Skiing has been used as a means of travelling on snow for hundreds or thousands of years. During that time, I’m sure thousands of skiers felt the thrill (or terror) of schussing down an open slope. For most of that time, the course was primarily straight down because skis were not made for turning and bindings were not very secure and were primarily meant to transfer force forward and back.
In the 1800’s, jumping developed as a sport and was brought to America by immigrants from Scandinavia and the alpine countries. In the late 1800’s jumping (and schussing) became popular in the northern and western states. The earliest skiing venues in Michigan evolved around jumping.