Snowshoe and Ski Club

Yes, There Was Skiing Before We Built The Chairlift

Yes, There Was Skiing Before We Built The Chairlift

The Red Mountain chair lift transformed skiing in Rossland;  it did not create it.  Before the lift, the skiing community was active and vibrant, both athletically and socially.  Skiing was not skiing as we know it today, in equipment, technique, skill, speed or the terrain casually conquered in a day on the slopes, but we had slalom, downhill of a sort and cross country races  --  and a skilled and daring cadre of jumpers.  Everyday skiing, however, was essentially Nordic, on the fields, trails and mountains north of the city, with the beginnings of alpine skiing on the steep slope adjacent to the ski cabin.  Skiing occurred mostly on weekends, but our local hill had lights so we also had skiing at mid-week.  Often, after skiing, the ski cabin rocked with music, singing and stomping that passed as dancing.  We had exercise and we had fun, but most of us did not ski very well.  The ski club was as much a social as it was an athletic institution.  The story of skiing in the pre-lift days deserves to be told and retold.  It was an important part of the history of that unique community, Rossland, that we know and love.  This essay is my attempt to fill in some neglected aspects of that history.