The Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), founded in Chamonix in February 1924, is the highest sanctioning authority and world governing body for the winter sport disciplines of Cross-Country, Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined, Alpine Skiing, Speed Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding, Skiboarding, Telemark and Grass Skiing. According to the interpretation of ancient paintings and even though it is debatable, skiing may have been a form of transport in China almost five millennia ago. The modern version of skiing we are so familiar with today, can be credited to its origins in Skandinavia. Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic language spoken by inhabitants of Skandinavia and many overseas settlements between the 600s to 1500s. The word ‘ski’ is derived from an Old Norse word that means ‘split piece of wood or firewood’. Finland and Sweden made use of asymmetrical skis until the late 1800s. On one foot was a long straight ski that had no upward curve on the back or front. A shorter ski was worn on the other foot that was used to propel the skier forward. A long pole was also used to help the skier with balance and by 1741, skiers were using two poles.
By 1747 it was common practice to equip troops across Europe with skis. The earliest ski races were held by Norwegian troops during the 1800s. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, ski lifts had been developed with the two primary disciplines of Downhill and Cross-Country emerging. The IOC recognise skiing events and disciplines like Cross-Country and Ski Jumping made their debut at the 1924 Winter Olympics. Today FIS manages a packed winter season, that also includes some events in summer. The federation has grown to 118 national ski federations as members. FIS is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the sport, the setting of rules, and the management of all the international competitions. The various disciplines are represented by a series of World Cup events in various locations. There are also World Championships in different age levels. Most of these take place in the northern hemisphere, but nations like New Zealand and Argentina also stage Alpine competitions. FIS is based in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.