Although sledding on snow or ice had long been popular in many northern countries, the origins of skeleton as a modern sport are relatively recent. Skeleton is the oldest competitive sled racing sport in the world. Its foundation began when hotelier Caspar Badrutt convinced some English regulars to remain through the entire winter at his hotel in the mineral spa town of St. Moritz, Switzerland. In the early 1870s some adventurous English guests began adapting boys' delivery sleds for recreational purposes. However, they soon began colliding with pedestrians in the icy lanes, alleyways and roads of St Moritz. Guests soon began to invent "steering means" for the sleds. This led to the development of the skeleton sleds.
Until 1905, skeleton was practiced mainly in Switzerland, however, in 1905, Styria held its first skeleton competition in Mürzzuschlag, Austria. This opened the door to other national skeleton competitions including the Austrian championship held the following year. The Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (now the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (FIBT)) was founded in 1923. Men’s skeleton made two early appearances on the Olympic programme in 1928 and 1948. It was then dropped until it reappeared as a men’s and women’s event at Salt Lake City in 2002. The IBSF combined its World Championships at Königssee in 2004, offering skeleton and bobsleigh events on one track.