Iron age well-preserved skis were found at the Reinheimen National Park in southern Norway seven years appart.
In 2014, the first ski was discovered by the glacier archeology organization Secrets of the Ice, just a lone ski.
Despite the ski’s age, it was beautifully maintained because of its ice burial, and even the original binding—where the skier placed their foot—was still intact.
On Oct. 5 2014, Secrets of the Ice revealed in a post that it was one of only two skis dating back more than 1,000 years with preserved bindings.
The team kept an eye on the ice patch for the next seven years, expecting the melting ice to disclose the ski’s, lost mate.
Being patient had its reward. On September 2021, they discovered the second ski just 16 feet from the first.
“The new ski is even better preserved than the first one!” Lars Pilø, a glacial archaeologist and the editor of the Secrets of the Ice website, wrote in the post.
Both skis predate the Viking Age (A.D. 793 to 1066). The skis are roughly the same size—the newfound one is 6.1 feet long and 6.6 inches wide, slightly longer and broader than the first ski.
The bindings of the newfound ski are made from three twisted birch pieces, a leather strap, and a wooden plug that fits through a hole in the foothold area. In contrast, the previously found ski had only one preserved twisted birch binding and a leather strap, according to Live Science.
“There are subtle differences in the carvings at the front of the skis,” Pilø added. “The back end of the new ski is pointed, while the back end of [the] 2014 ski is straight.”
But archaeologists didn’t expect the skis to be identical. “The skis are handmade, not mass-produced,” Pilø wrote. “They have a long and individual history of wear and repair before an Iron Age skier used them together and they ended up in the ice 1,300 years ago.”
After all, this is the best-preserved archaic pair of skis in the world, according to the experts.