Skiing, or traveling over snow on skis (wooden boards attached to the feet), has a history of at least five millennia. The earliest archaeological examples of skis were found in Russia and date to 5000 BCE. Although modern skiing has evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, 10,000-year-old wall paintings suggest use of skis in the Xinjiang region of what is now China. Originally purely utilitarian, starting in the mid-1800s skiing became a popular recreational activity and sport, becoming practiced in snow-covered regions world-wide, and providing crucial economic support to purpose-built ski resorts and communities.
Skiing was a popular sport in Sweden, but was virtually unknown in the North American Union. While traveling by train across Albertus, Samuel Stanley nominated Jasper as a place where the sport might be introduced to America. In Russia, skis were used for military purposes. Stanley told Thomas Bushell that the Russians had a few skiing regiments in Alaska, a notion which caused Bushell to have a waking nightmare about these troops invading the Union and making it as far as Hudson Bay.