Classic Reads: How to Ski (and How Not To)

You needn’t be a fan of early ski history to enjoy this book, but it helps. From the embossed cloth cover to its diagrams and photographs, the book profi les a sport prior to its emergence as a recreational industry—when it still represented a physical and psychological adventure that wasn’t for the faint of limb. Th e opening chapter, “The Englishman as a Ski-runner,” explores both the benefi ts of skiing and the low opinion of British schussers held by more able Swiss wont to lament ineptitude in their own ranks with “He skis like an Englishman.”

Vivian Caulfeild, Nisbet & Co., London, Revised Edition, 1913

 

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Caulfeild attempts to correct this with ‘how to’ (and ‘how not to’) visual instruction— featuring ladies in long dresses and men in natty tweed suits smoking pipes while executing telemark turns—that seems plucked from a charming time capsule buried on some faraway peak. More presciently, the author anticipates skiing’s future diversity and appeal: “I need hardly say… that the opportunities aff orded by the sport for the exercise not only of the runner’s nerve, but of his skill and judgment, are almost unlimited.”

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