GLEN COE, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 18: A skier enjoys the conditions at Glen Coe ski centre on January 18, 2009 in Glen Coe, Scotland. Scottish ski centres have been having one of their best starts to the season in more than a decade with one resort being unable to open due to much snow. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Soon the snow packs will be in place. The local ski hills will open and thousands will head to local slopes to navigate the downhill runs.

Whether it’s the “bunny slopes” or “the terminator” Montana skiers will test their metal against all nature can throw at them.

Here are a few fun facts about our national winter pastime.

Fun Facts About Skiing

  • Most historians agree that the birthplace of skiing is Morgedal, Norway known at the “cradle of ski sport.”
  • Forty states have various sized ski resorts. Nearly 1.5 million visitors hit the 5,289-acre Vail Mountain Resort in Colorado.
  • Norwegian inventor Sondre Norheim came up with Telmark bindings that attached skies to plastic boots that would allow skiers to leave the ground without losing their skies which was not possible with previous bindings.
  • Think you go down your ski hill fast? Italian skier Simone Origone holds the worlds record for the fastest downhill ski speed of 156.2 miles per hour.
  • Need to lose a few pounds. Using moderate effort skiers burn anywhere from 350 to 400 calories per hour. No need for Jenny Craig.
  • According to Norwegian rock carvings people have been skiing since 2500 BC. Wonder how much lift tickets were then? One goat, two sheep?
  • Some armies travel on their stomachs. But a Norwegian army was the first to have a specialized ski unit back in 1721.
  • Skies have many uses. In the 1521 war between Denmark and Sweden canvas was stretched between two skies to carry the wounded. Which is why it’s called a “stretcher.”
  • If you know you’re going to take a bad spill don’t despair there’s a patron saint of skiers. St. Bernard of Montjoux will take care of you. St. Bernard dogs are named after him too.
  • For you language buffs, skiing is the only six-letter word with double “I’s” exactly in the middle of the word. You just gave yourself ten more brain cells to handle that info.
  • Skiing accidents result in knee injuries for about 35 percent of skiers. Snowboarders need to watch out for upper arm and shoulder injuries that occur most often.

Some Final Thoughts

While the rest of us long for spring or head for warmer climes the downhillers rejoice in the increasing layers of white stuff and the December 5th opening day.

Watch for hitchhikers on Rouse Ave. December to March.

I’ll be the guy in the fake leg cast drinking hot toddies by the lodge fireplace surrounded by all the sympathetic females.