History of Alpine Skiing

Pioneering ski race in Wengen (Switzerland)
Alpine, or downhill skiing, evolved from much earlier forms of skiing by improving on the basic equipment, two slim, flat wooden planks bound to the skier’s feet and a pair of poles for balancing purposes.
Downhill ski boots too took shape by adapting from other boots ordinarily used for Nordic skiing.
The history of Alpine Skiing is therefore strongly tied to equipment evolution, and is relatively recent, as the timeline below, drawn from skiinghistory.org and concentrating on key technical developments in the early modern days, shows.
1850—Sondre Norheim, of Morgedal, Telemark (Norway), discovers the perfect heel strap, cleverly entwined shoots of the birch tree root, with enough stiffness to provide sufficient control of the ski to steer it and enough elasticity to stay snugly around the heel to keep the toe in the toestrap even going off a jump, making possible both modern downhill and ski-jumping.
1866—In a competition in the Norwegian capital Christiania (now called Oslo), Sondre Norheim and his fellow Telemarkers demonstrate what is later called the telemark turn and the Christiania skidded stop turn.
1870—Sondre Norheim introduces the first modern sidecut ski, the "Telemark ski," setting the basic pattern followed for a century thereafter, producing a narrow-waisted ski that flexed more readily when edged, facilitating turns in soft snow.
1890—Publication of Paa Ski Over Grønland by Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, detailing his pioneer 1888 traverse of southern Greenland, on skis dragging sledges for 300 miles, using oakwood skis with three grooves, using one long stick for part of the journey and two sticks on the inland ice.
1896—Retired school teacher Mathias Zdarsky of Lilienfeld, Austria, a village 90 miles west of Vienna, publishes the first book, Lillienfeld Skilaufer Technik, on the methodical use of the double stem brake and the stem turn, with the use of one long pole, in Alpine skiing for the ascent and descent of steep mountain sides.
1905—National Ski Association of the USA founded at Ishpeming, Michigan with Carl Tellefsen, former jumper and head of the Ishpeming Ski Club, elected first president, following the first national jumping championship at Ishpeming. (Amski 1966 p445 )
1910—First International Ski Congress is held at Christiania, Norway, an organization which became the forerunner of the Federation Internationale de Ski, the international ruling body of skiing.
1910—In January, Johannes Schneider, the ski guide at the Hotel Post in St.Anton, Austria, since 1907 at 17 years of age, created the stem christie with an up-movement to close the skis in the turn in order to complete turns more easily, producing a sliding turn; its use later extended to all conditions as the expert turn that stood atop an integrated ski technique that began with the double stem brake or snowplow, and progressed through the single-stem to the stem christie, the basis for what became known as the Arlberg Technique.
1911—First run of the world’s first downhill classic, the “Lord Roberts of Kandahar Cup”, run over the Plaine Morte Glacier in Montana, Switzerland: winner, Cecil Hopkinson.
1918—Johannes Schneider, returned from war service to the Hotel Post and, having taught thousands of WWI mountain troops to ski, used that disciplined structure to teach a growing influx of, mostly Swiss and British, his new technique.
1920—First paid instructor in a U.S. ski school, Norwegian Henrik Jacobsen, hired at the Lake Placid Club, Lake Placid, N.Y.
1920-24— Hannes Schneider formalized his technique into an instructional system which became known as the Arlberg Technique.
1921—First modern slalom race, the Alpine Ski Challenge Cup, held at Mürren, Switzerland, on Jan. 6, after rules set down by Arnold Lunn: first, J.A. Joannides.
1921—German documentary film maker Arnold Fanck shows history’s first instructional film, Wunder des Schneeschuhs, based on the Arlberg System and demonstrated by "Hannes" Schneider.
1921—In a disagreement with Walter Schuler, proprietor of the Hotel Post, over his taking time off from his ski school to make movies with Dr. Arnold Fanck, Hannes Schneider separated his ski school from the Hotel Post and became a seminal independent ski school.
1924—First Olympic Winter Games held at Chamonix, France, with Nordic ski events only.
1924—The International Ski Congress becomes a permanent organization, the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS); Col. Ivar Holmquist is named first president.
1925—NSA recognizes USEASA as an affiliate, and it later recognized the other regional ski organizations, forming a truly national organization.  
1925—Hannes Schneider and Dr. Fanck publish The Wonders of Skiing (Wunder des Schneeschuhs), with stills from the movie as illustration, sell 100,000 copies in first year, making it the most important and widely read book about skiing in history; translated into English in 1931.
1927—On March 8, the first modern downhill race in the United States was run on Mt. Moosilauke, NH, by the Dartmouth Outing Club. It was won by Charles N. Proctor, of Dartmouth.
1927—Otto Schniebs emigrates from Germany to Waltham, Mass. to become the first Arlberg instructor in the U.S.; becomes coach of the Harvard team, official instructor for the Appalachian Mountain Club based in Boston, then history’s most successful college ski team coach beginning in 1930 at Dartmouth College, finally setting up an early ski school at Lake Placid in 1936.
1928—On March 9, the first American slalom set by Prof. Charles A. Proctor at Dartmouth College under Arnold Lunn’s experimental FIS rules was won by freshman Bob Baumrucker. (Hooke p231)
1928—Arnold Lunn and Hannes Schneider organize the first open international alpine combined—the Arlberg-Kandahar, March 31-April 1 at St. Anton, Austria, won by Austrian Benno Leubner.
1928—Second Winter Olympics at St. Moritz held without alpine events, but FIS agrees to let The Ski Club of Great Britain organize FIS-sanctioned downhill and slalom races.
1930—Rudolph Lettner, a skier and metal worker from Salzburg, Austria, invents and patents the steel edge, intending to prevent skis from wearing down. But his daughter, a racer, finds that edges provide vastly improved grip in turning on hard snow.
1931—First FIS World Alpine Championships at Mürren, Switzerland, Swiss racers Walter Prager wins the downhill and David Zogg wins the slalom; British racer Esme Mackinnon wins both women’s downhill and slalom.
1932—Third Olympic Winter Games held at Lake Placid, New York, with downhill and slalom still excluded.
1932—NorthAmerica’s first rope tow is invented by Alex Foster and installed at Shawbridge, Quebec. It is powered by a Dodge automobile, jacked up on blocks, with a rope looped around a wheel rim.
1933—First National Downhill Championship is held at Mt. Moosilauke, New Hampshire, and won by Henry (Bem) Woods.
1934—Ernest Constam, a Zurich engineer, builds world’s first J-bar, debuting in Davos in December, it is converted to a T-bar in 1936.
1935—First U.S. National Downhill and Slalom championships at Mt. Rainier, Washington; open combined category won by Austrian Hannes Schroll of Salzburg, Austria; amateur combined by Dick Durrance.
1935—The first Kandahar cable binding holding the skier’s heel to the ski is introduced.
1935—The first overhead cable lift, a J-bar is built at Oak Hill in Hanover, New Hampshire, by the Dartmouth Outing Club.
1935—First European T-bar: the J-bar at Davos, is converted to a T-bar.
1936—Sun Valley, built by Averell Harriman as a Union Pacific project, opens with world’s first chairlifts put in on Dollar and Proctor hills, designed by Union Pacific Engineer Jim Curran, copied from the banana lifts used in Central America to load United Fruit cargo vessels.
1936—The Third Winter Games holds world’s first Olympic alpine events, a downhill and slalom combined, at Garmisch. Toni Seelos, barred as a professional, foreruns slalom and is timed 12 seconds faster that the winner, Franz Pfnuer of Germany. Birger Ruud of Norway wins the downhill of the combined using his jumping skis.
1938—Mt. Tremblant, Quebec opens in February with the first Canadian chairlift, built by Joseph Ryan at Mt. Tremblant, Quebec.
1939—Hjalmar Hvam invents the world’s first useful release binding.
1946—first Pomalift developed in Europe by Jean Pomagalski.