If Aliens Exist, Do They Ski? // Ski Stories
Here's the scene: it's a Wednesday morning in July, the sun's shining, and I'm already starting to feel the weekend vibes coming on, despite still being on the uphill side of hump-day. As I'm sipping my coffee, putting off actual work, I'm mindlessly reading the articles that I see pop up on Facebook. Suddenly, one grabs my attention, "Signs of Alien Life Will Be Found by 2025, NASA's Chief Scientist Predicts." Obviously intrigued, I pop the article open and start reading. At some point, I have possibly one of the most ridiculous thoughts I've had all week. "If aliens exist, do they ski?" Ridiculous right? I thought so too, so I put it out of my head, finished the article, and convinced myself to start actual work.
The thing is though, I couldn't shake it. The more I considered the question, the more possible answers I came up with. Being oddly neurotic about stuff like this, I couldn't bury the concept without trying to find some sort of answer. Feeling desperate, I turned to the internet where I quickly found a website where people like me could ask alien experts specific questions. As I scrolled through the list of experts, one in particular jumped out at me, "Earth Sister."
Earth Sister was the only expert of the group to have actually communicated with aliens, and seemed to have developed a rapport with their kind. "Perfect!" I thought, "who better to ask then someone who communicates with extra terrestrials, and may have even been skiing with them!" Eagerly, I praised Earth Sister's knowledge and asked her the holy grail of questions, "Do Aliens Ski?"
Earth Sister must've known I was sending her such an important question, because her answer appeared in about 15 minutes:
"Hi, Matt. Thank you for your question and all your kind support.
Our alien friends have not mentioned skiing in particular to Jack or me. I suppose, like you, that some of them must enjoy something like skiing on worlds where it is cold and icy. We do know that some worlds are cold like ours, and have ice like ours. They tell us that they like to watch us humans practicing and competing in all our sports, so sure they know about skiing.
Jack and I know from related conversations with our alien friends that they all do engage in sports and arts of similar and different various kinds. Who could avoid slipping on any ice anyway, right? Who in the universe could resist the thrill of doing it at break-neck high speeds in an organized way with all kinds of expensive gear snapped on all over us? Right?
I want to know if they ride something like horses, but I never thought to ask. If I get the chance, I will ask about both.
Smiling." - Earth Sister
Thrilled to have heard back and convinced that Earth Sister's information was as good as law, I decided to casually bring up my new found knowledge with my co-workers. "Hey, did you guys know that Aliens probably ski too?" I asked. Surprisingly, they were unimpressed. More than anything, they claimed that not everything I read on the internet is true and that Earth Sister's accounts weren't scientifically sound.
Feeling confused and slightly embarrassed, I returned to the information abyss known as the internet and dove back into my search for answers. My next idea was to post the question on Quora, a website in which everyday people like myself can ask a question in hopes of receiving an expert's answer. Before I went to bed, I quickly asked, "If aliens exist, do they ski?" Despite having my question marked as "possibly insincere," I was still ecstatic to see that it had already received four answers by the time I woke up the next morning. Eager to get to the bottom of this, I quickly read each answer. To my surprise, there was a unanimous consensus: aliens on snowy planets (such as Redlur, where wind-skiing on the Gallium Flats is apparently popular, as well as Mars and Europa) do know about skiing, and they seem to enjoy it recreationally, just like us. The answers were encouraging to read, but I still didn't have a "scientifically sound" answer that I could share with my co-workers. At that moment, I realized what needed to be done. I had to ask a scientist.
That day while procrastinating at work, I researched local astronomy clubs that I could potentially ask about extraterrestrial skiers. Soon enough, I came across the Vermont Astronomical Society- a group that's been in existence since 1964. Appearing to be the most knowledgeable astronomers in the area, I eagerly fired off an Email asking for any insights they might have as to whether or not extraterrestrials ski. To my delight, one of their members, Dennis Woo responded with the most scientific and logical breakdown answer that I'd received.
"Here's my thought process:
1) It is hard to imagine life evolving without liquid water.
2) Given that there are more planets outside the Goldilocks Zone than not, there must be more "cold" planets than "hot" planets. So, it seems reasonable that water as ice and snow is more common than water as liquid and gas.
3) Taking the Earth as an example, evolution favors species that are able to adapt to their environment, including ice and snow. Being able to travel efficiently in the snow is advantageous, as is bolstering one's mental health by taking pleasure in doing so.
4) So, sentient aliens are more likely to have evolved on worlds with snow and ice, and will probably have developed the advantageous skills of Nordic and X-Country skiing." Dennis Woos - Vermont Astronomical Society
Finally. An answer that broke a seemingly ridiculous question down into logical components that seemed totally reasonable. Armed with this new knowledge, I tracked down my boss and gave him the scientific update. To my surprise, a change had come over him in the last couple of days. Rather than continuing to express skepticism for Earth Sister's unscientific answer, he'd actually been conducting his own research on the side and had a complete change of position. When I told him what I'd learned from the Vermont Astronomical Society, his response was:
"Never mind the question do aliens ski. The real question is: did they bring skiing to us and teach us the technology and techniques- like they did with ancient structures, stone cutting techniques, mathematics and other devices that were way more advanced than the primitive humans that were on Earth at the time."
Apparently after binge watching Ancient Aliens, my boss had begun piecing together an existential puzzle that had him questioning if skiing was actually gifted to us by aliens. I slowly backed myself out of his office, closed the door for him, and returned to my desk to figure out an excuse for having spent the better part of the week researching aliens rather than doing valuable work.
That's when it hit me. Maybe, if I wrote an article about my research, I could write it off as time well spent? Not just for Skiessentials.com, but for skiers everywhere who need to know whether or not we're alone, and if we should bring our skis if we ever plan a trip to Mars, Europa, or the Gallium Flats. All I really needed was a conclusion.
So here it is: I'm going to venture my best guess. I'm going to assume two things. First, there is a planet somewhere that has mountains and snow. Second, there is a life form living there that is intelligent. These two things assumed, I'm going to say absolutely they've discovered skiing. Maybe not in the sense of having resorts and chairlifts and all that, but definitely in the cross country sense at the very least. Some records say that the earliest pair of skis that've been discovered date back to 6300 BC. This puts the invention of skis some time inbetween the invention of the bow and arrow and crop irrigation. If there's an intelligent life form out there living on a frozen, mountainous planet, you'd have to assume they've figured out the whole surface area / weight distribution thing by now. Unless, of course, they've just stumbled across the bow and arrow technique. In that case, I'll give them about another 300 years to figure it out. And heck, if that's the case- maybe my boss's world will flip upside. Maybe we're the ancient aliens, and maybe we'll be the one to bring skiing to another species.
Now it's your turn to answer. What do you think? If there are Aliens somewhere out there, do they ski? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!