Strange But True: Survivor

In the early days of competitive skiing, one of the greatest skiers was Mathias Zdarsky. He was the first person in Austria to teach skiing on a regular basis, and by 1904 he had about 1,000 students. Zdarsky is now considered by many to be the father of the Alpine technique. It was Zdarsky who introduced the snowplow to skiing. To execute the snowplow both skis are pointed inward. This enables the skier to slow down. Zdarsky also introduced the stem turn, in which the skier changes direction by pushing one heel out while moving fast.

But Mathias contributed more than skiing maneuvers to snow sports. Once he was caught in an avalanche and suffered more than 80 fractures. But he survived and later wrote a book about avalanches that proved to be very useful.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.

1 Comment

  1. Turns out Zdarsky also developed the modern ski binding to provide more stability at high speeds.  He also organized–and won–the first alpine ski race, trained soldiers in skiing and advanced avalanche survival.  At the time, however, most people who had even heard of him thought he was little more than an eccentric inventor and not the creator of a sport which would be popular around the world.

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