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Wooden planks found in Scandinavian bogs reveal that skiers first took to the snow more than 4,000 years ago. The long, curved frames covered with leather served as prehistoric man's vehicles during long winter months.  
Credit: Artville 
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Alpine terrain covers more than 60 percent of the Swiss landscape. With such awe-inspiring scenery surrounding snow-covered slopes, it's no wonder that more than one-third of Switzerland's residents ski.  
Credit: Corbis 
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Colorado skiers began gliding down Rocky Mountain slopes as early as the 1930s. What began as a way to ease the boredom of the long winter months has grown into one of the state's biggest industries.  
Credit: Eyewire 
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Nagano, Japan, was the first city to see snowboarders surge down Olympic slopes. Although the sport was popular years before that, it didn't become part of the Winter Games until 1998.  
Credit: Artville 
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Cross-country skiing, more than just a quiet shoosh in the woods, has been rated the top aerobic activity. Skiers exercise every muscle in the body as they travel through backcountry terrain.  
Credit: Corbis 
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Freestyle skiing has grown in popularity since the International Ski Federation officially recognized it as a sport in 1979. Before that, the combination of aerobatics and skiing was often referred to as 'hot dogging.'  
Credit: Greg Von Doersten, oi2.com 
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Skiing became a whole new experience with the invention of the ski lift. Engineer John Currant's 1936 creation traveled 450 feet per minute and carried one person per chair up the slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho.  
Credit: Corbis 
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Building the structure for ice climbing competitions takes almost as much endurance and strength as the climb itself. Instead of awards, however, the architects of ice structures are rewarded when professional climbers are truly challenged.  
Credit: Abrahm Lustgarten 
 
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