snow. Skibjorn got the idea that if he tied the fish onto the bottom of his pack he could push it in front of him and this would make it faster. It worked well, but he was still moving slowly in the deep snow.


Skibjorn stopped to have a little snack. He went over to get a drink from the little creek that he was following home. On his way back he accidentally stepped on one of the fish and went gliding forward and then he fell. As he was getting up out of the snow a strange look came over Skibjorn’s face. He has a BRILLIANT idea! Carefully Skibjorn tied the fish to his foot. It worked! He could slide forward without sinking into the snow. He grabbed another fish and tied it on his other foot. He looked down and laughed… One of the fish was head-first and the other was tail-first. He slid forward a few small steps and suddenly one leg went forward and one leg went backward and Skibjorn found himself lying in the snow again. That was when he discovered that his feet glided the way that the fish’s heads pointed. After he had turned the tail-first fish around he tied the rope from his pack to his waist he set off again towards his home and family.


It was past dark when he got back to his little hut, but he made it home in record time, even though the snow had never been as deep as it was that day. His family was relieved to see that he was home safe and happy to see that his quest has been a success. They laughed when they saw their dinner strapped to his feet. Skibjorn laughed too. Then they went and had the best meal that winter.


Skibjorn never forgot the trick of sliding on frozen fish. He became famous for making wooden fish that could be strapped to your feet to glide on. He was always careful to carve the heads in the front so that scales pointed backwards. People came from all aroud to learn how to use Skibjorn’s Fish-Feet Sliders. But nobody liked the name Skibjorn’s Fish-Feet Sliders, so they called them Skibjorn’s and eventually the name was shortened to Skis.

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