Let it Snow!

Once Christmas and the New Year are out of the way, my attention turns to skiing. I’ve been a keen skier for over 20 years, and over that time have seen fashions and equipment change, but never really thought about the vintage side of skiing.

It’s hard to know when skiing started. There is evidence of  man using ski-like objects from 4000BC, but Alpine skiing as we know it started about 100 years ago. The exact date seems vague, as a few ski resorts want to claim the honours for themselves. One of the reasons for the growth in recreational skiing was the spread of the railway network around Europe.

Train Travel to the Alps

Train Travel to the Alps

The wealthy British travelled to Europe for long summer holidays, and the hoteliers started promoting winter activities as a way to get people to stay over the winter months.

At the time, skiing was one of many winter sports on offer, including ice skating, walking, dog sledding and even horse racing.

Winter in Davos 1914

Winter in Davos 1914

Dog Sledding in 1914

Dog Sledding in 1914

Racing in St Moritz 1952

Racing in St Moritz 1952

Brits loved to go fast, so they started racing on skis, with the first recognised ski race being held in Murren, Switzerland in 1922, and the Kandahar Ski Club formed by Arnold Lunn and other British skiers in 1924 to promote ski racing as an international sport.

Skiing has moved on since then, with advances in equipment and clothing. We have moved on from tweeds (and skirts for the ladies),

1910 Ski Poster

1910 Ski Poster

through hand knits, I found this great pattern on Etsy:

VIntage Sweater Pattern

Vintage Sweater Pattern

to Lycra and down filled jackets until reaching our current state of the art equipment.

Peversely, some vintage style clothing and equipment are becoming popular with some modern skiers, and my last few ski holidays I have shared the slopes with skiers in traditional nordic jumpers and trousers.

Skiers in Nordic Sweaters

Skiers in Nordic Sweaters

If you wanted to embrace the vintage vibe even further, resorts such as Kanderstag hold weeks where they encourage visitors to evoke the spirit of times past with vintage clothing and equipment.

Kanderstag Belle Epoque Week

Kanderstag Belle Epoque Week

Or if the ‘Belle Epoque’ is a little too vintage for you, try this video from Beaver Creek for clothes from living memory!

For those armchair skiers among you, Christies have a fantastic sale of vintage ski posters this week (the posters in this blog are copied from their listing) or Vintage Ski World.Com  has copies of many ski posters for sale.

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