• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Museum offers Nordic Nostalgia

      November 26, 2013

      Original Article by Jean Bristow, Alberta Nordic Skier

      What year did the first recorded news story appear about cross country skiing in Canada?

      When did an 8 year old win the senior racing championships in Rossland, BC?

      When was the last time that wooden skis were used in Olympic competition?


      If you are curious to learn the answers to these questions and to find out many other interesting facts about the history of cross country skiing, plan to make a trip to Canmore this winter and visit the two displays hosted by the Canadian Museum of Nordic Skiing.   (Or, if you are impatient, look for the answers at the end of this article!)

      The Museum is the brainchild of Dave Rees, whose career in Canadian skiing goes back to the
      mid-1940s when he was given his first pair of skis for his 3rd birthday.   After ten years on the Canadian national team from 1962-72, and competing in the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble, France, Dave became a tireless volunteer for the sport, while continuing to race in his spare time.   A lifetime of involvement translated in to a basement full of memorabilia – documents, photographs, clothing and equipment.   Dave's proposal for a small nordic museum was enthusiastically accepted by the Canmore Nordic Centre (CNC) and by Canmore Business and Tourism (CBT) and in December 2012 the first two displays were unveiled at the CNC Daylodge and the CBT's downtown Information Office.

      The display at the CBT office (opposite the Canmore Civic Centre on 7th Avenue) is a general overview of the history of skiing, showing equipment and clothing as they have evolved in the past 75 years.   Boots, bindings, skis, poles and a variety of ancient and modern waxes are all on display.

      The CNC display is in the Daylodge, adjacent to Trax CafĂ©.   There is a ski rack with 25 different skis, showing how the technology of ski manufacture has progressed over the past hundred years.   Also featured is a large display of ski bindings as they have evolved through the years, and a collection of roller skis – some of which are quite astonishing!   Two display cabinets round out the exhibit – one celebrates the 1988 Olympic Winter Games and the other cabinet contains information about the 2014 Sochi Olympics and also features the history of  the World Masters Cross Country Ski Association.

      For more information about the Canadian Nordic Ski Museum, please contact Jean Bristow, Secretary, at jean.bristow@gmail.com

      Dave-Rees-Awards-Picture.jpg 

      Answers:

      What year did the first recorded news story appear about cross country skiing in Canada?

      8 February, 1879 - Canadian Illustrated News (first recorded news story about skiing in Canada):

      "Mr. A. Birch, a Norwegian gentleman of Montreal, has a pair of patent Norwegian snowshoes upon which he has taken a trip to Quebec starting Friday last.   The snowshoes are entirely of wood, nine feet long, six inches wide, and have a foot board and a toe strap.   He walks with the aid of a pole and crosses ice not buoyant enough to bear a good sized dog, so buoyant are the shoes in action." 

      The distance skied from Montreal to Quebec City was 170 miles (272 kilometres).

      When did an 8 year old win the senior racing championships in Rossland, BC?

      1902 – Douglas Lawlor, aged 8, wins senior racing championships in Rossland, BC, following a series of accidents and mishaps which took the highly regarded senior competitors out of the race.   His prize was a fine set of matched smoking pipes, presented by the town's mayor.

      When was the last time that wooden skis were used in Olympic competition?

      1972 – The Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan were the last time that wooden skis were used in Olympic competition.   New technologies were introduced in the mid-1970s, including the use of fibreglass for ski construction and carbon fibre for ski poles.