The Development of Ski Sport in TURKEY

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In the same year in the course of Erzurum Kerim Hitli Fort set under the leadership of Albert Bilstein who came from Austria, the army engaged in skiing and the first skiers such as Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu Cemal Dursunoğlu, Kemal Hasip had been brought up. A ski battalion composed of four companies was founded in Erzincan in 1917. In the same period the first ski school was set up in Suşehri (Buldur Village) by Hikmet Koyunoğlu.


A Teacher of Galatasaray High School skiing in Uludağ in 1933 boosted activity to the sport and afterwards the ski activities organised by Bursa Community Centre in Uludağ in 1933-1934, Ankara Community Centre in Elmadağ and Erzurum Community Centre in Palandöken had been important movements.


The Development of Ski Sport in TURKEY


  The formal ski activities had begun in 1935 with the conjuction of engaging to Mountaineering and the Winter Sports Federation under the chairmanship of Latif Osman Çıkıgil Riedel sports teacher of Ankara Master Institude of Agriculture. He was the first man to introduce the sport of skiing fundamentally and trained the first skiers. The first National Ski Team had been founded by one of his pupils. Our skiers had joined the Olympic games in the same year with the foundation of the Ski Federation in 1936. Turkish skiers could not succeed due to their inexperience of the winter Olympic games in which the elite skiers of the world participated. In the following years skiing had been sensed as a fun game and become prevalent. The sport of skiing had been awakened, the reason being Asım Kurt became the president of Mountaineering and the Winter Sports Federation.The number of skiers began to increase through the founding of ski centres especially in Uludağ, Erciyes and Elmadağ. The first proper ski races reconised by the international regulations were realised through the efforts of Asım Kurt in 1944. Though they took part in Saint Moritz in 1948, Oslo 1952, Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956, Squaw Valley 1960, Innsbruck Olympic Games in 1964 the Turkish skiers could not be successful.
  The best grade in the international field is 8th rank by Burhan Alankuş achieved at the Balkan Championships. In the Balkan Championships organised in Uludağ, Rıdvan Özbek from Sarıkamış became the Champion in Nordic Style Youth Categories. Our team became third at the Balkan Ski Championships in the junior and the senior mens categories. In 1981 the Balkan Championship Turkish Team (Young men) got the bronze medal in 4x10 km relay . To improve the sport of skiing in our country every year ski training and teaching courses and ski camping trips for kids are being arranged. During half term every year to improve ski sports , ski courses for 7-15 years of age groups are organised by the Province Directorate of Youth and Sports in the provinces where ski sports are made. Moreover, the major winter sports organisation for show purposes in Turkey "The Snowman Ski Races" have been performed in Uludağ since 1983.


Norway is considered the origin of skiing and Snowboard’s origin is USA. Is it really true? Lean back and continue reading…

Century old skiing and its younger brother snowboarding... We might think they came from the West to become a part of our culture. In fact, thorough research shows they are not foreign to Turks.

Even though the Alp mountains of Switzerland and Austria are considered the most famous places for ski lovers, until recently, Scandinavia was believed to be the original place where skiing started. Numerous sources say skiing began there and improved in time to accommodate the various needs of the natives and then brought to Europe and North America in the 19th century. The six thousand year old cave pictures depicting hunters on skis and remnants of skis, along with scholars who link gods of Northern mythology ‘Skadi’ and ‘Ullr’ to skiing, are the elements which back this theory. In the light of recent founding, new information surged… In a totally different part of the world, in the Altai mountains of Central Asia,10 thousand year old cave pictures were found. These cave pictures of Central Asia refute the belief that travelling over snow on skis began in Scandinavia and was carried to the world.


The ongoing excavations since 1993 by the Chinese archaeologists and experts in the Altai Mountains where Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and Russia intersect, revealed earliest evidence of skis. In the Sincan Uyghur Ozark region, natives make their fur coated skis the same way their forefathers did thousands years ago. Archaeological finds of century old cave pictures in the Dundebulak Valley backed this thesis and with the Altai Declaration published in 2006, the region became known as the original place for skiing which surpasses the ski history of Northern countries that was widely acclaimed and accepted by scholars.

According to official Chinese documents of sixth and ninth centuries, the people of that region were known as ‘’Turks with wooden horses’’. Today, the Altai people call skiing ‘’riding on a wooden horse’’. We, their cousins of the West, went into a heavy slumber for one thousand years after migrating to Anatolia and forgot about this tradition despite the geography of Anatolia which offers innumerable snow covered mountains. We must hurry before it is too late and revive this thousand years old tradition before global warming hits us. In the last four years thawing due to climate change has greatly affected the snow covered region of Altai.


We had to wait for our Austrian Allies’ officers of WW1 to train our soldiers of the Eastern Front to get acquainted once again with skiing in Anatolia. At the end of the 1980s, the 50-60 year old ‘’snowboard’’ became fashionable in our country at the same time with the world. In recent years, an expedition in the Kaçkar Mountains revealed snowboard was practiced there four hundred years ago. Folks of Petran Village in Rize called it ‘’üzme board’’ and later it got the popular name ‘’lazboard’. It was astonishing to know that this board was used for recreational purposes rather than hunting. In 2008, Jeremy Jones, the famous American snowboarder who came to Turkey to make a documentary about ‘’Üzme Board’’. Just like the Altai natives’ fur coated skis, we need to realize ‘’üzme board’’ is a part of our cultural heritage. This might help to change the notion ‘’winter sports are for the elite’’. Eventually with the spreading of winter sports, regional economic capacities will increase. 


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