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Title: Ski-running
Author: Rickmers, Willi Rickmer, Somerville, David M. M. Chrichton
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: “PAA SKARE.”]


Since the first edition of this book was produced two years ago popular
interest in the sport has increased by leaps and bounds. We have
endeavoured to keep pace with the times, and the present volume is an
attempt to give a really complete account of the sport, which will be
useful to beginners and experts alike. To the historical part has been
added a chapter on Continental ski-running, whilst the technical part
has been remodelled, enlarged, and, we trust, rendered more lucid and
complete. Wherever necessary new diagrams have been added, and the
whole-page illustrations have been chosen with a view to indicating the
great beauty and variety of the snow regions of the earth.

Here and there actual alterations of views previously expressed will be
found. We make no apology for these, but desire frankly to acknowledge
our errors, and to thank those friendly critics who have pointed them
out. With ignorant criticism we have been very little troubled, and
with actual hostility simply not at all.

We are further greatly indebted to the many friends who have rendered
us positive assistance. The frontispiece is from Herr Halström’s
wonderful picture “Paa Skare,” which that gentleman has given us
unqualified leave to reproduce. The ski-runner which it depicts also
serves as a central figure for the cover, designed by Mr. Nico Jungman.
To those who have kindly permitted us to copy their photographs
we hereby take the opportunity of expressing our best thanks. The
outline of the Solberg Hill is from an accurate drawing by Herr Von
de Beauclair published in _Ski_, to the editor of which paper we are
also indebted for the drawings illustrating Herr Sohm’s detachable
seal’s-skin and climbing-irons. To Herr S. Höyer-Ellefsen, Herr Fredrik
Juell, Herr Trygve Smith, Herr Durban Hansen, and numerous other
skilful Norwegian runners we are grateful for many a useful hint and
word of advice, whilst we owe to Herr Zdarsky a valuable practical
demonstration of his methods of teaching. Messrs. C. W. Richardson,
E. H. Wroughton, and H. P. Cox have been kind enough to help with the
actual production of the little work, and if there be any others who we
have omitted to mention we would hereby beg them to accept at once both
our apologies and thanks.

  E. C. R.

_November, 1905._


  PREFACE                                   iii-iv

  THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF SKI               1-13

  CONTINENTAL SKI-RUNNING                    13-17

  THE ELEMENTS OF SKI-RUNNING                18-85
    _Introduction_                           18-20
    Part I.--_The Ground and the Snow_       20-27
    Part II.--_Outfit_                       28-52
      The Ski                                28-35
      The Binding                            35-43
      Footplates                                44
      The Stick                              44-47
      Footgear                               47-49
      Other Clothes                          49-50
      Accessories                            50-51
    Part III.--_Technical_                   52-85
      Preliminary advice                     52-53
      Lean forward!                             53
      To lift the point of the ski           53-55
      Turning on the spot                       55
      Walking with ski on the level             55
      Up-hill                                56-61
      Gliding down                           61-65
      Falling and getting up                    65
      Slight changes of direction               65
      “Skating”                                 66
      Braking with the stick                 66-68
      Snow-ploughing                         68-69
      Side stepping                             69
      Stemming                               69-72
      To make a down-hill curve              72-77
      The “Telemark” Swing                   78-82
      The “Christiania” Swing                82-85

  JUMPING                                    86-98
      How to select and prepare the hill     90-92
      How to jump                            92-98

  SKI MOUNTAINEERING                        99-104

  ODDS AND ENDS                            105-116
    _Antidotes to Sticking, &c._           105-111
    _Common Faults and Failings_           111-113
    _Ski-running Etiquette_                113-114
    _Some Useful Figures_                  115-116







  Articles by Practical Men about Ski-running
  Centres in

  _ETC._, _ETC._

  As well as a great deal of other interesting
  and useful information about the Sport.
  The book is edited by


  and is published for the Club by Horace
  Cox, Bream’s Buildings, London, E.C.





There are many people to whom the word “ski” must be an enigma, and
everything connected with the pastime “ski-ing” as a sealed book. The
object of the present treatise is, therefore, to solve the puzzle,
open the pages of the closed volume, and thus throw light on a sport
which, when once learnt, will be found more attractive, healthy, and
invigorating than any other winter exercise, provided, of course, that
it be not carried on (as often is the case) to excess, but is indulged
in only by those who are sound of wind and limb.

For the sake of the uninitiated, it may be explained that _ski_
(pronounced she) is a word of foreign origin, which, up to
comparatively recent years, has been translated “snowshoe,” a term
which conveys a wrong idea of the appliances in question, even
supposing it might be more fitly given to the forerunners of the ski,
viz., pattens formed of withes or wood, which are used in many parts
at the present day, and of which the Indian or Canadian snowshoe is
a modified type, and best known to British sportsmen.[1] The ski,
however, are of different construction, being formed of narrow boards,
7ft. and more in length, upturned at the toe to allow of their being
shoved or slid over the snow, when attached to the feet of the wearer.

With the exception of snow skates (iron shod runners some 2ft. in
length, for use on roadways and hard surfaces) they are the only kind
of foot gear used for the purpose of gliding on snow, and possess many
advantages over other snowshoes, not the least being their capability
of being used for pleasure, as well as the necessary outdoor pursuits
of daily life.

Until comparatively late years the employment of ski as contrivances
for travelling on the snow was unknown to the majority of those
inhabiting the more populated parts of the civilised globe, where
communication can nearly always be kept open by rail, steamboat, or
other means; notwithstanding that they are, and have been used from
time immemorial during many months of the year by a large portion of
the population of Northern and Central Asia, Russia, Scandinavia,
and even the southern parts of Eastern Europe, where the winters are
severe. Casual allusions to them in the writings of some few sporting
authors did not suffice to bring the ski into other than mere passing
notice; and they would probably have remained in obscurity but for
the somewhat recent discovery that they could be employed for other
purposes than those of mere locomotion, or keeping open communication
in lands and districts where snows are deep, and highways lie buried or
are unknown.

It may be of interest to mention here that, in remote parts of England,
ski appear to have been employed so late even as the middle of the past
century, their use being discontinued as communication with the outer
world became easier. Thus, apart from information derived from other
sources respecting finds of ski, or their remains in various parts, one
gentleman, writing from Cumberland in February, 1904, states that, in
the dales of Yorkshire and Durham, the sport is by no means new, and
that forty years ago he went to his school on “skees,” which were made
of beech wood, some 5ft. in length, with “nibs” about 3in., and that
it was no uncommon practice in those days for the Weardale miners to
go to and from their work on such snowshoes, it being a fine thing to
see thirty or forty men gliding down the steep slopes from the mines at
a speed equal to that of a railway train. The writer also adds that,
amongst the youths, skee-jumping was a favourite pastime, and that he
believes the practice was a very old one from the fact that he knew
boys of his own age who had come into possession of “skees” once owned
by their grand-fathers.[2]

To judge from the description given by the author of “Lorna Doone,”
a form of ski was, probably, known in Devonshire some 300 years ago,
where also sledges were employed throughout the entire year instead of
wheeled vehicles for carting in farm products. In the story he relates
how when, during the great frost of 1625, John Ridd was told that, in
the Arctic regions, any man might get along with a “boat” on either
foot to prevent his sinking in the snow--such “boats” being made very
strong and light, of ribs with skin across them, 5ft. long by 1ft.
wide, and turned up at each end, even as a canoe is--he built himself
a pair of strong and light snowshoes, framed of ash, and ribbed of
withy with half-tanned calf skin stretched across, and an inner sole to
support his feet. “At first,” he says, “I could not walk at all, but
floundered about most piteously, catching one shoe in the other, and
both of them in the snowdrifts (just as a beginner would now), to the
great amusement of the maidens who were come to look at me.”

From the above description such ski would have resembled those of the
Chukchis in North-East Asia.

It is due, however, to the youth of Norway that ski-ing has of late
years been reduced to a pleasure and an art; while the notice it
has received abroad is owing mainly to the prominence given to it
by accounts furnished to, and published in, English sporting and
illustrated journals, and to allusions to it in the writings of various
arctic explorers who have lately taken ski with them on their journeys
as part of their travelling outfit.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--An early form of Snowshoe.

From a Sketch by Laurentius Urdahl.]

In turning to the history of the ski, it will be found that their
origin is as much lost in oblivion as that of the wheel; but it is not
too much to assume that human beings who have been created to adapt
themselves to their surroundings at all times, have, in lands far
separated and entirely apart, invented somewhat similar appliances
with which they could float, as it were, and proceed over depths of
snow that would otherwise bury them, or cross tracts of treacherous
ice which would give way under the tread of a human foot. In this
connection one need not refer solely to inhabitants of wintry
countries, for it will be found that the natives of other regions, who
have to traverse yielding surfaces, such as the great mud flats of
Hampshire and elsewhere, wear pattens on their feet, and are thus able
to wander in safety over a substance too soft to bear them otherwise.
Such pattens are almost identical with those employed elsewhere for
travelling over snow, and consist of slabs of wood, some 16in. to
18in. long, by 12in. or so in width, which are attached to the feet
by toe straps and thongs. In these pattens, no matter whether they be
made of withes or solid wood, we undoubtedly find the earliest form of
snowshoes or ski, a form which, however, exists to the present day,
and is met with in the north-eastern and northern portions of Asia,
Thibet, the Caucasus, Armenia, Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, and,
in a modified form, in North America, the principle of construction
there being identical, viz., a ring or framework of wood supporting a
net work of withes or sinews. There are, however, various modifications
of the original round pattern; some of the shoes, possibly to prevent
straddling, are more or less elongated, the length being increased as
the breadth is diminished, while some, thus shaped, have occasionally
leather stretched between the frames to allow of their wearer gliding,
instead of walking, over the snow, and thus become veritable ski; for
while the original object of the snowshoe or patten and the ski are
identical, viz., to support a weight on yielding surfaces, the patten
remains a shoe for walking purposes, while the ski becomes a blade on
which to slide. From this explanation the difference between patten or
snowshoe and ski is possibly made clear for the first time.

While, as previously mentioned, it is impossible to trace the origin
of the ski, mention of snowshoes is made hundreds of years before the
Christian era. Xenophon refers to their being worn (as in Scandinavia
to the present day) by the horses of the Armenians to prevent their
sinking in the deep snow. Historical mention, from a period before
Christ, is also made of the mountaineers of the Caucasus attaching
discs of leather (probably leather-covered wood), studded with nails,
to their feet to enable them to move over the snows of the fells. The
ancient accounts, however, all refer to the patten, but Norwegian
traditions dating back some 1,600 years make mention of the ski. The
Greek historian, Prokopius, as well as other writers, including King
Alfred of England, from 550 A.D. to 1070 A.D., drew attention to the
Lapps, who were called “Skrid Finner,”[3] one saying they were the best
of all men at ski-ing, and the fact of it being the Lapps who wore the
ski, or who were the great exponents of ski-ing in those early times,
would tend to confirm the theory of the ski themselves originating in
Central Asia--those parts of the old world from which the Ugrians or
Finns, Samoyeds, and other tribes of Mongols migrated northward and
westward, till stopped by the waters of the Atlantic on the shores of
the Scandinavian peninsula. There can be little doubt, however, that
pattens were used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years before
the thought of sliding over the snow, which led to the introduction
of ski, entered the head of some inventive genius. The original ski
were probably constructed by the Chukchis, or similar tribes, near
the Behring Straits, or Sea of Okhotsk. They were formed, as already
intimated, of elongated frames covered with leather, and were modified,
subsequently, as migration increased, forests were met with, and wood
was found to be a better and more durable material for the purpose

It will thus be seen that ski were extensively used in olden times
by the Scandinavians as well as others. They also found their way
from Norway to Iceland and Greenland. Of ski there are many types.
The skridsko (sliding shoes), or ski of the Lapps, appear, if one is
to judge from old illustrations from the sixteenth century (Figs. 2
and 3), to have been veritable shoes, the feet being placed in a hole
made for the purpose at the heel of the ski. They are thus depicted
as elongated (some 3ft. long) sabots. There is, however, no reason for
assuming these sabot skis to have been the original form, for they
were, at best, but a hybrid type of ingenious construction, possibly
only used by the inhabitants of certain districts. The true Lapps’
ski, on the other hand, were comparatively short and broad, attached
to the feet by toe straps and thongs, and covered with the skins of
reindeer calves for the purpose of letting them glide easily without
accumulating snow on the soles, of keeping the wood from splitting or
fraying, and because, when thus covered, it was easier to ascend the
slopes of the hills, the hairs which lay fore and aft, checking the
tendency to slide backwards.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--Skrid-Finner hunting (Olaus Magnus, _ca._

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--Skrid-Finner (Olaus Magnus, _ca._ 1550)].

Such skin-clad ski were, and are still, employed by the Lapps, as
well as by others in Scandinavia, Finland, and throughout Siberia;
but several other types have, nevertheless, been used in Lapland for
centuries. In Scandinavia and the North, these skin-covered appliances
go by the name of “aandre,” “ondurr,” “andor,” to distinguish them from
the plain ski. As, however, the advantages of the skin are not now
generally considered sufficient to counterbalance the disadvantages,
they are gradually disappearing.

There can be little doubt but that the greatest development of the ski
has taken place in Europe, notably in Scandinavia, where they have
been modified to suit the different requirements of the districts in
which they are employed. Thus have the varied types hitherto been
many, but may be divided generally into two groups, viz., the short
and broad, or loose snow ski, and the long and narrow, or compact
snow variety (“skare ski”), this latter pattern being represented by
the Oesterdal and Swedish ski (originally one very long and one short
ski, but now generally of equal length). These are the most suitable
for open country, whether in the lowlands or mountains, and on level
or undulating land are superior, so far as speed is concerned, to all
others; but in broken country, or on mountains where obstacles such
as trees, rocks, &c., are to be met with, the shorter or “loose snow”
patterns, owing to their handiness, are invariably employed.

Almost every province, it may be said almost every district, throughout
Scandinavia possessed its own type of ski. In Russia they have possibly
been of a more homogeneous character than elsewhere, owing to the
snow-clad portions of that empire consisting of vast plains which call
for no variety of form. Of comparatively late years, however, there has
been a tendency in Norway to adopt one sort for universal use, and a
sub (lighter) variety for leaping purposes. It is a modified Telemarken
(loose snow) type, eminently suited to every purpose, and is gradually
superseding all other forms throughout Scandinavia.

Of accessories to the ski, the staff has invariably been recognised
as a necessity (except in leaping competitions, when it becomes a
source of the greatest danger) and should always form part of the
outfit on all long excursions or journeys. It assists the skier both
in aiding him when ascending, and as a brake when descending difficult
slopes, or as a means of defence if attacked by animals. The Lapps
use it, too, as an offensive weapon when attacking wolves, which
they occasionally run down on their ski, and kill by a well-directed
blow on the snout, or across that most vulnerable spot, the loins of
the beast. The most effectual use of the staff can only be learnt
by experience or teaching. The fastenings may be regarded as other
important accessories, and but a few years ago, and in many parts even
still consist solely of toe straps formed of withes or leather. These
simple contrivances suited all the requirements of the expert peasants,
and it is only of late years, when leaping was introduced, and the
ski put to other and harder purposes than originally intended, that
stronger and more secure bindings became necessary. Of these, there are
many sorts, all good, but none perfect as yet. In some instances the
latter may be a source of great danger owing to its being impossible,
when peril faces one, or accidents occur, to remove the ski from the
feet, and notably so when a man breaks through treacherous snow-covered
ice, owing to the ski preventing him from regaining the surface. But
while several fatal accidents have occurred in this manner, it is
possible that others have been avoided by the greater command of the
ski afforded to most people by secure fastenings.

[Illustration: HOLMENKOLLEN.

_Photo by Rude, Christiania._]

Having now given an outline of the history and origin of the ski, it
may be well to refer to the movement by which ski-ing has been brought
into the prominent notice of sportsmen and admirers of winter pastimes.
In the extensive and mountainous district of Telemarken, Norway, one in
which ski were employed possibly more extensively than in any other,
owing to its remoteness, and the wretched state of the few highways and
byways to be found there, the peasants discovered that the ski might be
used for pleasure as well as ordinary pursuits, and arranged meetings
at which races were run, and the leaping powers of competitors tested
on the slopes of selected hills. By degrees news of these trials of
skill found its way to the towns and the populated districts in their
neighbourhood, and some few citizens having found ski-ing to be a good,
and to them attractive, exercise, determined to hold similar meetings
at Christiania each winter. The accounts given of those meetings are
very ludicrous, the hill being neither steep nor long, the competitors
riding astride their poles down the track, and only jumping, if jumping
it could be called, a few yards. The exhibitions did not “catch on,”
and were discontinued for many years. The townsfolk knew too little
about the sport to appreciate it, and the absurd, if not painful,
appearance of the competitors was not encouraging to aspirants. Towards
the end of the seventies, however, owing chiefly to the exertions
of the Christiania Ski Club--a select institution with but few
members--some Telemarken peasants[4] were induced to visit the capital,
and in the early part of 1879 a ski meeting was held on the slopes of
the hill at Huseby, near Christiania, which was attended by a couple
of the countrymen, who took part, together with other competitors, in
the races and leaping that had been arranged. The Huseby slope was
one which, only a few years previously, had been described as highly
dangerous, and impossible to descend when the snow was fast and in good

The leaping competition proved most highly interesting. though in
some respects quite comical. Every man, except the Telemarkings,
carried a long, stout staff, and on that, so they thought, their lives
depended. Starting from the summit, riding their poles, as in former
times, like witches on broom-sticks, checking the speed with frantic
efforts, they slid downwards to the dreaded platform or “hop” from
which they were supposed to leap, but over which they but trickled,
as it were, and, landing softly beneath, finally reached the bottom
somehow, thankful for their safe escape from the dreaded slide. But
then came the Telemark boys, erect at starting, pliant, confident,
without anything but a fir branch in their hands, swooping downwards
with ever-increasing impetus until with a bound they were in the air,
and 76ft. of space was cleared ere, with a resounding smack, their ski
touched the slippery slope beneath, and they shot onwards to the plain,
where suddenly they turned, stopped in a smother of snow dust, and
faced the hill they had just descended! That was a sight worth seeing,
and one never to be forgotten, even if in after years such performances
have been, in a way, totally eclipsed.

This wonderful exhibition of the peasants’ skill naturally excited
the greatest interest, and acted on the townsfolk like a charm.
Their leaping was regarded as one of the wonders of the world, and
in subsequent years people flocked to Christiania from far and wide
to witness it. Then came the turn of the tide, the eyes of the city
youths became opened--the eyes of those who, during the long winter
days had, for want of better occupation, frequented billiard-rooms or
ill-ventilated cafés, where the seeds of idleness and vice lay ready
to strike root. By degrees such old haunts became forsaken, for the
attractions of the newly-found sport proved greater than those of the
bottle, and even if they failed to attract and reform the _majority_
of men just at that period, they certainly had a most beneficial
influence on many, and, as time advanced, on the younger generation,
who were able to take to the pastime before bad customs could affect
their ways. Like other things, especially before its novelty had worn
off, ski-ing was, and often still is, carried to an excess, but that it
is a healthy pastime is a fact beyond all doubt. To men it came as a
boon and a blessing, and subsequently to women and girls, who, in the
short winter days and close confinement to the house, suffered terribly
from anæmia and all its attendant evils. At the time referred to the
fair sex was debarred by public opinion from participating in masculine
pursuits, and it is not so very long ago that pater and materfamilias
looked askance at girls who donned the ski. That is all changed now,
however, and ski-ing has produced of later years a race of robust men
and healthy women, presenting the greatest possible contrast to those
who lived “in the good old times,” unconscious of the benefits of
exercise and fresh air, shut up in close and dingy rooms to escape from
the dreaded cold and the touch of an icy blast.

For some years the peasants carried all before them, both in the racing
and leaping competitions. They were steady on their legs, accustomed
to the mountain slopes from their infancy, and could out-pace and
out-distance all competitors. They did not, however, understand the art
of training; the townsmen soon saw they could not get on without that,
and ended at last in beating their teachers on all points, first in
jumping, which they practised as an art, and, secondly, in racing given

It may be well now to touch upon ski-ing proper, or the employment of
ski for the purpose for which they were originally intended, viz.,
travelling over snow-clad land or ice. By means of these appliances
people are enable to roam at will, enjoying the fresh, crispy air, the
pretty landscape, and changing scenery, combined with the pleasant
sensation of gliding, instead of tramping, over the surface of the
country. The speed attained is certainly not very great, and is about
the same in hilly as on level country, for in the former the time lost
in ascending slopes is made up on the descent. In racing, the time
made by the best men, travelling lightly clad, and under the best
conditions of snow and weather, works out at about eight and a half
miles an hour on a course of a little over nine miles, and nearly
eight miles an hour on one of eighteen and a half miles. In racing,
the longest distance ever run at a stretch was covered by a Lapp,
who, at Jokkmokk, in Sweden, made a good 137 miles in 21 hours and 22
minutes, over comparatively level ground, thus at a rate of about six
and a half miles an hour. Ordinary travellers, or soldiers on ski,
would find five to five and a half miles an hour quite sufficient
to tax their powers. In 1900, a detachment of the Norwegian Guards
accomplished a march of 125 miles in seven and a half days, an average
of some seventeen and a half miles a day, which must be looked upon as
a very good performance, considering that they carried canvas wherewith
to improvise tents, sleeping bags, and provisions, and moved up hill
and down dale, once ascending to a height of 4,000ft. above the sea
level. It will thus be seen that, in marching trim, soldiers on ski
do not travel faster, or to any great extent faster, than infantry at
other times, the only advantage of the ski being that, when the snow
lies, they are able to move about, and get along in parts where men
not provided with such appliances, or snowshoes, would be compelled to
remain idle.

Attention may now be drawn to leaping, which was originally learned by
the Norwegians on the slopes of their hills when inequalities of ground
would, during a rapid descent, cause the wearer to bound through the
air for some distance, possibly only a yard or two, but sufficient,
anyway, to create a longing for a little more. This led the peasants
to make an artificial rise on the face of a hill, and there meet to
see who could leap farthest. In no other country was the leaping ever
attempted, and it is primarily due to it that ski-ing caught on, and
became so popular in Norway as to throw all other pleasures into the
shade, and attain its present position as _the_ national pastime of
the people. To be understood ski-leaping must be seen. No photograph
or description can ever give a proper idea of it. Many of those who
now appear as the best leapers are men who devote their chief energies
to this branch of the sport, and who attend all the meetings they
possibly can. They might be called “pot hunters,” but this term can,
fortunately, be hardly applied to them as yet, for the remuneration of
a prize can scarcely repay the expenses they incur in loss of time,
travelling, &c. They, in fact, perform for the love of the amusement,
and, it may be said, nothing else except, possibly, renown. Ever since
the peasants, in 1879, startled the country by their leaping powers,
jumping has steadily improved, _i.e._, in length, and in the courage
or daring of the leapers. But, while acknowledging this to some
extent, it must be considered doubtful whether the modern wonderful
accomplishments equal or surpass those of the Telemarken peasants, who,
some twenty odd years ago, made bounds of 70ft. and upwards, with their
ordinary country outfit of home-made ski, simply fastened with toe
straps of twisted withes, whereas now men wear ski specially made for
the purpose, strapped securely to their boots.

It may be of interest to conclude by giving a list of those who have
made the longest leaps, and continued their course without a spill.

Records of leaps in which the men kept their feet after landing on the
snow, so-called “standing leaps”:

  Year.         Name.                  Place.            Length of Jump.
  1879.  Torjus Hemmestvedt     Christiania                 76   feet.
  1893.  Torjus Hemmestvedt     Red Wing, U.S.A.           103      ”
  1898.  Sven Sollid       }
                           }    Solberg, pr. Christiania   103½     ”
    ”    Cato Aal          }
    ”    Tollef Hemmestvedt
           (16 years old)       Telemarken                  99      ”
  1899.   Asbjörn Nielsen  }
                           }    Solberg, pr. Christiania   107      ”
    ”     Morten Hansen    }
  1900.   Olaf Tandberg         Solberg, pr. Christiania   116½     ”
  1902.   Paul Nesjö (18 years
            old)                Trondhjem                  130      ”
    ”     Nils Gjestvang        Modum                      134½     ”

From the above it will be seen that the longest leap recorded was one
of 134½ft., truly a wonderful performance, and one that could only be
accomplished on an exceedingly steep hill by most able performers.

In penning the above the writer trusts that he has thrown some light on
the origin and history of ski, and the purpose to which they have been
devoted of late years by the Norwegians, the founders of the sport of



If dates there must be, historians will do well to take February 8th,
1891, as the day on which the sport of ski-ing took root outside of
Scandinavia. On that day Dr. Pilet, French Consul at Kolmar, appeared
at the Hotel Feldbergerhof, Feldberg, Black Forest, with a pair of ski,
and since then the Black Forest has been the centre of ski-running
in Germany, whence it has spread to Switzerland, chiefly through the
efforts of W. Paulcke, whose crossing of the Bernese Oberland in the
nineties caused a great sensation and induced many mountaineers to show
an interest in the new sport.

There had been many sporadic efforts before and outside of Dr. Pilet’s
enthusiastic propaganda, but his was destined to bear fruit before all
the others owing to the favourable conditions under which it started,
for the Feldberg is an admirable field to insure the rapid growth of
such a seed. The hotel lies at a height of over 3,000ft., and has for
many years been open throughout the entire winter, whereas, most other
places of a similar character were formerly shut up and deserted during
the snowy season. Even before the days of ski-ing many lovers of Nature
had visited the mountain to spend a few days above the mist and slush
to which a series of mild winters has now accustomed the inhabitants of
the plains. Add to this the close proximity of Freiburg, a university
town full of young and energetic men, and we have the explanation why
here the first ski-missionary was so successful. True, St. Moritz had
a far better chance, but there the first impulse would have been
smothered by the conservative inertia of a fashionable crowd.

In the usual course of events Austria would simply have followed the
lead of Freiburg, and have been content with a very gradual increase of
the ski-running public. But here there arose a man, Herr Zdarsky, who,
single-handed, and through his untiring personal efforts, furthered
the sport by leaps and bounds. He invented a special ski of his own,
commonly known as the “Lilienfeld” (see p. 42). He taught himself, for
he had never seen a ski-runner, and he elaborated a scientific method
of teaching the various movements and evolutions. He may have opinions
of his own, some of which may have been proved to be relatively wrong,
or have been vetoed by a majority, but the fact remains that he was
the first systematic teacher of ski-running. To him we owe a published
theory of ski-ing as specially applicable to steep and difficult
Alpine ground; while many, including the writer of these lines, enjoy
the honour of being his disciples. This honour was not, in the first
instance, without its drawbacks, for a theory, especially if it be
new and original, is a fertile source of dissension. The theory would
perhaps have been forgotten, and the “Lilienfeld” fastening might now
be rusting in the patent office, had Herr Zdarsky not been a man of
action endowed with an iron will. Practice carried the day. Ten years
ago there was one pupil at Lilienfeld; last winter (1905) over 1,200
received instruction from this indefatigable pioneer, to whose village
special trains carry devotees from Vienna every Sunday.

The differences between the Zdarsky school and the Black Forest
threatened to assume alarming proportions, for, strange to say, both
sides had seen little of each other, and a host of misunderstandings
arose between them over theoretical opinions concerning style and
fastening. Fortunately the storm has now blown over, for many things
have been cleared up, and the old hands have ceased to bother their
heads about the best fastening or the best method. Thus the “Lilienfeld
Strife” is a chapter of history, an interesting phase in the evolution
of our noble sport. To put the matter in a nutshell, the Black Forest
looks at the question of ski and style exclusively from the Norwegian
point of view of all-round excellence, whereas Lilienfeld approaches
the subject with the sole idea of quickly teaching the beginner how to
run safely on mountainous ground. Had this been properly understood at
once, there would have been no quarrelling, for these two standpoints
are not antagonistic, but complementary. The general theoretical truth
is the mean between the two, whereas the absolutely practical method is
their application to the age, physique, talents, and inclinations of
each particular individual intent upon learning to ski.

In Switzerland there has been no less interest shown in ski-ing than
elsewhere, and it is doubtless destined to be the great ski-ing country
of the future, boasting, as it does, of mountains, snowy valleys, and a
thriving population. Norwegians have told me that, according to their
belief, they may some day be surpassed by the Swiss, who have at their
disposal a much greater choice of long and steep slopes. In Switzerland
the natives and the visitors, as a rule, know very little of each
other. The natives have taken the cue from the Black Forest, whereas
the visitors, mostly English, have exhibited a laudable impartiality
and an enthusiasm which bids fair to raise ski-running to the first
rank among British winter sports.

       *       *       *       *       *

    NOTE.--In the foregoing article Mr. Rickmers has omitted one or
    two points in the development of Continental ski-running which
    may here be mentioned.

    The translation of books treating of polar expeditions, and,
    in particular, the eloquent passage about ski in Dr. Nansen’s
    First Crossing of Greenland, was largely responsible for the
    first growth of the sport on the Continent. History, too, has
    repeated itself, and Norwegian students resident in foreign
    universities and technical schools have played much the same part
    in Germany and Switzerland as the early Telemarkings played in
    Christiania. We remember well the astonishment and enthusiasm
    which was aroused at the meeting of the Glarus Club in 1903, when
    Messrs. Heyderdahl and Holte gave an exhibition of leaping and
    quick turning. Never had the people seen such a sight before, and
    the good seed sown took root, and bore green shoots at once in
    the shape of numerous little jumps constructed by the juvenile
    population. And as in Glarus, so in other places, people were
    suddenly awakened by an exhibition of expert skill to the immense
    possibilities of the long unwieldy-looking boards.

    Great praise is also due to such men as Dr. Paulcke, of Freiburg;
    Herr Iselin, of Glarus; Herr Von de Beauclair, of Bern (to
    mention only three), for the organisation and conduct of ski
    clubs in their special districts, and the holding of race
    meetings and courses of instruction presided over by Norwegian
    experts. Other clubs sprang up in all directions, and a great
    number of meetings began to be held in different parts of the
    country. In Switzerland, indeed, this soon became a source of
    inconvenience, for every little club had its championships which
    professed to cover a far larger area than fact warranted. It was
    accordingly arranged last year (1904) to form a large central
    association for all Switzerland, which, in due course, held its
    meeting at Glarus on January 21st, 1905.

    Even as these lines are going to press the news comes to hand
    of a large association of all the clubs of Central Europe, and,
    although in the meanwhile no central meeting is contemplated, it
    seems more than probable that some arrangement of the sort will,
    at no very distant period, be found convenient.

    At these Continental gatherings it was last year (1904) decided
    to observe the same principles as in Norway, and the chief
    honours are now awarded to those competitors who show the
    greatest skill in both long-distance racing and jumping. The
    long-distance race is thus, in the main, a test of speed and
    endurance, whilst the jump shows whether a runner is courageous,
    quick-witted, and skilful as well as strong.

    The use of ski from a military point of view is somewhat outside
    the scope of a book of this kind which proposes to deal with them
    chiefly as instruments of sport. It is sufficient to say here
    that the military authorities of all the principal Continental
    Powers have given practical recognition of the value of ski
    in winter warfare, and it is now usual to hold races designed
    specially for soldiers at all ski meetings of importance. In the
    opinion of all _competent_ judges, ski would be of great value
    in the north-west frontier of India, but up till the present no
    good ski-runner has been invited by the Government to put matters
    to the test. For an interesting essay on the subject see Mr. H.
    Chubb’s article in the Ski Club of Great Britain’s Year-Book, No.
    1., Vol. I.--ED.


_Photo by A. B. Wilse._]




Ski-running is a sport which literally throws one into a whirl of
excitement from the moment one starts learning it. Thus the novice
who has once tried will not worry over the question as to how long he
will take to master the art. The constant repetition, however, of the
inquiry: “How long does it take to learn ski-running?” forces us to
make some kind of reply, though unwilling to compromise ourselves by
laying down a hard and fast rule. Given, then, a pair of ski, snow,
correct methods, and a certain amount of patience, anyone gifted with
average pluck and muscle should know enough after a week’s practice to
enjoy excursions of four or five hours’ length. The practice of the
first day or two is always the most trying, but after this progress
becomes rapid. Every beginner falls continually and expends an enormous
amount of energy in getting up again, and every beginner misapplies the
greater part of his strength in other directions. But an elementary
balance is soon gained, and one quickly learns how to make those
little movements of the thigh muscles which save so much. We are far
from saying that at the end of a week you will be even a moderately
good ski-runner. Downhill your more skilful companions will be able
to leave you far behind, and you will be sorely embarrassed when the
ground is at all difficult. But at the end of that time you ought to
be far enough advanced to enjoy something of the sensations of a swift
descent, and to enter upon the confines of that territory of snow-clad
forest and mountain which it will be your special privilege to visit.
And that is already much.

Whilst it is our belief that no other form of exercise offers greater
opportunities for the development of individual skill, it is certain
that in no other are the surroundings more beautiful or more novel.
The landscape is, as it were, transfigured, for the commonest objects
become ennobled when swathed in the flowing garb of the snow-drift,
with its sparkle of iridescent hues. There is a stillness and a
clearness and a blueness of the atmosphere, and a play of golden
sunlight through the branches of the pine trees, standing so erect and
silent, sleeping till the return of spring. And above the trees fresh
wonders lie in store. Vast slopes of snow, broken here and there by
some dark rock, and behind them the soaring watch-towers of the Alps,
with their time-worn battlements and shattered walls. Below, in the
gulf of the valley, lies the village, diminutive like a German toy at
the bottom of a staircase; and on the other side rise whitened slopes,
with clusters of tiny châlets, snow-covered and silent; and far away in
the enchanted distance, clear-cut, yet mystical, stretches a fairyland
of filmy peak and glacier, blending its opalescence with the blue
of heaven. A week is surely a short apprenticeship to serve for the
enjoyment of these wonders, and we honestly believe that, if you are
reasonably strong and diligent, you can see them at the end of that

Like most things, ski-running is best learnt young. A certain
suppleness of limb characterises the style of those who have begun
in childhood, and this, like the true accent of a foreign language,
is most difficult to acquire in after years. Nevertheless, it is
astonishing what can be achieved long after the muscles have set. In
proof of which we may instance that two really good runners with whom
we are acquainted did not begin, in the one case till after thirty and
in the other till after fifty. We do not, therefore, consider it likely
that you are too old to learn, though we are willing to believe that
you may be too lazy!

An encouraging feature of the sport is the constant improvement one
makes. In many other pursuits a point seems soon to be reached beyond
which further progress is very difficult. But with ski-running
every season brings its due measure of advance. A well-known skater
is credited with the observation that anybody could learn to skate,
but that to be a first-class ski-runner one must not only be born on
ski, but live on them constantly for eighty years--an hyperbole which
contains a strong element of truth. Of course, as in other things, an
early beginning is of great value, but a natural aptitude can very well
be developed late in life. It is the object of a book of this kind to
provide instruction in those methods which experience has shown to be
useful, and we believe that if the beginner will himself help us by
using his intelligence, he will be very materially assisted by the
perusal of these pages. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that
the best we can hope to do is to place before him a sort of grammar
of the sport. The spoken language, the unconscious and instantaneous
adaptation of the various positions advocated to the circumstances of
the case, can only be acquired by practice directed by common sense.



Wherever there is snow, there one _can_ ski; whether one safely _may_
is another question, whereof more anon. Absence of snow, or snow
transformed into blue ice, are therefore the well-defined limits to the
possibilities of the sport.

There is no kind of surface capable of harbouring snow which has not
been tried on ski, from the plain, with its unbroken sheet of white, to
the rugged mountain side, where narrow channels have to be navigated
amid toothed reefs and giddy precipices.

Every pedestrian knows the infinite variety there is in landscape; how
an ever-changing aspect of the surface is created by the geological
nature of the soil (sand, moor, rock)--the vegetation (grass, heather,
forest)--the inclination of the slopes and other topographical features
(downs, hills, mountains, valleys, lakes); not to forget the work of
man (his houses, fences, roads, and ditches). For the ski-runner this
great variety of ground is increased a hundredfold by the different
states of the snow, which he learns to distinguish in the course of his
outings. The changes snow is capable of are wonderful to behold, and
the observant tourist never ceases to discover some kind or condition
which is new to him. There is soft, flaky, fresh-fallen snow; there
is downy, fluffy, powdery, floury, crystalline, brittle, salt-like,
slithery, gelatinous, watery snow; there is snow as hard and white
as marble, and snow with a thick crust which breaks into big slabs;
there can be a layer of soft or powdery stuff on a hard sheet, or a
thin, glassy film over loose snow. We have seen it in thin scales,
the size of half-crowns, rustling under the ski like the leaves of an
autumn forest, or, again, in the form of long, streaky crystals, like
asbestos. Often it lies pat and smooth over the rounded hills; at other
times it will be a frozen turmoil of waves, ridges, and grooves!


In stating that it is possible to ski on every kind of snow and on
every form of snow-covered ground, it is at the same time to be
observed that some kinds of snow and some kinds of ground are more
suitable for the sport than others. And as regards the ground, most
people prefer it to be as varied as possible. We do not like it to be
all precipitous mountain-side or all dead level, or, for that matter,
all undulating glade. Nor do we desire our slopes to be always smooth
and easy, any more than we wish them always broken and difficult. A
happy combination of all these things is best. We adore the straight,
smooth descent of a long incline, with its wind-song in the ears and
its snow spray in the face, but we have also an affection for turning
hither and thither amongst trees and rocks. And even level running,
which the beginner is apt to despise, is much more interesting and much
more difficult than many people are inclined to believe.


But, whilst the ground itself should be varied, it is most desirable
that the snow upon it should be of uniform quality throughout. Sudden
changes, as, for example, when a thin crust will bear for some distance
and then suddenly give way, are not only unpleasant, but sometimes
positively dangerous. Perhaps the best of all snow is that which has
rested for some time undisturbed at a temperature a few degrees below
freezing point. Under such favourable conditions the tiny crystals of
which it is composed settle down and pack together, forming a mass, the
compactness of which increases with its depth. Nor does the surface
remain unchanged, for here the dew condenses, and in freezing forms
the innumerable thin leaf-like films above mentioned. The ski glide
very easily over these, and sink into the compacter substratum just far
enough to admit of easy steering.

Another capital snow condition is when a hard crust has been formed,
on the top of which more snow falls to the depth of a few inches, the
first few flakes of the new fall being wet, so as to adhere to the old
crust and prevent slipping.

Wind-driven snow is not usually very good, but sometimes, if the
temperature be not too low, it will form itself into a compact floury
sort of substance, which will stick slightly to the ski to a degree
just sufficient to help up-hill, but not enough to cause annoyance or
to prevent a free passage downwards. Very hard snow is bad both for
climbing and for glissading, for up-hill it becomes necessary to stamp
vigorously in order to obtain a footing, and down-hill the lack of side
grip renders steering very difficult. But quite watery snow, especially
if it be shallow, often affords capital sport.


The worst condition possible for ski-running is when, the temperature
being slightly above freezing, the snow “balls.” This sometimes occurs
with old snow when the sun is very hot, but much more frequently
immediately after a fresh fall. The cause of balling is that water
is formed on the surface, which, being pressed down into the colder
substratum, re-freezes, and adheres to the bottom of the ski: to this,
being again wetted, large clods of the “binding” snow readily attach
themselves; sliding becomes out of the question, and one is obliged at
every step to lift many pounds’ weight of mingled snow, water, and
ice. Some partial cures for this evil exist, and will be found at the
end of the book at page 105; but they are at the best but makeshifts,
and to our minds ski-running in sticky snow is never really enjoyable.
Fortunately, this state of affairs is not nearly so common as one might
at first imagine, for after the snow has settled, even if the air be
warm, the ski do not usually sink in sufficiently to reach the cold
under-surface, and no re-freezing, the primary cause of sticking, takes


Another kind of bad snow occurs after warm weather followed by frost,
when an ice crust is formed. If sufficiently thick to bear, and if
slightly warm, this is not so bad; but if it bears in some places
and not in others a very irritating, and sometimes even dangerous,
state of affairs exists. The evil is aggravated when the sun’s rays,
penetrating, but not melting, the clear ice surface, are strong enough
to reach the ground below. This being dark coloured, is warmed, and,
of course, melts the snow which is close to it, forming large hollows,
which, though capital hot-houses for plants, are veritable traps for
the unwary ski-runner. On such a surface, when the crust is strong, the
ski will slide rapidly, but when it is rotten they will break through,
precipitating the runner forward, cutting his face and hands, and not
improbably spraining his limbs and breaking his ski. Turning on such
snow is a matter of extreme difficulty, for the pressure involved
usually breaks the crust, with similar disastrous results. It behoves
us to avoid such places, or, if we must cross them, to exercise extreme
caution in doing so.


A third, but less serious, sort of bad snow is commonly encountered,
when the surface, being for the most part firm and in good order,
becomes interrupted here and there by marble-like patches of very fine
powder. This is a state of affairs which often occurs high up, when the
cold is intense, and when strong winds blow fine snow over an otherwise
good surface. The powder settles on the lee side of any inequalities
and adheres to any slight irregularities. The ski glide very well
over the old snow, but are checked by the powder, and a fall forward
results. A little practice, however, soon enables one to distinguish
between the semi-transparent, crystalline, darker-looking, old snow
and the more opaque, white, fresh powder; and one learns how to make
allowances by leaning backwards or forwards.


Another disagreeable variety of snow worthy of special mention is the
frozen turmoil of waves previously mentioned. This, too, occurs very
high up, and is caused by wind. In the Norwegian tongue it is known by
the expressive name of _skavler_. The ridges are sometimes as much as a
couple of feet high, and, being quite hard, they are very unpleasant to
traverse. They occur, of course, on the sides of mountains more exposed
to the wind. If one _must_ cross them, a long ski is preferable to a
short ski for the purpose, but there is often a way round if one looks
for it intelligently.


In this connection it may be said at once that to choose one’s way
correctly and quickly, either up hill or down, is a most important part
of ski-running, demanding just about as much skill as the preservation
of the balance. What is known as _an eye for country_ seems to be
very largely a natural gift. Some people are always in difficulties,
whilst others, often less skilful in other respects, are able to find
their way almost intuitively across unknown ground. But, of course,
experience in this, as in other matters, counts for a great deal, and
what may at first sight strike the beginner as prophetic inspiration is
often nothing more than an application of previously acquired knowledge
to present conditions. It is impossible to give much information of
this kind in a book, but, nevertheless, a few hints on the subject may
be found useful.

In the first place it may be said that as a general rule snow is in
better running condition on the north sides of hills, which are shaded
from the sun, than on the south, which are exposed to it. And this is
true not only of mountains as a whole, but of every little hillock
and inequality throughout their contour. Also it is to be observed
that the sun is warmer towards the middle of the day than in the
early morning, but that the temperature usually falls about a degree
Fahrenheit for every 300 feet one ascends. From which considerations
it is evident that it generally pays to climb a mountain on the south
side, where the snow will be firm, and, at all events late in the year,
to start early in the morning. The north side will usually be the
best for the descent, as there the snow will probably be powdery and


_Photo by H. Abel._]

Again, the direction of the prevalent winds, as above mentioned, has
considerable influence, and one will as a rule find the surface harder
on the weather than on the lee side of mountains.

Another thing worth remembering is to proceed very carefully over stony
ground early in the year. If a stone be struck it will almost certainly
damage the ski, and very probably cause a spill; and in December many
stones are concealed by an inch or two of fluffy snow, which is no
adequate protection. By February, however, the covering will be both
deeper and firmer, and the risk will not be so great. Grass or small
heather, on the other hand, even though half exposed, does not stop the
free passage of the ski, but earth--as, for instance, that cast up by
a mole--is almost as bad as stones. So much for the mole-heap.

Let us now pass to the consideration of mountains.


Concerning this kind of ground it is needful to give a word of serious
advice, to sound a note of warning--that is, about Alpine ground,
the high mountain, and more particularly the region of the glacier.
Winter among the _highest_ Alps taxes to the utmost the experience
and the qualities of the mountaineer. While affording the intensest
excitement and causing a feeling of the greatest elation when
successful, expeditions to these are never free from grave danger, as
is sufficiently demonstrated by the victims whom ski-mountaineering has
already claimed. The proportion of accidents is really appalling, and
should make the ski-runner pause before venturing unwarily into the
region of _eternal_ snow. To mountaineers we need only say: “Observe
the rules of your craft with redoubled watchfulness when ski-ing in the
Alps.” Others we must earnestly implore not to undertake an excursion
in the higher regions unless accompanied by experienced companions or
native guides. Good “ski-hills” recommended for downright enjoyment,
and free from conditions causing undue anxiety, are rarely higher than
8000 feet (sometimes 10,000 feet); and we strongly advise the beginner
to stick to such and to leave the more ambitious summits severely alone.

In drawing this danger zone it must not, however, be assumed that every
mountain under the limit is safe. The mountains, as it were, recede
from us in the winter, and many summits and passes which afford a
pleasant stroll in the summer become fraught with difficulty when the
snow queen annexes them for a time to her dominions. Gracious to those
who have been properly “presented,” and who approach her in a spirit
of reverence, that lady arms herself against the _parvenu_ who would
force his way to her presence and shake her by the hand. Giddiness,
snow-blindness, frost-bites, snow-storms and mists, steep ice slopes,
hidden crevasses, tottering cornices, and last, but not least, the
avalanche, are amongst her weapons. In the use of these she is quite
pitiless, and she usually contrives to cunningly conceal them and to
pounce upon her victim when he is most off his guard.


The beginner who has followed us so far is probably now imbued with
the idea that ski-running is a most dangerous sport, and that if he is
not overwhelmed by an avalanche, he is pretty sure to break his leg in
some one or other of the kinds of bad snow which have been mentioned.
Let him take heart. By far the greater part of the snow-covered ground
within easy reach of his abode is sure to be perfectly safe, and,
provided that he is reasonably careful, the chances of an accident
are very small. During the months of January and February the snow is
usually in excellent condition in any of the usual winter resorts in
Norway or on the Continent,[5] and by going further afield very good
going may often be found until the end of April.

Still, it is quite exceptional to enjoy a day’s expedition without
encountering a little bad or indifferent snow during some part of it,
on which occasions the difference between the beginner and the expert
will be more than ever apparent. The great secret is to go carefully,
but to keep moving. Make up your mind what you are going to do, and do
it. A hill is never anything like as difficult as it looks from the
top, but it is usually considerably higher than it looks from below.
In the clear atmosphere of such countries as Norway and Switzerland it
is very difficult to judge distances. The moral is to consult maps. In
Switzerland these are specially excellent, but even the very old and
somewhat inaccurate surveys of Norway are far more reliable than your
own or even the natives’ opinion about such matters.

A corollary to the importance of maps is the importance of the pocket
compass, without which no party of ski-runners should ever venture far
from home. It is surprising how easily a mist or a heavy snow-storm
will cause one to lose one’s way, even on ground with which one is
perfectly familiar at other times. In doubtful weather take a bearing
or two as you go along. To do so takes very little time, and your
knowledge _may_ be of great value on your return journey.

We may conclude this section by directing the reader’s attention to the
Year-Book of the Ski Club of Great Britain, which contains a great deal
of information about ski-running from a geographical point of view. No.
1 of Vol. I., which has just been issued, deals with important centres
for the sport in Great Britain, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Austria,
&c., &c. The articles are all written by disinterested and practical
men, who are themselves ski-runners, and the reader could not do better
than turn to it for detailed information concerning any country which
he intends to visit. The book is edited by Mr. E. Wroughton, and is
published for the club by Horace Cox, Bream’s Buildings, London. It is
issued free to members of the club and for one shilling to the general




Almost every valley in Norway had at one time its own special type
of ski, supposed by its inhabitants to be peculiarly suited to their
requirements; and in other lands the variations have been no less
numerous and remarkable. Those interested in antiquities of this kind
are recommended to visit Herr Welhaven’s very large and complete
collection in Christiania, which it is to be hoped the Norwegian nation
will acquire and exhibit in a suitable museum before it is purchased
by some wealthy foreigner. We do not propose to weary the ordinary
reader with a minute description of the various types, especially
as time has shown the special virtues claimed for them to have been
largely imaginary. The very curious Oesterdal ski are, however, worthy
of special notice. In that district the natives used on the left foot
a very long (about 11ft.) and narrow ski, and on the right a shorter
(about 8ft.) and broader one, covered with elk’s or seal’s skin. The
hairy ski was used to push, climb, and turn on, and was called the
_Andor_; whilst the long one, called the _Langski_, was for resting on
when running straight. The long ski was of special value in crossing
the hard, lumpy snow so common in that wind-swept region. There was
much sense in this arrangement, for in point of fact one does as
a rule, even now, run on one ski and steer with the other; but we
fancy that the uneven movements on the level must have been somewhat
fatiguing. Be this as it may, the _Andor_ and the _Langski_ are now
practically extinct, and in hilly countries the _Telemark_ ski has now
superseded all others. In Sweden, Finland, and Russia, and in flat
countries generally, a very long, thin, and narrow ski is found to be
faster. The curve in front is very flat, and there are considerable
variations in the form of groove used underneath. But for a mountainous
country these are too long for up-hill work, and the sharp, flat point
is not suitable for glissading. The Telemark type can, on the other
hand, be used everywhere, and we have no hesitation in recommending it
to our readers.

To the inexperienced eye there is very little difference between the
shape of the ski used by the Telemarkings who first came to Christiania
and those now for sale in that town or on the Continent. Differences,
however, do exist, and some of them are important; besides which it
is unquestionably pleasant to be the owner of a handsome pair of ski
which, in addition to possessing certain advantages, are always a
source of gratification to oneself and of envy and admiration to one’s
friends. We will accordingly mention all the points of a really good
pair, beginning with the most important.


It is, of course, necessary that they should be made of very
well-seasoned wood, but, unless you happen to be a timber expert, you
will have to take your dealer’s word for this. Ash is the wood most
widely used, and the one which we would recommend the beginner to
purchase. Hickory ski are faster than ash, but they are considerably
heavier, and frequently brittle. Fir ski are cheap, light, and suitable
for children, but it is difficult to get really good wood strong enough
for adults; moreover, they are considerably slower than ash. Walnut
is also said to be excellent, but it is difficult to procure in long
enough and straight enough planks, and it is little used. A combination
of pine and hickory is often employed for racing, where extreme
lightness and speed are of importance, but it is not as strong as good

Having decided on the wood, see that the grain is as straight as
possible, and that if at any place it runs out its lines when doing
so point downwards towards the heel, and not upwards towards the toe;
otherwise when the ski begins to wear splinters will be formed, which
will stick downwards into the snow and act as brakes. Beware of very
light ash, which is apt to be brittle; the best is somewhat heavy
even when thoroughly dry and well seasoned. By-and-by, when you have
acquired some skill, you may perhaps like to have a pair of light ski
for the mountains where you intend to go carefully and take no risks,
and where consequently the chance of a break is considerably less; but
you will appreciate them all the more if you have got into the way of
using a heavier article down below.


The bend in front is of importance. It should begin very gradually at
a point about four-fifths of the distance between the heel end and
the tip, and should not be too steep. A rise of about 5in., measuring
from the ground to the bottom of the tip, is amply sufficient. A good
ski should also be fairly “whippy” about the point, but the elasticity
should be distributed gradually from centre to tip, and should not come
suddenly at one point only. We also like a ski to be broad at the bend,
a shade broader even than the beautiful form shown in Figs. 4 and 5.
The two qualities of gentleness of curve and breadth at the tip assist
a rapid passage _on the top_ of smooth snow, whilst the elasticity is
valuable on lumpy ground, besides being conducive to lightness. The
desirability of elasticity is, we think, a reason for eschewing the
round-upper-sided ski sometimes sold in Norway. The round upper-side
does not, of course, permit of so much loose snow resting upon it
as the flat, but it makes the front part of the ski very stiff, and
consequently unpleasant to run on, slow, and liable to break.

Besides the bend at the point, there is a long upward curve throughout
the length of the ski, running from heel to entrance. The object of
this is, of course, to prevent any bending in the opposite direction
caused by the weight of the body; it also serves to provide an
agreeable elasticity when one is running on the level.


The colour of the ski is very largely a matter of taste, and in nine
days out of ten is of no practical importance. Every now and again,
however, there will be a time when the sun will beat fiercely on
dark-coloured ski and warm them, causing the snow to adhere to them
top and bottom more readily than to those of lighter colour, which
throw off a greater proportion of the rays. For which reason we
unhesitatingly give our vote for plain varnished or white-painted
ski. Black-painted ski are, however, very common in Norway. They look
very smart and present a pleasing contrast to the snow, and they are
frequently recommended for mountain use, for the reason that when
the eye is dazzled by vast expanses of unbroken white they afford a
valuable point of focus, and so act as a preventive to snow-blindness.
We would, however, strongly advise the reader not to rely too much
on this, or sooner or later his eyes will surely be affected. Smoked
goggles, or some such arrangement as that recommended on page 50,
are infinitely preferable to any black paint. Besides which, plain
varnished ski are ever so much darker than the snow, and one can focus
one’s eyes almost equally well on them. The painting of ski is, on
the other hand, often a cunning device on the part of unscrupulous
dealers to hide defects in the wood--a fact which may account for their
popularity to a greater extent than the guileless may suppose.

[Illustration: SKI.

Modern “Telemark” Type.

  FIG. 4.

  FIG. 5.]

Having, then, given our vote for plain-varnished, flat-topped, fairly
heavy ash ski of Telemark type, with a long, easy, flattish elastic
entrance and a broadish point, it remains for us to consider how broad
they shall be at the middle and how long over all, and whether they
shall or shall not be provided with a groove underneath them running
from end to end. We approach these questions with a certain degree of
diffidence, for, in the first place, investigations with a view to
their answer have not been, and perhaps cannot be, carried out with
much scientific precision, and, in the second place, they will always
remain very largely matters of personal taste.


Evidently to some extent the length and breadth of a ski must be
proportionate to the weight of the runner, a certain degree of carrying
surface being necessary to obviate sinking. But, apart from all
questions of support, length is of great importance. In this respect
ski resemble ships, for, generally speaking, the longer they are the
faster they go. Area for area long ski are faster than broad. On the
other hand, the shorter a ski is the more readily it will turn, and it
is, of course, very important to be able to steer easily. There comes
a point, however, when ease of turning develops into wobbling,
and seriously interferes with one’s balance when running straight.
Nor is the unsteadiness of short and broad ski confined to what may
be considered as _horizontal_ wobbling, due to inequalities of the
ground, but broad ski are also more subject to what may be regarded
as _vertical_ wobbling, due to unequal snow consistency. For in the
case of the long ski variations in the carrying power of the snow and
consequent errors of balance occur in a backward and forward direction,
but in the case of a broad ski in a sideward direction, which latter
is, of course, more upsetting.


_Photo by E. C. Richardson_]

Again, almost all ski are nowadays provided with a groove along the
bottom, beginning at a point a little distance below the bend and
continuing to the heel. The object of this is to prevent _horizontal_
wobbling and to assist straight running. Its working is most powerful.
Clearly, then, some sort of compromise must be arrived at between
a very smooth and broad ski on the one hand, and a very long and
grooved one on the other. Now in Norway straight running is all the
order of the day. Around Christiania there is scarcely a hill which
cannot be, and is not, taken at full speed, and the smooth, glacier
polished mountains of that country are equally suitable for a straight
descent. In the Black Forest, too, straight running is paramount. For
these countries we recommend grooved ski about as long as the distance
between the ground and the roots of the fingers when the hand is held
above the head, and of a width proportionate to the weight of the
runner. In Switzerland, however, the ground is both steeper and more
irregular, and in general far more difficult for straight running,
hidden water-courses, rocks, and other obstacles being of common
occurrence. There, it is accordingly of paramount importance to the
beginner to be able to control his speed and to turn, and our advice
is that in that country he should, for ordinary going, use somewhat
shorter and slightly broader ski--say, about 6in. shorter than in
Norway. We advise him _for all-round purposes_ in Switzerland to retain
the groove. But if he is going to do much climbing on very steep and
difficult ground, or if he is advancing in years and has lost something
of his pristine dash, he may find it convenient to omit the groove and
to travel on perfectly smooth boards.


For really long and arduous mountain tours in the Alps, where every
ounce of weight tells, we would recommend a further reduction of about
a foot in all from the customary Norwegian length, and only a slight
increase (if, indeed, any) in the ordinary breadth. On such expeditions
careful going and power of control are of paramount importance, and
ski-running becomes more of a means to an end than an end in itself. A
little extra sinking in up-hill is not of much moment, and is more than
equalised by the gain in lightness; and down-hill the loss in speed is
of no consequence--indeed, in some cases a positive advantage. On such
ski, too, the groove is better omitted.


The following table may help the reader to select ski of about the
usual Norwegian proportions:--

                           HEIGHT OF THE SKI-RUNNER.
          |        |     |4' 3"|5' 0"|5' 3"|5' 5"|5' 7"|5' 9" |5' 11"|
          |  ----  |Up to| to  | to  |to   | to  | to  | to   | to   |Over
          |        |4' 3"|5' 0"|5' 3"|5' 5"|5' 7 |5' 9"|5' 11"|6' 1" |6' 1"
         }| Under  | 2½" | 2½" | 2½" | 2½" | 2½" |     |      |      |
  WEIGHT }|10 STONE| 51" | 59" | 65" | 71" | 77" | --  |  --  |  --  |  --
  OF     }| 10 TO  |     |     |     | 2¾" | 2¾" | 2¾" | 2¾"  |      |
  THE    }|13 STONE| --  |  -- |  -- | 71" | 75" | 79" | 83"  |  --  |  --
  SKI-   }|  OVER  |     |     |     |     |     | 3"  | 3"   | 3"   |  3"
  RUNNER.}|13 stone| --  |  -- |  -- |  -- |  -- | 79" | 83"  | 87"  |  91"


Ski should be treated properly if they are to retain their full
efficiency. It is a capital plan to oil them from time to time like a
cricket bat. Linseed oil is best for the purpose, and a small quantity
of paraffin should be added to it to help it to penetrate. This
treatment hardens the wood, and renders it waterproof and not liable
to splinter. Ski should be kept in a cool place, but should they be
taken out of a warm room they should be left standing in the cold air
for about ten minutes before they are allowed to touch the snow. One
should avoid walking on them over earth and stones. After use they
should be cleaned. To “set” them, place their under sides in contact,
and strap them loosely together at the points where they touch--viz.,
extreme heel end and base of the tip. Insert a piece of wood about 2in.
square and ½in. thick at a spot indicated by the usual position of your
boot-heel; then strap tightly. They will then be in close touch at the
ends, 2in. apart under the heel, and the “feathering” is thus preserved.


No part of a beginner’s outfit is likely to cause him so much “sweet
sorrow” as his binding. The chances are enormous that whatever he buys
will afford him plenty to think about, and, alas! to talk about, for a
considerable time to come. During his early efforts he is certain to
attribute most of his misfortunes to its manifest imperfections, and
if, as we hope, he is a person of an inventive turn of mind, he will
spend the greater part of his evenings, and perhaps even some of the
watches of the night, in designing something new and original which
will at one and the same time overcome all his difficulties and make
his fortune.

It is our sincere desire to assist him in this laudable endeavour,
and accordingly we shall give below a few of the qualities which a
perfect binding ought to possess. Before proceeding to do so it will,
however, be necessary to notice some of those actual forms which other
ski-runners use or have used--a task which is not nearly so agreeable
or so easy. For legion is their name, and it is difficult to make a
selection without hurting somebody’s feelings. During the early days
of the sport in Central Europe (that is to say, till quite recently)
the fiercest controversy raged about bindings (see p. 15). But now,
partly because of the impossibility of saying anything new on the
subject, and partly because the discovery has been made that after
all one’s fastening is not of paramount importance, the topic is no
longer of absorbing interest. Not but what our Teutonic friends retain
their love of controversy, and their earnest methods of conducting
such, but the Scotchman in search of an argument would do better to
start some theme other than bindings, as, for example, seal’s skin or
wax. A reaction has, in fact, set in, and whereas two years ago the
most complicated was the best, we were surprised last season to find
a Continental friend using the old (and very excellent) Lapp binding,
which was so much in vogue in Norway years ago when we first learnt to
go on ski. He, of course, was under the impression that he had the very
latest thing, and we did not enlighten him, but we should not be much
astonished to find him next year twisting birch twigs after the manner
of the early Telemarkings!

Now this plan of making a stiff and strong rope by twisting birch twigs
was the earliest method of connecting the _heel_ of the foot with the
ski. Prior to that a strap across the toe was all that was used. Any
other arrangement was considered dangerous. Then came the Telemarkings
(see p. 9) with their new methods. They bound the ski firmly to the
toe, and lead ropes of twisted birch from the toe round the back of
the heel. This arrangement was at once felt to be an advantage. Not
only did it prevent the foot continually slipping out of the toe strap,
but it relieved the toe itself from much of the strain involved when
the ski has to be pulled forward in walking on the level or up hill;
moreover, it enormously helped steering, and so it was adopted.


People living in towns, however, either could not procure birch twigs
or lacked skill in preparing and fixing ropes made from them. Something
else had to be substituted, and that something was the thin cane, which
so long held the field. The canes were steamed, and bent round the back
of the heel and secured in front by a clamp. This form of binding was
and still is widely used. But the canes, even when covered with leather
and strengthened with steel wire, were found to be inconvenient. They
broke and they were cumbersome, and the guiding power they allowed
of was limited. So taboo was broken and metal was admitted into the
construction of the fastening. Contrary, however, to expectation,
people’s legs did not break oftener than before, and, as the iron also
stood the strain, a binding like that given below (Fig. 6) became very

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--Lapp Binding, Huitfeldt’s pattern (left foot).

The heel is secured by means of a single thong about 7ft. long, with
a loop at the end. The loop end is doubled close to the loop, and the
bight passed through the hole in the ski below the ball of the foot.
The long end is then passed round the back of the heel, through the
bight, back round the heel, and through the hoop thus:--]

[Illustration: The whole is then pulled tight, and the long end passed
over the instep, under the thongs on the inside of the foot, back over
the instep, and under and round the thongs on the outside, where it is
secured by a couple of half-hitches. The loose end is then tucked away,
as shown in Fig. 6.]

The LAPP BINDING shown above is Huitfeldt’s pattern. The novelty
about it was the iron toe piece; the thong arrangement had long been
used by the Lapps. As previously mentioned, many people still employ
this binding, and when skilfully adjusted it can be very firm, and it
possesses the merits of extreme simplicity and ease of repair.

We have, however, several objections to it. In the first place, it
takes some little practice and some little strength to fix the thong
properly, an operation rendered doubly difficult when the leather is
frozen and the fingers cold. Again, the thong, especially if changes
of temperature occur, is continually expanding and contracting; the
knots in it are apt to make sore places on the foot, and, like a
boot-lace, it has an irritating way of breaking just when one is in a
hurry. Again, the iron toe piece must be _most carefully_ adjusted to
fit the boot. In short, we dislike the whole fastening for the reason
that, unless it is very carefully put on and attended to, it becomes
altogether toe wobbly.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--Huitfeldt Binding. Iron Toepiece and Straps.]

The HUITFELDT BINDING given above is considered by many people to be an
improvement on the Lapp binding, and it has attained a vast popularity
in Norway. In principle it differs from the latter but little; but
very stout straps are substituted for the thong with its troublesome
knots, and the iron toe-piece is made of a solid piece of metal, which
is bent up on either side of the ski, and which can be hammered into
the exact shape of the sole of the boot. This is an advantage, as an
accurate fit is insured. The disadvantage is that it is liable to be
bent out of shape by the heavy-soled boot which it is necessary to
wear with this and with the Lapp-binding. The straps, with it too,
expand and contract with the temperature, and a very slight degree of
slackness is sufficient to make the whole very loose. Moreover, the
side straps catch the snow to some extent and act as a brake, though
usually this is not of much consequence. The Huitfeldt binding is also
troublesome to put on firmly, especially when the straps are frozen.
Höyer-Ellefsen’s shortening clamp (Fig. 8) is designed to get over this
difficulty, but it is new, and we have not had sufficient experience of
it to offer any criticism.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--Höyer-Ellefsen’s Patent Clamp for use with
Huitfeldt’s binding.]

We now come to a new class of fastening, where the heel is connected
with the ski by means of some sort of sole, generally made of the
“belting” used for driving machinery, fixed to the top of the ski in
front of the toe. There are innumerable variations of this plan, a very
simple one being to fix a piece of the belting in front of the foot
and to attach it to the heel of the boot by means of a dummy heel and
a strap leading round the instep. The toe is held in position either
by side irons and a strap, as in the Huitfeldt binding, or by a simple
broad strap passing through the ski and buckling across the toe. In
the latter form it has attained to considerable popularity on the
Continent, especially in the Black Forest. We do not, however, think
it worth while to give a picture of this fastening, as it is not one
which we can recommend for any purpose. The dummy heel fills up with
snow, and becomes uncomfortable; and as to the belting, one is in this
dilemma, that if one uses it thin it buckles and if one uses it very
thick it becomes heavy and too stiff for comfortable walking unless it
be fastened very far forward, in which case it rises off the ski at
every step and presses the toe against the toe strap, thereby causing
discomfort and cold feet.

TORGERSEN’S “HANDRY” BINDING (Fig. 9) is, we think, vastly preferable,
for it has no heel to collect snow, and the belting, only reaching
half-way down the foot, is not so liable to buckle.

It cannot, however, claim to be a really firm binding, though if
the strap leading from the belting round the instep be pulled tight
(and a tight strap at this part of the foot does not seem to affect
the circulation) it is not so loose as might be supposed at first
sight. But the chief advantage of Torgersen’s binding is its extreme
adjustability. It will fit almost anybody, and can be taken on and off
in a moment. On this account it is a very good binding for clubs or
shopmen in Switzerland who let out ski to a number of different people
for short periods. Its only moderate firmness also recommends it to
nervous beginners who want to run straight and fast, and who are afraid
of the slight extra risk involved by using a rigid fastening.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--Torgersen’s Handy Binding. Driving Belt and
Straps. Half the sole is Driving Belt.]

ELLEFSEN’S PATENT BINDING (Fig. 10) is of the same class. It appeared
last season (1904-5), and has scarcely been in use long enough to allow
of exhaustive criticism.

As with Torgersen’s, the belting only reaches about half-way down
the foot, where it is terminated by an iron cross-piece with upright
cheeks fitting on either side of the heel (see Fig. 10). From these
cheeks a strap leads round the back of the heel, by means of which the
belting is pulled tight. This stretching of the belting is the novelty
of the arrangement, and is very ingenious, as, of course, it prevents
all buckling. The iron toe-pieces are much the same as in Huitfeld,
but they are fixed firmly to the ski by means of the little metal
tongues which are part of them. The tongues at the same time secure
the driving belt under the toe, giving it due stiffness in a vertical
direction and preventing pressure of the toe strap. But obviously this
is the weak spot of the front part of the arrangement, and unless the
belting is of the very best quality it is liable to tear there. The
makers, however, claim that the best belting will not tear, and time
alone can decide whether this is so or not. The binding is not readily
adjustable, and when ordering it is necessary to send a sketch of the
boot which one intends to use with it.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--Ellefsen’s Patent Binding.]

The figure with the boot also shows a little strap sewn on to the heel
of the boot to prevent the heel straps slipping off. This is very
useful with all the above-named fastenings. See _infra_, pp. 47 and 48.]

The LILIENFELD BINDING has caused more discussion and provoked more
criticism than any other. It, too, is on the “sole” principle, but
differs from all others in this respect, that (except for the heel and
toe straps) it is made entirely of metal.

The vertical axis of the sole is, moreover, placed _in front_ of the
toe, and not under it as in other fastenings, and vertical stiffness
is secured by means of a very ingenious spring arrangement embedded
in the ski. This shifting of the axis forward makes the binding feel
curious at first, but one gets accustomed to it after a while, and then
it becomes very comfortable and pleasant. An objection to the plan is,
however, that one is deprived of much control over the heel of the ski,
and is placed, so to speak, at the mercy of the spring. It is, however,
often convenient to raise the heel of the ski when going up hill, and
it is annoying to find when one tries to do so that it refuses to
obey on account of the spring being insufficiently screwed up. On the
other hand, if the spring be tight the heel keeps “clappering” up and
down at every step. Another decidedly bad point about this fastening is
its weight. It is unquestionably heavy. It is necessary, therefore, to
use a considerably lighter ski with it than with any of the ordinary
arrangements, and light ski are apt to be brittle. It is, however, a
very powerful binding, very suitable for making “S” turns on steep
and difficult ground. It seldom or never breaks, and it is adjustable
to almost any boot. It is usually sold fitted to a special ski with a
hole in it cut for the spring. The so-called “Alpine skee” is shortish,
broadish, and flat-bottomed, with a sharply turned-up bluff entrance.
These qualities render it less suitable for straight running, but
useful for turning on the mountain-side, for which special purpose
it is, indeed, designed. People somewhat advanced in years will find
the “Alpine skee,” with its special fastening, of value for mountain
tours, and it is, we think, easier to learn to turn on it than on any
other; but your dashing youth and your jumper will certainly prefer the
Norwegian article. Of course, the Lilienfeld fastening can be fixed to
a Telemark ski.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--The Lilienfeld Binding. “Alpine Skee.” Movable
Steel Sole.]


The right way of attaching all the above-named bindings to the boot
will have been evident from the descriptions appended to each. It
is sufficient to observe here that the straps (and particularly the
toe-straps) should never be pulled tighter than occasion demands.
Tight straps are the surest road to frost-bite, besides being very
uncomfortable. For all ordinary going--that is to say, during far the
greater length of time that the ski are on the feet--the straps may be
worn comparatively loose. It is quite easy to tighten them up for a
difficult piece of ground or a jump, and there is no occasion to run
unnecessary risks.

Another important matter is that with all ordinary bindings care
should be taken not to thrust the foot too far into the toe-strap. The
toe-strap should never cross the foot lower than the middle of the
great toe. People are apt to neglect this simple precaution, but in
doing so they run the risk of spraining the foot in the event of a fall
forwards. In the case of the Lilienfeld binding, it is not necessary to
be quite so careful, as with it the vertical axis is in front of the


The beginner who has read the above remarks probably realises by now
that _there is no such thing as a perfect ski binding which will
satisfy everybody_! Some people want extreme lateral rigidity, others a
little play, and others, again, comparative looseness. It is much the
same with the vertical movement; if very stiff there is great control,
valuable for jumping and for lifting the heel in steep hill climbing,
but the ski “clappers” on the level. If very loose, the toe has to
carry too much weight,[6] and the advantages of stiffness vanish. There
can really be no such thing as a happy mean in these matters, and
everybody must choose that which on the whole is best suited to his
requirements. Nor can any form of fastening last for ever, and the most
that one can expect is that a binding should not be continually giving
way. Do not, therefore, begin by worrying yourself too much about this
part of your equipment. Buy one or other of the bindings depicted above
which you think will suit you best, and learn all about its little
peculiarities and something about ski-running before you decide that
it is no good. Above all things, avoid boring your more experienced
friends with binding talk, of which they have all had enough and to


In order to protect the ski and to prevent snow adhering to it under
the foot it is necessary to fix some sort of anti-sticking material
to that part which is touched by the boot; and a thin plate of some
non-corrosive metal is best for this purpose; the india-rubber or
seal’s skin commonly sold are of little use, and soon wear out.


The stick is a good servant, but a bad master. It is little used by
first-class runners, except to enable them to increase the speed by
punting. There can, however, be no doubt that it greatly assists a
beginner in preserving his balance on difficult ground and in turning.
On the other hand, it is equally certain that it is frequently the
cause of his adopting a bad style, of spoiling his balance, and of
hindering or entirely blocking his progress in the art of turning. To
jump with a stick in the hand is most dangerous, and, of course, there
is always the possibility of the stick being lost or broken on tour.

Accordingly there are those who recommend the beginner to leave
this part of his outfit at home; and much is to be said in favour
of such advice, especially in the case of a young and active pupil.
When, however, it is argued that anybody who can go on ski without a
stick will not have any difficulty in subsequently taking to one, we
venture to differ. Perhaps in rare cases it may be so, but we have
had a somewhat extensive experience of beginners of all ages, and we
have always found it otherwise. The novice who has learnt without a
stick seems to be greatly embarrassed when one is first placed in his
hand. Moreover, we have met not a few ski-runners, no longer novices,
who make very pretty Telemark and Christiania swings on the practice
ground with hands free, but who break down hopelessly on tour when
encumbered with a stick. But everybody is agreed that a stick of some
sort or other should be taken on tour, and we fail to see the use of
these pretty manœuvres if they cannot be accomplished when really most
required. This, however, is far from being the whole case for the pole.
What is your poor elderly friend to do when he tumbles in deep snow?
It frequently requires considerable activity to get up under such
circumstances, and what is here mentioned half in jest might really be
an ugly matter. Besides, nobody over twenty-five can be expected to
enjoy continual struggling head downwards. People get exhausted, people
begin to think that it is impossible to learn, and people take to some
inferior sport which they find easier, and therefore more amusing. Did
you mutter “Let them go”? Nay; but there we touch the very root of the
matter. Is ski-running merely a pretty form of athletics for the few,
or is it a noble sport for the people, leading them forth from stuffy
houses and narrow roads to the glories of the winter landscape? Surely
the latter; and we would rather the runner sat on his pole at every
hill and visited the woods and mountains than that he was the cleverest
performer on the practice ground and went nowhere else. “But,” it is
said, “if the beginner accustoms himself to run with a stick in his
hand he will be quite helpless when he loses it or breaks it, or when
he wishes to jump.” This is, of course, to some extent true, but the
case is not so bad as all that. In reality, as above hinted, it is a
good deal easier to run without a stick than with one after a certain
stage has been reached; our experience is that the more advanced pupil
soon learns to appreciate this, and that the transition from stick to
no stick is seldom difficult. Besides, there is no reason to carry
matters to extremes and _never_ to practise with the arms free.

[Illustration: THORWALD HANSEN. King’s Prizeman, Norway, ’05.

_Photo by Th. Thorkelsen._]

Our advice, then, is:--_Begin by carrying a stick in the hand, but use
it only to overcome a difficulty. Endeavour to be as independent of it
as possible, and practise sometimes without it._

Shall the ski-runner use two sticks or one? and shall it or they be
furnished with a basket arrangement at the end (see Fig. 12)? These
are questions which have also been much discussed, and frequently
rather unprofitably. We think that it all depends on circumstances.
Two light bamboos with wicker-work discs (Norwegian _Trindser_) at the
end are very serviceable when one has got beyond the beginner’s stage.
They help one up hill and along the level, and down hill they may be
trailed behind in each hand, or on difficult ground held together
and used as one. The discs are, of course, intended to prevent the
point penetrating the snow to too great a depth--_not_ to act as
brakes. But on very steep and hard mountain sides where one may find
oneself--sometimes with a precipice below--they are far from being a
source of comfort. On such occasions one prefers to have a single stout
staff, which one can thrust deeply into the snow, and which one knows
will not slip or break. And in general we have not found two sticks to
be of much service in the high Alps, though for lower excursions in
Switzerland and in the Black Forest and everywhere in Norway we prefer
them. The novice, however, should, we think, _begin_ with a simple
staff of good ash or other strong wood, without any disc at the end. He
is sure to require to use his stick to some extent (indeed, we shall
advise him lower down to do so), and he would probably only break light
double sticks. He should get into the habit of holding his stick in
either hand, and should begin to practise with two as soon as he thinks
he is far enough advanced to do so. In choosing his stick he will
select one about as long as from the ground to the top of his shoulder.
It should be furnished with a metal ferrule and a spike at the lower
end, and a _broad_ leather loop at the top for the hand.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--Disc for bottom of ski stick, attached by
metal ears. Staub of Zürich’s pattern.]

The double bamboo sticks should also be about as long as from the
ground to the shoulder. They are best out from the root end of the
plant, where it is strongest; the root also serves as a convenient
lump for the hand to hold. The discs are best attached by a metal
arrangement, as shown in Fig. 12, and not by boring a hole in the cane
and passing a piece of leather through it, as is common in Norway. The
one method holds for a long time; the other breaks very soon.


This is a very important part of a ski-runner’s outfit, and too much
attention cannot be paid to it. Nevertheless, nothing is commoner in
Switzerland than to see the early efforts of beginners enormously
handicapped by unsuitable boots. English ladies, particularly, seem to
find it difficult to make up their minds to spend the necessary amount
of money on a suitable pair, and usually appear in thin, high-heeled
shoes covered by “gouties.” But the acme of thoughtlessness was in our
experience achieved by a man who went out in patent-leather boots and
openwork silk socks! The consequences were, of course, frost-bite, and
he narrowly escaped losing a few toes.

A strongly made, waterproof, low-heeled boot is a necessity, and with
most modern bindings the sole should be not less than half an inch
thick. It should be roomy enough to permit of _at least_ three pairs of
extra thick socks being worn, and there should be plenty of room for
the toes to “waggle.” With bindings such as Huitfeldt’s it is better
not to have the toe cut too square, for a more or less wedge-shaped end
fits better into the toe-irons. In order to resist the pressure of the
toe-strap it is best to have the leather extra thick in front. The boot
should fit fairly tightly round the ankle and instep, for reasonable
firmness at this point does not interfere with the circulation, and
is of value in preventing sprained ankles and chafed heels. With
Ellefsen’s binding, where there are no straps across that part of the
foot, this is of special importance. Nothing is gained by wearing a
sloppy sort of boot and subsequently imprisoning the foot in tight and
narrow straps. The strain of moving the ski has to be borne somewhere,
and it is best to distribute it evenly where it is least felt. In order
to prevent the heel straps slipping down it is strongly advisable with
all the bindings mentioned above (except the Lilienfeld) to have a
small strong strap and buckle sewn to the heel of the boots. The buckle
should point upwards, and should be fixed quite close. The end of the
strap then points downwards, and is useful as a sort of shoehorn for
pulling on the binding.

For Switzerland we would advise the addition of a _few_ nails to the
sole of the boot. They prevent any slipping about on icy places round
the house, and they make all the difference to one’s happiness in
climbing on foot over a pass, or the last few yards of some rocky and
icy summit. They are not, however, to be recommended in Norway, where
nobody wears them. Not but what there is plenty of ice round the hotels
and sanatoria there, but in that country custom is everything, and it
is better to bear with a bump or two than to offend.

In the Black Forest ski boots are often made of dog or calf skin, with
the hair left on _outside_. An inner coating of hair is often added,
but this we think is a mistake, as it is difficult to dry after use.
The exterior coating of hair is, however, a great protection against
cold. It wears out in course of time, and then the thing to do is to
follow the classical example of the King of the Jews and buy another

Arctic explorers and others who go to very cold places are unanimous
as to the virtues of outside hair, and various devices exist to enable
the runner to fix a covering of it over his ordinary boots. These
inventions are, however, apt to be too bulky, or to fill up with snow,
or to be cut by a nailed boot, and we cannot recommend any we have
seen. A very simple plan is, however, to nail a piece of skin (or
canvas-covered felt) to the ski in front of the foot, and to pass it
between the toe-strap and the boot. It should be wide enough and long
enough to cover the toes, but not, of course, so wide as to project
and act as a brake. This little dodge helps to keep the toes warm, not
only by the extra covering which it affords, but also by distributing
the pressure of the toe-strap over a greater surface; it also to
some extent prevents snow collecting under the toes and forming an
uncomfortable lump there.

Boots should be greased now and again, but in moderation, for excessive
greasing is said to cause cold feet. The boots should be warmed (with
hot water or otherwise) before the grease is applied. Castor oil is
excellent for this purpose.

The best kind of socks to wear are very thick ones made of goat’s
hair; but nowadays they are difficult to get. In Norway so-called
“Ragge Sokker” are no longer made of pure material, and the modern
imitation is harsh and uncomfortable. Thick woollen socks known as
“Ladder” are now largely used, and a pair of these over a good ordinary
sock are sufficient for most purposes. It is, however, always advisable
to take a dry pair in one’s rucksack, for, however waterproof one’s
boots may be, a considerable amount of moisture always accumulates
inside them. This is due to the condensation of perspiration against
the cold outer surface of the boot, and is most dangerous in very cold
weather, when the leather freezes and its pores are choked by ice.
When this occurs the toe-straps should be loosed and the toes should
be kept moving. Frost-bite is very insidious, and is frequently quite
unnoticed by the sufferer till he reaches home and it is too late. The
consequences may be very serious, and it is impossible to be too much
on one’s guard.

From the above it will be seen that there is plenty of room for
improvement in the ski-runner’s footgear. We recommend a thick
under-sock, a pair of good “Ladder,” a stout boot, fitting well about
the ankle, but with plenty of room at the toes, and a piece of skin
covering the toes and held in position by the toe strap. But, all the
same, we frequently suffer from cold feet, and we wish somebody would
invent something better.


Other clothes are of minor importance. Remember that the season and
the snow are cold, that the latter melts, that the exercise is at
times very violent, and then you are not likely to try wading trousers
or an umbrella. The best clothes for ski-runners are, perhaps,
knickerbockers and a double-breasted jacket. Choose a material of
smooth texture, for woolly stuffs catch the snow, which soon forms into
icy lumps, betraying the novice and melting unpleasantly in a warm
room. All openings at the neck, sleeves, knees, and ankles must have
an arrangement to fit closely to keep out the snow, which is apt to
find its way in, especially in the earlier stages of practice. Let the
cap, or soft felt hat, be provided with flaps, to protect the ears in
a sharp breeze. The so-called St. Moritz cap is excellently adapted to
the purpose. Thick woollen gloves, long enough to reach high above the
wrist, are indispensable, and a second pair ought to be in the pocket
as a change, for wet gloves in a cold wind are the surest road to
frost-bite. Puttees are probably the best means to shut the top of the
boot and to cover the stockings. Some sort of wind-jacket is necessary
in the Norwegian mountains and elsewhere where strong winds prevail.
A capital one is in use in Austria. It is made of very thin oil-silk
in the form of a sort of smock-frock, with a hood at the back for the
head. It weighs almost nothing, and is warmer than any sweater. With
this and a pair of trousers of the same material one may laugh at the
most biting wind that ever blew, and the dangers of a night out become
greatly minimised.


The RÜCKSACK--Norwegian Rypesæk--came originally from the Tyrol, and is
by far the best means of carrying things. It should be made of stout
waterproof canvas, and should be provided with broad shoulder-straps.
We advise the novice to buy as good a one as he can afford; he will
find it useful for other things besides ski-running.

SMOKED GLASSES, or some such device as that recommended below, will
generally have to be worn above the tree-line to protect the eyes from
snow-blindness. The precise nature of this complaint does not appear
to be understood. It appears to be more prevalent in some countries
than in others, and is not, we think, entirely a matter of intensity
of light. It seems, for example, to be more dangerous in the Norwegian
mountains than in Switzerland. Like frost-bite, it is insidious, and
the patient frequently is not seriously inconvenienced till after the
damage is done. Some people, too, are far more susceptible to it than
others. Instead of smoked glass, which is liable to become dimmed by
the condensation upon it of moisture, we prefer a simple oblong piece
of leather, 6in. long and about 1in. broad, with two oval-shaped holes
in it opposite the eyes, say, ½in. long by ⅜in. broad; a slit for the
nose to hold it in position, and two pieces of string to bind it round
the head.

[Illustration: IN DERBYSHIRE, NOVEMBER, ’04.

_Photo by C. R. Wingfield._]

The WATER-BOTTLE should be of sufficient capacity; one to hold about a
litre is convenient. It should be provided with a felt covering and a
tight-fitting cork. What to put into it is a matter of choice, though
much alcohol is not to be recommended. Personally we have given up
compounding drinks of cold tea, sugar, and wine, for the reason that
they are so nice that we drink more at a time than we should. Our
companions, too, look at us with such longing eyes that it is difficult
to resist their dumb appeal. Such a water-bottle is soon empty. Plain
sugar and water is not so nice, but is very sustaining, the sugar being
very rapidly digested, and a raw egg or two adds to the value of the
compound. Dried prunes, acidulated drops, and other sweetmeats will be
found very pleasant on a ski tour, even though one never touches them
at other times. Louis Stevenson has observed that the hungrier a man is
the more he appreciates delicacies, so do not let your luncheon consist
entirely of plain beef sandwiches. Remember, too, that it is better to
eat little and often than largely and all at once.

SOME SORT OF REPAIRING OUTFIT and a spare ski tip should always be
taken with one. There are little light metal tips on the market made
to fit over a broken ski which are very useful. The kind that fixes
with a screw is best, as the other is apt to come off. If, however, one
has the latter, a small screw-nail through it would keep it in place.
With one of these tips, and the means of making an improvised binding
with a few screw eyes and nails, a washer or two, and some straps, the
runner should be able to get home easily enough wherever his ski may
break. The reader must use his ingenuity in such matters, remembering
always that it is impossible to execute very elaborate repairs with
cold fingers.

There are other odds and ends more or less useful on tour, a
description of which will be found in any dealer’s list.




We would very strongly recommend the beginner to make his first efforts
on some one or other of the good snow conditions described on pp. 21
and 22. Freshly fallen deep snow is especially to be avoided, for not
only does it afford heavy and difficult going, but a fall in it is apt
to be dangerous. This is, of course, the reverse of what one would
expect; but what happens is that the ski sink in deeply, and in the
event of a fall they are apt to stick and sprain the ankle or knee.
The firmer the snow the better it is, provided always that it be of
sufficient depth and that it be fair snow, and not ice-crust.

All things considered, we would advise the beginner to learn to go
slowly before he learns to go fast. That is to say, as soon as he can
run straight fairly well, we would have him learn how to regulate
his speed and steer by means of what is known as “stemming” (see
_infra_, p. 69). In practising this movement he will at the same time
learn how to balance himself with the weight on one foot, a necessary
accomplishment; for, though in ski-running both ski are usually kept
on the ground, _the weight is nearly always mainly on one foot_. It is
well to pause and try to appreciate this very important fact before
reading further.

After he has learnt something of stemming, and provided that he has
followed our instructions and used his pole as little as possible
(and then only as we direct), he should not find much difficulty in
acquiring some speed in glissading. He should then begin to take short
tours of, say, an hour or two’s duration, gradually lengthening them as
his proficiency increases. _He should when on tour endeavour to apply
the knowledge which he has gained on the practice ground, and on the
practice ground he should try to overcome those difficulties which he
has encountered on tour._ There is no sense in keeping on climbing up
and sliding straight down the same easy hill; yet such is the commonest
form of ski-ing at fashionable Swiss winter resorts!

As soon as the beginner can “turn on the spot,” run straight fairly
well, and “stem,” he _can_ (we do not say he _should_) go where he
pleases. He will, however, remain slow and awkward, and he will miss a
great deal of the beauty of the sport if he rests content with these
easy accomplishments. We trust that he will be of a more ambitious
disposition, and that he will proceed to the mastery of the “S” turn
and of the “Telemark” and “Christiania” swings; and we strongly
recommend him to learn something of jumping, not only on account of the
amusement which he will certainly derive from it, but because it is the
very best means of gaining a good balance for ordinary running.

It is of the greatest importance to cultivate a freedom and elasticity
of movement and position. The muscles should be as strong as iron,
but as flexible as rope. The knees should be pliant, and should act
like the springs of a carriage in relation to the rest of the body. Be
watchful, but courageous, and try hard not to fall.


Lean forward is the watchword of the ski-runner, and it is just as well
to explain what is meant by it before proceeding further.

Place your ski parallel, one about a foot in front of the other, and
throw the body forward as much as possible; one ought to feel as if
about to fall on one’s nose. To the onlooker one seems to be standing
on the _entire_ sole of the foot, but in reality all the weight rests
on the front part and the toes. Thus, stand erect on the ski, the knees
a little bent, and then lean forward without bending any part of your
body (especially not the region of the hips) and without raising the
heel; then you ought to feel what is meant. Never assume a position as
if sitting down or about to do so, because that would press down the
heel. Every violation of this great rule of leaning forward is punished
by the ski “bolting” from under one.


To lift the point of the ski seems a very simple matter, but it is at
least ten to one that the novice will do it wrong. Press the heel of
the ski down on the ground with your heel, and lift the point upwards
with your toe. _Do not raise any part of your foot from the ski._

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--Turning on the Spot.]

To lift the heel of the ski reverse the above. Here it will not be
possible to keep the heel of the foot on the heel of the ski, but the
binding will raise the latter from the ground to some extent.


Turning on the spot is a puzzle to the beginner, though simple when

Lift one ski straight to the front (see Fig. 13 (1)), putting the heel
end as far away from you as you can, then turn it outwards and away
from you smartly, swinging the point right round and leaving the heel
resting on the snow, then put it down, point by heel, alongside of the
other ski. This twisted position (Fig. 13 (2)) is the only difficulty,
but very few attempts will soon show that it is not so bad or cramped
as it seemed at first. In this position hold the knees slightly bent.
Lastly, _raise the point_ of the other ski and swing it round. You
will find it easier to learn this movement with the assistance of your
stick, which should first be held obliquely across the body, pointing
in the opposite direction to that in which you are turning. Then after
assuming position (2) shift it across as in (3), and lastly swing round
the other ski. As soon as you are proficient with the help of the stick
practise without it--and, of course, both to right and to left. It is
not necessary to stand on the snow in order to learn these movements.
The carpet will do, but remove all Dresden china from the immediate


Walking with ski on the level differs from ordinary walking or skating
in this, that _one must not strike out_, there being no fulcrum or
point of resistance. Keep the ski _parallel_ and _as close together as
possible_ (closer than shown in the diagram), for a narrow spoor has
many advantages, besides being “good form.” Throw the weight of the
body forward and _slide on the advanced leg_; the “hind” leg must be
absolutely disengaged--that is to say, do not strike out by trying to
press the snow with it. Begin with long, slow steps, lunging forward
with bent knee (Fig. 14). Do not lift the ski from the ground, but
slide along regularly and conscientiously; do not hurry or flurry, but
save your breath. In one’s first steps one must specially cultivate
precision, sliding forward with ski exactly parallel, and distributing
the weight properly. Lean forward! slide![7]

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--On the Level.

The ski should be kept closer together than shown. The closer the

A single stick on the level is of but little service, but with two
sticks the pace can be considerably increased, especially on a good
firm surface. Both sticks should be thrown forward simultaneously,
and the slide on the advanced leg accelerated by a vigorous push with
both arms. When proceeding in this way it is well to observe some kind
of rhythm; and, as the snow is seldom slippery enough to admit of a
push at each step, one should run, for example, one, two, three steps
(swinging the sticks forward), and then push with the arms, sliding on,
say, the right leg; then run one, two, three steps and push, sliding on
the left leg, and so on.


To the laity it is a matter for wonder how it is possible to climb any
considerable hill at all on ski. We remember well the look of polite
incredulity which passed across the face of a mountaineering friend
some years ago when we told him that a certain well-known pass in the
Alps had been traversed in winter. He had tried ski himself, but had
made very little of them, and the pass in question is a stiff one to
negotiate even in summer. But now long climbs on ski in winter have
become so common that it is unnecessary to pursue the subject further
than to quote the classical observation of Olaus Magnus, “There exists
no mountain, however high, which by means of cunning by-ways he (the
ski-runner) cannot surmount.”

[Illustration: A STIFF CLIMB.

_Photo by E. C. Richardson._]

It is, however, well to observe here that some of the accounts of the
ease with which one can climb hills on ski have been exaggerated. In
rare conditions of perfect snow one may perhaps ascend as quickly as
in summer, but, roughly speaking, it may be said that ski are about
twenty-five per cent. slower up-hill than boots. We are here, of
course, speaking of climbing a steep mountain where it is necessary
to zig-zag (see _infra_), and not of walking straight up a moderate
slope. Moreover, whether we slide the ski upwards in winter or whether
we carry a corresponding weight on our backs in summer, the fact
remains that some 10lb. or so have to be raised so many feet, and we
are handicapped to that extent. Where ski really have the advantage is
after the summit has been reached--of which more anon.

Up to a certain degree of steepness (varying with the quality of the
snow) there is little or no difference between the methods used for
climbing and for walking on the level. Snow is not an absolutely
slippery substance, and the ski always adhere to it to some extent.
There comes, however, very soon a point beyond which we can no longer
slide as on the level, and shortly after-wards another, where the force
of gravity overcomes the “stickiness” of the snow and we begin to slip
back. These points are very different with the expert and the beginner,
and the former will slide easily straight up a slope upon which the
latter will slip hopelessly.

In ascending a steep incline the art lies (1) in knowing (and only
experience can teach one) just how steeply one can go without a slip;
(2) in the correct placing of the ski in the snow; and (3) in the
correct balancing of the body upon the ski when so placed. The correct
placing of the ski is not a difficult matter. The secret lies in
raising the point of the ski (see p. 53) an inch or two from the ground
and bringing it _straight_ down with a _firm_ stamp. The stamp is at
first nearly always made too gently by ladies and too hard by men.
Imagine you are cracking a walnut--that will be about right. Remember
that _where the foot is brought down there it must stop_. If it slips
even the least tiny bit you must stamp again.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--_Climbing a slope._--_s_ = the fall of the
slope; _t_ = turn here. The shaded parts are obstructions (rocks, thick
growth, &c.).]

Next bring the weight forward as evenly as possible on to the ski you
have stamped, and advance the other leg. In doing so take the greatest
care to balance the weight of the body _straight over_ the stamped ski;
lean neither backwards nor forwards, or you are certain to slip.

In hill-climbing it is, of course, expedient to go as steeply as
possible, but the beginner will find that it pays best to take things
easily at first, as a single slip backwards is more exhausting than
twenty steps forwards.

To negotiate a steep slope one must go across and upward at a
convenient angle, making a zig-zag track, as an engineer would plan a
good mountain road (Fig. 15). Turn at the corners as described, p. 55,
and when so doing remember to assume a safe standing position, for
a slip on a steep slope may be attended by unpleasant consequences.
The correct position in which to stand before turning is clearly with
the ski horizontally in space--that is to say, at right angles to the
direction of the gradient; then one cannot slip while engrossed in the

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--“_Herring-boning._”--The figure is in the act
of lifting the right ski over the heel of the left. The light lines are
his tracks.

NOTE.--Swing the body well, as shown.]

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--_Hill climbing sideways._--Used only on very
steep slopes. The light lines are old tracks.]

The diagrams on page 59 show two other methods of hill-climbing which
are chiefly useful for short slopes. They are both too fatiguing to
be employed for any length of time. A modification of the style shown
in Fig. 17 is, however, very useful, especially on crusted snow. It
consists in going forwards and upwards at the same time, lifting the
ski at every step. This is not so very tiring, and may on a hard
surface be kept up for a considerable length of time without undue
fatigue. The track formed will appear as under.



It is important when proceeding in this way to remember, when lifting
the _upper_ ski, _to raise its heel from the snow_ (see p. 55) _and
place it well up-hill in a horizontal position_. Most beginners move
only the front part of the ski, and place it in the snow with the
heel pointing down hill. Even if the upper ski does not slip in this
wrong position (as usually happens), the lower ski, when it comes to
be lifted, is sure to be placed across the heel of the upper ski,
imprisoning it and preventing the next step being taken. You are
certain to make this mistake very frequently at first, and it will land
you in all sorts of difficulties and entanglements, but do not forget
that we warned you against it.

A single stick is not of any very positive assistance up-hill, though
it has a negative value on _very_ steep ground both in aiding the
balance and in giving a feeling of security against slipping. In
traversing a slope it should be held across the body with the point
touching the snow on the upper side. The beginner will also find it
useful to assist him in rising to his feet after a fall. He should,
however, entirely abandon all idea of pulling himself up-hill with
his stick; to do so is quite impossible. Balance is what is required,
_plus_ a little thigh muscle, which will come with practice.

Two sticks are, however, of considerable help, especially on moderate
slopes up which it is possible to go straight. They should be placed
in the snow alternately, after the manner which nature dictates. In
traversing steep ground they cease to be of service, for the lower one
is not long enough to reach the slope below one’s feet, and the upper
one cannot be used effectively on the bank at one’s side. Under such
circumstances it is better, and safer, to hold them together and to use
them as one, as described above.

In general for long climbs it is best to go comparatively slowly and to
“keep at it.” The speed of a party should be that of the slowest man.
If you happen to be that unfortunate individual, don’t lag behind if
you can help it, but don’t hesitate to shout to the others if they are
going too fast for you. If, however, they are novices and persist in
rushing, slow down and go your own pace. It is not at all improbable
that if you go steadily you may be the first at the top, after all; but
even if you arrive twenty minutes later than the others you are in no
wise dishonoured.

Strictly between ourselves, we rather like to be last man, and to allow
our more energetic friends to go on ahead. The last man has far the
easiest place on a newly made track, and we do not thirst for the glory
of breaking the snow.

But, of course, a properly organised party should keep together, and
its members should take it in turns to go ahead. It is in itself
a pleasure to move steadily upwards in this way, the ski and the
sticks keeping time, and it makes the way seem shorter and easier for

One concluding word of advice may here be given. Eat your lunch
some little distance below your intended highest point. The tops of
mountains and passes are apt to be draughty, and, besides, it is much
better to begin the run down when the muscles are warm and supple than
to wait till after they have turned cold and stiff from sitting about.


Gliding down is the characteristic part of ski-running, as distinct
from the use of pattens, Canadian snow-shoes, &c. It is the reward
reaped after the labours of the climb. The ascent is, indeed, a
struggle against gravity, but the descent is the highest advantage
that any physical exercise can safely derive from terrestrial

Let us imagine ourselves on the top of some long Norwegian mountain
ready for the plunge. There is a clear course between the steep rocks
near the top, and an open run across the glacier below to the terminal
moraine a mile off. We can see every yard of the way, and all is fair
going, yet we feel just the merest tinge of nervousness, for the
incline is steep, and looks steeper than it is. But there is really no
danger, so it is over the edge and off! In an instant all fears are
left behind, for now balance and quickness of eye are to be put to the
test, and the wind is whistling and the snow dust spurting. We whiz
past the rocks and over a few inequalities, negotiated here by a spring
and a flight of a few yards through the air and there by a compensating
yielding of the knees. Now we rush out on to the smooth surface of the
glacier, where there is no jar and no vibration. Our feet seem to have
vanished, and we lean, as it were, in space, with the ice-wind pressed
against us. There is no more need for balancing, and no thought of
falling, so even is the motion and so trustworthy the snow. Smoothly
our wooden wings bear us onwards, and the furlongs lie behind! But the
end approaches, the slope becomes less steep, the pace slackens, and
presently we glide gently up the opposite slope of the moraine and turn
to watch our companions.

Such is the best picture we can give you of a good straight glissade
on ski; but there is not the slightest reason, friend novice, why you
yourself should not enjoy the reality ere long. You must, however,
learn to walk before you can run, and we would have you make your first
attempts on some quite easy slope, removed if possible from the public
gaze. A few obstacles, such as trees, scattered about do not matter,
as you are not in the least likely to run into them, and they serve to
accustom the eye to their presence. If possible, let there be a gradual
outrun at the bottom of the hill. Practise there awhile, and as soon as
you can run down without a fall move on somewhere else to a place where
the ground is steeper and more uneven.

To start on steep ground is a little difficult at first. Stand
horizontally to the direction of the slope. Then _as quickly as
possible_ lift round first the lower and then the upper ski. Lean
forward and off! If you are quick and lean forward, the ski will not
bolt from under you; if you are slow and hang back, they will.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--_Gliding on ski._--1. Correct position; 2 and
3. Dangerous and incorrect.]

The correct position for descending a hill is that shown in Fig. 18
(1) above. Keep the ski parallel and _as close together as you can_
(touching if possible), advance one foot about twelve inches, and let
the main weight of the body rest on the ball of the “hind” foot; feel
your way, so to speak, with the front foot. _Lean forward. Bend the
knees slightly, and be as free and as elastic about them as possible._
Practise with either foot leading. Avoid any affected and ridiculous
pose. Do not, for example, if you are running without a stick, hold
the arms straight out from the body as though you were walking a
tight-rope. To do so may slightly assist the balance, but you cannot
run like this with a stick in your hand, and it is far better not to
get into bad habits. No. 3 in the diagram (p. 63) is a very common
attitude, but it is as bad as bad can be. The wide spoor is a cause of
instability, the _extreme_ bending of the knee is a source of weakness,
and there is a very fair chance of the runner (if he falls forward)
knocking out his front teeth against his stick. Hold that article
_clear of the ground_ in a safe position as shown (No. 1, p. 63), and
practise sometimes without it. _Above all things, do not lean backwards
on to the pole_, for the consequence of so doing is that the upper part
of the body is retarded in its speed, and, being thus left further and
further behind, a spill on lumpy ground becomes inevitable. There is
a right way of using the pole for braking and turning, which will be
explained further on, but until some little skill in simple straight
glissading is gained it is best not to trouble about this. We strongly
advise you in the meanwhile not to use the stick at all, but, for
reasons previously stated (see pp. 44 and 45), to practise with it held
in the hand clear of the ground.

Double sticks should be held up one in each hand or trailed behind.

The position shown in Fig. 18 (1) is the safest position for running
over unbroken snow, for by advancing the foot one lengthens the running
surface and so glides more easily over any inequalities, and by holding
the ski together one is less disturbed by any lateral irregularities.
But on an icy road it will be found easier to run with the feet more
level and somewhat apart, for there another disturbing factor, side
slip, comes into play.

So, again, when changes of the snow’s surface are likely to occur,
causing the ski at one time to run freely and at another to stick, it
will be found better to crouch close down to the ground, for by doing
so one lowers the centre of gravity, and is less likely to be pitched
forward when entering the slow snow. And there will be other occasions
when the runner will find it necessary to more or less modify the
position shown in Fig. 18 (1). Nevertheless, this attitude may safely
be considered the _normal_ one for descending hills on ski, and the
beginner is recommended to study it carefully, and to adhere to it as
closely as circumstances will permit.


As to the former, we beg to offer Mr. Punch’s advice to those about
to marry--“don’t.” Every ski-runner falls more or less, the beginner
very much, the expert very rarely. But most novices are apt to throw
themselves down far oftener than there is any occasion for. Do not,
therefore, give up simply because you lose your balance a little; very
frequently if you try hard you will be able to keep upright. If you
make up your mind to “stand” down a difficult hill, the chances are
that you will succeed in doing so; but if you are nervous and hang
back, you are almost certain to come to grief. It is specially true
of ski-running that fortune favours the brave. When, however, a fall
cannot be avoided, we would advise you, if possible, to cast yourself
down sideways and backwards; but if the whole affair is beyond your
control, then relax every muscle in your body and let yourself go. Make
no attempt to save yourself or stop rolling. Then there will be no
snapping of tense sinews.

You will generally find out the easiest way of getting up for yourself,
but two little artifices may here be mentioned. One is to get on to the
back of your ski in deep snow; and the other is to bring the ski below
you on a steep slope and to place them at right angles to the gradient
before attempting to rise.


Slight changes of direction can be made by leaning the body a little
this way or that. This is very easy, and requires no explanation.


Another way of steering is to lift one of the ski and place it down in
the direction in which one wishes to go, at the same time striking out
with the other foot as in skating. This accomplishment is not exactly
pretty, but it is very useful. One can thus help the ski round a bend
in a road or thread one’s way down a gentle slope amongst trees without
losing speed. It is, however, impossible to execute a very rapid turn
in this manner. A good way of practising “skating” is to do a sort of
“inside edge” on any firm surface (_e.g._, a snow-covered lake) on the
level. One strikes out with the ski in the same manner as with skates
on ice.


This method of controlling the speed has been the subject of a good
deal of discussion. The objections to it are (1) that it is a less
powerful method than any of the others to be mentioned later on; (2)
that it requires greater strength; (3) that the stick is liable to
break and leave the runner helpless; (4) that _its constant use is
conducive to a bad style of running, spoiling the balance, and making
the learning of the other movements more difficult_. Nevertheless, we
doubt whether even the cleverest novice will be able to stop quickly
by means of the “Telemark” or “Christiania” swings for at least a
month or two, and most people will take far longer to learn to do them
even moderately well. How, then, are the poor things to manage in the
meantime? “By snow-ploughing and by stemming,” you reply. Certainly,
but the fact is that with these methods when no stick is used it is
quite impossible, when travelling very fast, to stop suddenly, though
with the help of the stick it is easy to do so.

But we will here go a step further and assert that there are places and
conditions of snow where the use of the stick becomes imperative even
to the expert, as, for example, when traversing a steep and crusted
slope with a precipice below it. We propose therefore, to deal with the
proper way of managing it before proceeding further.

_The important thing to remember in using the stick is to hold it quite
short_, and _as far in front as possible_. Do not let it drag behind.

The accompanying diagrams illustrate a right and a wrong method. Note
that in (1) the left forearm and hand of the runner should rest against
the inside of the shin of his left (advanced) leg. The left hand serves
as a fulcrum, the long end of the lever being held in the right.
Considerable power may be obtained in this manner, but it is not always
feasible on lumpy ground. You must use your own judgment as to when to
employ it, bearing in mind the above principle. But, above all things,
do not assume the position depicted in (2). Here, even though the
entire weight of the body rests on the stick, its braking value (owing
to the angle at which it touches the snow) is very slight. In this
position the ski gradually slide further and further ahead, leaving the
stick, with the runner clinging to it, further and further behind; all
balance and all control are lost, and as soon as a little inequality is
met with a spill occurs.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--_Braking with the stick._--1. A right way; 2.
A wrong way.]

There exists a way of sitting with the _thigh_ on the pole (_not_ with
the junction of the legs) for braking on narrow, steep, and icy roads,
where all other means are simply out of the question (see Fig. 20);
and for the successful execution of this manœuvre it is necessary to
note the following points very carefully. Assuming one wishes to sit
on the left thigh, then the left hand grasps the end of the pole which
protrudes below. Let this hand be close to the seat, and let the part
of the stick between hand and point be as short as possible. The right
hand _rests on the right knee_, and seizes the upper end of the pole.
This is important, for it is the use of the knee as a support for the
upper hand which gives rigidity to the whole arrangement and allows
one to hold out over long distances. The leg--the one on which one
sits (in the example to the left)--is stretched out in front, and by
shifting the weight from the ski to the point of the pole one can stop
instantly, even on clear ice.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--_Correct stick riding._]

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--_Snow ploughing._ Showing a method of using
the stick.]


We now come to a better method of stopping and braking. Snow-ploughing
is used for reducing the pace and stopping _when running straight
down_. In principle it is very simple, and it is quite easy to learn.
The heels of the ski are pressed apart, and the toes held together,
by which means a V-shaped kind of plough is formed, the friction of
which against the snow causes one to stop. The wider the angle of the
V the greater, of course, will be the braking power. The weight is
distributed evenly between the two ski, and when the snow is hard both
are turned slightly on to their inner edges. When the snow is soft it
is best to hold them flat. The method is particularly serviceable on a
hard road, and under such conditions, even when travelling fast, it can
be employed quite suddenly without fear of accidents. But on soft snow
any attempt to use it when running fast will result in the ski crossing
and a fall forwards. Under such conditions nobody has strength
enough to hold the ski apart. One must accordingly stop (by some other
means) and then, if one wishes to proceed slowly, place the ski in the
V-shaped position and restart.

[Illustration: RECONNOITRING. Half-way up Piz Nier.

_Photo by E. C. Richardson._]

The stick is a useful adjunct to snow-ploughing, and Fig. 21 shows a
serviceable way of holding it.


On _very_ steep slopes, especially if such be icy, it is sometimes
necessary to slip down sideways. This is simply accomplished by holding
the ski at right angles to the fall of the slope and keeping them
_flat_ on the snow (or ice-crust) instead of edging them. The stick
is held in the snow above the runner, and assists him in preserving
his balance, for the motion is necessarily somewhat irregular.
Side-slipping is, however, nothing but a method of descending a
dangerous slope where snow-ploughing, “stemming,” &c. (see _infra_),
are out of the question. It is not amusing or pretty, but merely
occasionally useful.


Stemming is akin to snow-ploughing, and by some German writers the
stemming position is termed the half-snow-plough position. It is a most
valuable way of reducing the speed when _traversing_ a slope which one
does not desire to, or cannot, descend straight, and it is also of
great service for turning and stopping under all circumstances. Whilst
of ancient origin and known to all good Norwegian runners, stemming
is but little used in Norway. The chief reasons for this are that the
ground in that country is not in general steep enough to necessitate
traversing, and that most Norwegians are from early childhood familiar
with the more difficult Telemark and Christiania swings. On the
Continent, however, the ground is usually steeper and the skill of the
runner less, and there stemming has been found to be very useful. We
have no hesitation in recommending the beginner to learn it at this
stage if he wants to tour as soon as possible, and eventually to become
a good all-round ski-runner.

At Lilienfeld, a small village near Vienna, stemming was hit upon,
quite independently, by a Herr Zdarsky (an Austrian gentleman to
whom we have already referred), who turned a philosophical mind to
its scientific development. The description which we give of it
is practically the same as that given in his book. Herr Zdarsky
recommends the use of his own special binding, and employs a shortish,
smooth-bottomed ski with a bluff entrance. We have found, however, that
the movements can be made with any good firm binding and with any ski,
though they are undoubtedly easier, both to learn and to accomplish, on
a flat-bottomed short ski, than on a relatively long and grooved ski.
(See p. 32.)

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--_Stemming._]

In learning stemming one distinguishes between the “glider” (the
sliding ski) and the “braker” (the stemming ski). On a hillside the
glider is the upper of the two. The glider must point in the direction
in which one wishes to go. The lower ski, the braker, is kept a little
behind the other, so as to prevent the glider crossing it, and is held
in the position shown in the above diagram (Fig. 22). In order to
ensure smooth and accurate progress it is highly important to remember
to _keep both ski flat on the snow_.

Begin by running obliquely across and down a good steep slope in this
position, _keeping all the weight of the body on the glider, and
merely brushing the snow lightly with the braker_. Choose a gradient
of sufficient steepness to keep you moving at a rate of, say, three
or four miles an hour, and endeavour to run smoothly and to keep in a
straight line.

In practising this you will discover that by pressing more or less on
the braker you can turn up-hill, stop, or go slow, just as you please.
We accordingly formulate directions for so doing.

TO TURN UP-HILL.--Press lightly on the braker, edging it into the snow.

TO STOP.--Press hard, and turn the body up-hill. You will find yourself
come round with a swing. This method of stopping can, of course, be
used anywhere--_e.g._, on the level after running straight down, where,
if one wishes to stop by (say) a turn to the right, one stems with the
left ski, at the same time turning the body to the right.

TO SLIGHTLY REDUCE THE SPEED.--Press a little on the braker without
altering your direction.

Practise these three things patiently, constantly remembering the
injunctions: Glider flat! Weight on glider! (or on braker, to stop!)
Lean forward! Heels apart! Points together! (which latter means that
one must keep the tip of the braker close to the _side_ of the glider,
and about a foot behind its tip).

On hard snow both ski will have to be edged so as to afford a grip on
the impenetrable surface and to prevent side-slip. And between the
extremes of the softest and the hardest snow the runner will discover
many instances where he may have to edge the braker a little while
going. But let him, all the same, interpret these remarks as absolutely
as he can, and always try hard to hold the ski _as flat as possible_.

_Practise on steep ground_, because there mistakes are more easily
discovered, and the correct way soon proclaims its advantages.

Fig. 23 illustrates the proper position for the ski in stemming. The
arrow “s” is the fall of the slope, for the reader is looking straight
at the mountain; “d” is the direction in which the runner wishes to go
obliquely across this slope. This direction is on the whole that of
the glider “g.” The braker “b” brushes the snow with its entire length,
thus producing a _broad_ track, the direct evidence of the braking
power--_i.e._, friction. Therefore, weight _off_ the braker for going,
_on_ for stopping. The steeper the slope the wider must be the angle
formed by the two ski. The little circle “p” shows whereabouts the
point of the pole should be--that is, a little behind the upper foot.

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--_Position for the ski in stemming._]

The pole may be used to facilitate balance when executing these
movements, its point lightly furrowing the snow. It will also be found
to considerably assist a sudden stop, for by pressing it into the
ground and throwing all the weight on to the braker the glider becomes
entirely disengaged, and there is less chance of its crossing the
braker, as is otherwise apt to happen when running very fast. Hold the
pole fairly short, do not lean back on it, and do not use it more than
is really necessary.


The foregoing section gave the beginner directions for turning quickly
up-hill, but how shall he, when crossing a steep slope, turn quickly
down-hill and, without stopping, continue his traverse in the opposite

To do this is evidently a most valuable accomplishment, for if the
runner cannot achieve it he is obliged at the end of his traverse to
stop and turn as described on p. 55 before he can start off again on
the other tack.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.

_A circular curve to the left._

(=O= represents the =pole=.)

This is the fall of the Slope.

=1.=--You are coming obliquely from above, in the direction of the
arrow “_d_.” First give a vigorous stem with the lower ski “_b_.” Then

=2.=--Let your body sink forward to the left; pull heels more apart.

=3.=--Now you are looking straight down the slope. Just before this
moment you had time to change your stick over. _Both ski flat. Weight
on ski nearest this print._ Note the position for the pole.

=4.=--Coming into stemming “right.”

=5.=--_Done._ Continuing your way stemming “right.”]

Here is the easiest way to learn.

First reduce the speed by a vigorous “stem,” _taking care not to turn
up-hill_ in so doing. Then, keeping _both_ ski rigidly _flat_ and
holding the heels far apart and the points of the ski close together,

You will then, if you have followed these directions _in every
particular_, come round with a delightful swish and find yourself
starting off comfortably in the other direction.

Change the stick to the other side of the body when about half round,
because at that instant one is almost stationary for half a second or

The more one pulls the heels apart the shorter and neater the curve
will be.

If success does not follow, it is due to some mistake, such as not
leaning forward (one will then sit down), or edging the ski (they
catch in the snow and overthrow the runner), or not tearing the heels
sufficiently apart and throwing the weight on to the lower ski (which
causes one to go off at a tangent instead of completing the arc).

The words of command for the curve are, then: Lean forward! Ski flat!
Heels apart! Weight on the lower ski!

The diagrams pp. 73 and 75 should be of assistance in enabling the
beginner to understand what is meant. On a really steep hill it
requires a considerable amount of nerve to make up one’s mind to plunge
for an instant headlong downwards. One’s natural inclination is to hang
back and lean inwards, but this is precisely what one must not do.

The stick will be found to be of considerable assistance in making this
curve, a little touch with it in the snow just as one is coming round
being a great help to the balance. When shifting it across as above
described, hold it rather short and place it in the snow well _in front
of you_. This will assist you in leaning forward. Do not, however,
attempt to spin round leaning on it; to do so throws the weight inside,
which is quite fatal. It is, of course, perfectly possible to make
the turn without a stick at all, but to do so is difficult on very
steep ground. Practise on a moderate slope to begin with; when you
become proficient move on to steeper and yet steeper places; but, of
course, look out for avalanches!

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--Positions 1-5 arranged on a curve. It must,
however, be remembered that in nature the movements follow so closely
that the ski on the drawing would have to overlap. The sweep of a
well-made curve clears a semi-lunar space with a wall of snow at its
lower rim.]

[Illustration: FIG. 26. Shows this.]

Coming down a long and complicated slope one joins one curve to another
without a break, thus dodging the trees and rocks. On a steep incline,
if there are obstacles in the way of a straight descent, the S-track,
as it is called, affords a safe reduction of speed and a prolongation
of the pleasurable slide.

The ski-runner who has reached this stage enjoys himself wherever there
is snow, even if there be little of it, for he can circumvent the
patches where it has melted away. The photograph on the opposite page
shows what can be done after a single winter’s patient practice. It is
a “snake-line” made in the winter of 1903 by one of the writers of this
chapter, and by no means an accomplishment requiring more than ordinary
skill or talent. The slope in question descends from Alp Laret, near
St. Moritz, to the valley in which lies the world-famed Cresta toboggan
run. The gradient is between 40 deg. and 50 deg. (55 deg. to 60 deg.
near the top), and the vertical distance from top to bottom amounts to
exactly 300 metres (1,000ft.). The small avalanche about the middle was
started by the ski of the runner, and the marks and remains of older
avalanches on the left give sufficient testimony as to the steepness of
the spot. The length of the run must be at least half a mile, and the
entire distance was covered without a single fall or stumble. May the
beginner draw the proper conclusion: that where there’s a will there’s
a way, and that both in this case are within the reach of the ordinary
individual who can walk, row, shoot, ride, play tennis, cricket, or

What is it that makes the votary of the slender plank count the
shortening days, and greet with boyish glee the slowly falling flakes?
What makes him tremble with excitement at the sight of the whitening
hills? It is the memory of past delights, the impatience to taste them
again. He sees himself on the top of the mountain. From his feet a
vista of stately firs on a slope of dazzling white stretches away
into the valley a thousand feet below. Above, the clear blue sky.
Off he goes! For ten minutes the swish of the spurting snow is sweet
music to his ears; for ten minutes he scorns the soaring albatross, as
he feels himself buoyed by the feathering ski, swaying from curve to
curve. The excitement of the start has left him, and though ten minutes
may seem a short time he enjoys them to the full, for he is calm, and
glides easily, without a show of strength, without effort or strain. He
feels the mighty power of the rush, the living force which is gathering
as he flies, which drives him along, but which is nevertheless under
his absolute control. He toys with the weight that impels him; by small
movements of his ski he steers and directs the energy within. He can
make the snow yield like water, or resist like steel. He is swung from
turn to turn, irresistibly, but with safe and stately motion, by the
force which he commands; he feels himself rocking softly, like the
petrel on the waves.

[Illustration: THE SNAKE OF LARET.

_Photo by W. R. Rickmers._]

Then comes the end; the stream at the bottom is near. A sudden twist; a
swirling cloud of white, and, as the crystals settle glittering in the
sun, there one sees him firm and erect, the ruler of the mountain, the
master of the snow and ski!


We now come to other more rapid, more brilliant, and more difficult
methods of turning and coming to a sudden standstill. The stemming
turn can hardly be performed quickly when running very fast without
the aid of the stick, especially when long grooved ski are used. But
with the “Telemark” and “Christiania” swings, about to be described,
a good runner can stop suddenly almost anywhere when travelling much
faster. It is indeed a worthy sight to see such a one come sailing
past, his every sinew as pliable and strong as the good ash beneath
his feet, yielding to each dip, as a smart racing vessel yields to the
waves. Twenty-five miles an hour he is travelling, and not a furlong
less. To stop suddenly at such a speed seems impossible. But, swish!
and he is round as easily and as quickly as you can read these words.
How was it done? It was all so rapid you could not follow. You saw
a little sinking on one knee--perhaps not even that. The snow hid
nearly everything. You slide up to our friend and ask him to show
you what he did. He will be most polite and most anxious for you to
learn--especially if he be a Norwegian, as will almost certainly prove
to be the fact. You will be shown just how to place your feet, and just
how to bend the knees, and just how to lean the body. And you will
start off and fail hopelessly again and again. By and by, however,
especially if your teacher be an intelligent man who has had previous
experience with beginners, you will begin to understand the knack of
the movement, and by the end of the afternoon you should be rewarded by
some measure of success.

But perhaps you may not be fortunate enough to meet with such a runner,
or, what is by no means improbable, it may be that, though a clever
performer on ski, he is not a good instructor. He makes the swing, but
knows not himself how he does it. And small blame to him, for how many
people trouble to analyse the things they have learnt as children?

We venture to offer our services. But is it possible to learn these
subtle manœuvres from a book? Most certainly it is; but you must either
take it with you into the field, or else (what is as good, or better)
have some preliminary practice in your bed-room, where you will have
only your looking-glass for an audience, and no small boy in the
immediate neighbourhood to point the finger of scorn. If you do this,
we are sure that you will learn very quickly, or if you fail, then our
instructions must be wrong. If, however, you simply glance through what
we have written without making practical experiments, book in hand, we
can accept no responsibility. These turns are really not at all hard
to make fairly well, which is all that we can pretend to teach; but
to make them with certainty requires long practice. And that is, of
course, entirely your own affair.

We propose to deal with the “Telemark” first--not because it is easier
or more useful, for in this respect there is little to choose between
them, but because it is customary to do so. Besides, the Telemark is a
much prettier swing than the “Christiania,” and it will make a greater
impression on your admiring friends should you be so lucky as to
succeed in making one when showing off.

You will not find your stick (on which we trust you are not in the
habit of riding) of the slightest assistance to you in _learning_
either of these swings. It _may_ help you a little to _make_ the
Christiania once you have acquired the knack of it, but we are very
doubtful even about that, and we strongly advise that from now on you
do not use it at all. Hold it in your hand, except when jumping, as
previously recommended (p. 45), but make no attempt to use it.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--The Telemark swing.]

Each of these swings can be made in two directions--to right or to
left; and each has its special use for special occasions. Apart,
therefore, from being a graceful accomplishment and from the excellent
practice it affords, it is of considerable practical value to be able
to make all four of them. Nevertheless, most people are content with
one of each kind--a Telemark to the left and a Christiania to the
right--which enables them under ordinary conditions to turn in either
direction without changing the foot (see _infra_). But the best
runners can make all four swings, and we recommend you to emulate their

The Telemark swing is easiest in loose snow, where there is little
side slip. We find it rather easier on the level than the Christiania
(_e.g._, to stop after making a jump), but it is more difficult to make
quickly on a hillside, and in general it is not quite so rapid as the

Fig. 27 (_a_) shows the position in which the body and limbs are held
throughout a Telemark swing to the left. It is convenient to call this
position the Telemark position. Fig. 27 (_b_) shows the position which
the ski assume after the swing is over.

The following directions are for making a Telemark swing to the left.

The directions for making a Telemark swing to the right are identically
the same, substituting left for right and right for left throughout.

TO MAKE A TELEMARK SWING TO THE LEFT.--(_a_) From the normal position
for running down (see p. 63) advance the right ski till the right
ankle is opposite the bend of the left ski. Raise the heel of the left
foot off the left ski, bend the left knee, and throw all the weight
forward on to the right foot. (This is what we mean by “the Telemark
position.”) (_b_) Place the right ski slightly on its left edge and
turn and lean the whole body to the left.

If these directions are correctly carried out, the runner will come
round with a sweep, the sharpness of which will depend upon the force
with which he turns his body as advised in (_b_).

An excellent way of learning this turn is to practise running straight
down hill in the Telemark position. Note especially to raise the heel
of the left foot as shown. This is highly important, and is, in fact,
the key to the whole affair, for if the runner raises his heel he is
almost compelled to throw the weight forward on to the right foot, and
if he can once succeed in doing this everything else is comparatively
easy. So remember to _raise the heel of the left foot and to kneel well
down on the left ski_. Cultivate as narrow a spoor as possible, and as
soon as you can run straight like this at a moderate speed try turning
the body ever such a little. _Look the way you wish to go._ You will
be delighted to discover what a small amount of turning will cause you
to come round very quickly.

To compensate for the centrifugal force exercised by the turn on the
upper part of the body, you will have to lean inwards; in fact, after
you begin to get the knack of the thing, you are pretty certain to
be thrown outwards once or twice. But do not trouble about that too
much; _do not at first make any conscious effort to lean inwards_, or
you will probably fall in that direction; you will very soon begin to
compensate for the outward throw quite unconsciously.

Do not try to turn too quickly when learning, but rather take matters
easily; _speed will come by and by_--in which connection note that both
the “Telemark” and the “Christiania” are _swings_ and _not jerks_, and
that, however rapidly they be performed, the body should be turned
_crescendo_ and _not_ (to continue the music metaphor) _sforzando_.

Another capital way of practising is to stand on some level space at
the edge of a steep hill in the position shown in Fig. 27 (_a_) and
then to slip over the edge and instantly to begin to swing. This method
will allow you to practise a great number of swings in a short time
without the trouble of walking a long way up-hill in order to gain
speed. The following diagram shows graphically how to do so:--

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--A C B is the edge of a steep slope falling in
the direction of the arrow. Stand at the point C. Slip over the edge,
and at once make a swing to the left, stopping at E. Walk up the dotted
line to O, turn (_see_ p. 55) and return to C. Then make a swing to the
right, stopping at D, and returning to C _via_ L. Next, run a little
further down, and swing to G, &c., &c. In this manner the difficulty of
the swing is gradually increased.]

The “Telemark” swing can also be used to make down-hill turns in the
manner described above, p. 72, and the principles there given hold good
here, except that the “Telemark” position, instead of the stemming
position, is held throughout.

A succession of S turns made in this way looks very pretty, but on a
very steep hill their execution becomes rather uncertain, for the snow,
unless perfect, is apt to slip irregularly, and with a true “Telemark”
the stick is no use to help matters out. We have found, however, that a
sort of half-stemming, half-“Telemark” position plus a little stick is
useful in inducing long ski to come round.


The “Christiania” swing differs materially from the “Telemark” swing
in this, that in making it the normal position of the ski is retained,
and the turn is effected in the direction of the advanced foot--that
is to say, to the right if the right foot is leading, and to the left
with the left foot in front. It is easiest on hard snow and on steep
hills, where the ski are liable to skid, on which ground the “Telemark”
is especially difficult.

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--The Christiania swing.]

The term “Christiania” swing for this movement appears to be a
misnomer. For we are assured on very high authority that it was in
common use in Telemarken long before the inhabitants of the capital
acquired any skill in the art of ski-running. We are inclined to
suspect that the name is of Continental origin, for, though we
practised the “Christiania” years ago in Norway, we never there heard
it called by any other name than “Telemarking.” Be this, however, as
it may, the turn in question is a perfectly distinct one, and well
deserves a name of its own, and, as it is known all over Switzerland,
Germany, and Austria as the “Christiania,” we have not dared to take
upon us to alter the name.

Besides being easier in shallow snow and on hillsides than the
Telemark, the Christiania is considerably the more rapid swing of
the two, and a skilful runner can by means of it stop suddenly when
travelling at almost any speed.

Fig. 29 shows the position which the ski usually assume _after a swing
to the right is over_, but diagrams are, in describing this turn, of
very little value, for the great secret of success is to endeavour to
hold the ski in the normal position (see p. 63) throughout.

Here are formal directions for making the swing to the right. To make
it to the left all that is necessary is to substitute left for right
and right for left throughout.

TO MAKE A “CHRISTIANIA” SWING TO THE RIGHT:--(_a_) hold the ski in
the normal position (see p. 63), _press the feet close together_ and
distribute the weight evenly on both ski. Bend both knees a little.
(_b_) Gently _swing_ the whole body, but especially the region about
the hips, round to the right, at the same time leaning in that
direction, throwing the weight on to the _heels_ and edging both ski.

You will, when you have mastered the knack of the movement, be
astonished how quickly you will come round. The ski will assume the
position above shown, and the weight will of itself fall almost
entirely on to the right foot. This latter fact accounts, we believe,
for the directions commonly given for making this turn--viz., to swing
almost entirely on the inner (here the right) foot and to place the
ski as shown. This was also the description given in the first edition
of this book, but a closer analysis and more experience in teaching
have induced us to alter it. We have found that any conscious effort
to swing on the right foot and to place the ski in the position shown
invariably results in the left ski rushing off at a tangent. To avoid
this it is necessary to press the ski tightly together throughout and
to _begin_ the turn with the weight evenly distributed on both.

Beginners will find that the great difficulty in this swing is to get
it started. It involves a peculiar kind of catch of the back part of
the ski in the snow, which is very difficult to explain. Perhaps it
will assist you to arrive at the sort of “feel” of the movement if
you place a chair in front of you and then (standing before it in the
normal position, and without moving the feet) endeavour to sit down on

In this turn also the precepts given above as to swinging easily and
not jerking, and leaving the lean inwards to take care of itself, apply.

It may also be practised after the manner shown in Fig. 28.

_As a substitute for stemming a little of the swing is very useful
for braking when traversing a steep slope._ To practise this select a
steep hill and run straight for a short distance obliquely down and
across it; then make a little of the swing, reducing the pace; then run
straight again; and so on. This is also a very good way of learning the
turn itself.

There seems to be no reason why one should not make S turns by means of
the “Christiania” swing, though to do so must be rather difficult.

In order to save time in changing the foot, skilful runners when
threading their way through a wood (for example) usually make their
turns by the “Telemark” for one direction and the “Christiania” for the

In the above description we have advised the beginner to learn the
“Christiania” swing in the normal position with one foot leading, but
it can also be made with the feet perfectly level. We well remember
our delight and astonishment on one occasion when we saw a first-class
Norwegian runner, after making a 70ft. jump, and when travelling at a
great speed, avoid colliding with a friend and two trees by making with
wonderful rapidity three “Christiania” swings--left, right, and left.

There are, of course, other ways of combining these various methods
of turning which an expert employs quite unconsciously. Indeed, it
is highly probable that your Norwegian friends will never even have
heard of a “Stemming turn” or a “Christiania swing,” any more than
a South Sea islander has heard of a verb or an adjective. This does
not, however, prevent the Norwegian from being an expert on ski or
the coloured gentleman from being a fluent speaker. Nor has it any
bearing on the fact that you as a foreigner will find a grammar of
assistance in learning Kanaka. It is our hope that the classification
we have adopted may similarly prove of assistance to you in becoming a
proficient ski-runner.



So many strange and perverted ideas prevail in England and on the
Continent as to what ski-jumping is, that it is, perhaps, excusable
to begin by mentioning a few of the things which it is not. To begin
with, there are people who think that ski are a sort of seven-league
boots on which one may fly across the snow planes as fast as an
express train, jumping any minor obstacles, such as houses or trees,
which happen to be in the way. This is not so. Four or five miles per
hour is very good going on the level, and it is impossible to jump
upwards from the level over anything higher than a small gooseberry
bush. Again, one frequently hears that Norwegians are born on ski, and
jump before they can walk; but, though the writer of this article has
made every inquiry, he has, so far, failed to authenticate a single
case in point. The truth is that Norwegians of all ages are fond of
ski-running and jumping, but, owing to such things as the melting of
the snow in summer, extreme youth and old age, business and the like,
only a comparatively small number are worthy to be called real experts.
Further, it is not the fact that a special exercise place, with an
elaborately built take-off, is essential. On most hills it is possible
to build, in a few minutes, a jump which will give entertainment both
to the skilful and unskilful; and it frequently happens in the course
of a tour that a little natural drop presents itself, from which one
may skim through the air for several yards before again touching the
snow. True that in Norway hills are specially prepared and elaborate
takeoffs built, but these are chiefly used for competitions, where
long and difficult leaps and spectacular effect are required. It cannot
be too strongly insisted that the sport is wholly independent of
such things, and that, whilst the jump affords by far the best means
of judging the skill of a ski-runner, its enjoyment is by no means
dependent on elaborate construction or mere competition.

[Illustration: SOLBERG HILL.

A successful leap. The jumper’s cap thrown off in flight may be seen
behind him.

_Photo by D. M. M. Chrichton Somerville._]

[Illustration: FIG. 30.--The Solberg Hill (near Christiania.)

  Length from start (A) to take off (B)    =  82
  Length from take-off to bottom of hill   =  80
                                Together   = 162

  Fall from A to B                         =  23
  Fall from B to bottom                    =  32
                                Together =    55

The steepness of the hill in degrees is marked below the outline.]

Like other great sports, ski-jumping calls forth the qualities of
courage, skill, and endurance; a good jumper must have a cool head, a
quick eye, and, above all, a nice sense of balance; but, given these
things, it is open to all to succeed in some measure, be they old or
young, born near the north pole or the equator.

These misapprehensions having been removed, it is expedient to give
a detailed description of what ski-jumping really is, detailed
instructions following later. Your attention is directed to Fig. 30, p.

This represents the section of an exceptionally suitable hill. The
jumper starts from the point A, and slides down to B, where he leaps.
The impetus gained from his journey from A to B, coupled with the leap,
sends him like a cannon ball through the air to C, where he alights,
and continues his course to D. Here he usually stops himself by a
Telemark or Christiania swing. The distance from B to C is the measure
of the length of the jump, which may be anything up to 134ft. (the
record to 1903), according to the condition of the snow; shape, length,
and steepness of the hill; and the skill of the performer.[8]

It will be seen from this that the jump is not a jump _up_, but a jump
_down_; and it can readily be guessed that the difficulty lies not so
much in attaining great length as in retaining an upright position on
alighting. It takes considerable practice to make a jump of 10ft. and
stand, whilst anybody, provided the hill be sufficiently steep, can
jump 100ft. and fall.

Formerly, in Norway, the take-off used to be so placed that the jumper
alighted on the level, instead of on the hill side, and, at first
sight, such an arrangement might be thought to make matters easier.
This is, however, very far from being the case. A jump of anything over
a few yards on the level involves a considerable shock on alighting,
which is not only unpleasant, but renders “standing” a much more
difficult matter, whilst, in the event of a fall, serious injuries may
result. On the other hand, a jump downhill is attended by little or no
shock on alighting, which makes “standing” much easier, and falling
nothing more serious, in the vast majority of cases, than a long
roly-poly, broken by the snow.

Assuming, then, that the slope and snow are suitable, the chief
requisites to success are a sense of balance and great daring. The
bolder, almost rasher, one is, the better. The outlook from the top
of a ski-jump of any magnitude is indeed alarming; for note that the
slope above the take-off is usually, and properly, less steep than
that below; and this means that a man of ordinary stature standing
at the point A (see diagram) sees nothing of the slope B C, and his
sensations, at least at first, are as of one about to launch himself
into a vast abyss. The danger is, however, very largely imaginary,
and a bold, coolly-calculated spring vastly increases the chances of

But to proceed from these general remarks to details. The ski used for
jumping should be suited to the runner in accordance with the table
given (p. 34). It is not easy to jump on ski shorter than this, but
they may very well be a trifle longer. They should be rather on the
heavy side, so as not to flutter about in the air, and in order to
withstand the strain to which they are put on landing.

Any good firm binding may be used which permits of vertical control
over the ski.

No other special equipment is necessary.

The best snow for jumping is that which has been down for some
days, and which has been trodden by ski into a fairly firm mass.
The temperature of the air should be below freezing point. On such
a surface the ski will glide swiftly and at an even rate of speed,
sinking in about an inch or so--_i.e._, sufficiently to avoid
side-slip. Sticky snow is dangerous, for the reason that it is apt
to occasion a nasty fall forwards, due to the checking of the ski on
alighting. For a similar reason, very deep soft snow is to be avoided,
but it should be noted that freshly fallen snow will often cease to
stick after it has been trodden down, especially should the temperature
of the air be low.


As above mentioned, we frequently come across natural jumps when on
tour which require little or no preparation. On most hill-sides there
are places where sudden little dips occur. Give a kick or two with the
ski just below such a dip, so as to make the step (see B, Fig. 30) more
pronounced, and scrape together a little snow on the top of it to raise
it somewhat. Then with half a minute’s stamping about the spot where
you intend to alight your preparations will be complete. Or, again, a
stone lying on a steep hill-side may be pressed into service after the
manner shown below.

[Illustration: FIG. 31.--_Spraet hop_, made by piling snow above a
stone lying on the hill-side.]

Care must, of course, be taken that the top of the stone be covered
with snow. This sort of jump, the point of which turns upwards, is
called a _spraet hop_ in Norwegian. It has the effect of throwing the
runner high into the air and is excellent practice.

Edges of cornices (not, of course, large, dangerous ones), stumps of
trees, buried fences, &c., &c., can often be used for take-offs, and
the runner when on tour should keep his eyes open for such, as they
cause very amusing variations to ordinary going.

But, though when a little skill has been acquired one should practice
on all sorts and kinds of places, it is probably best to begin on
something very easy, in order to gain confidence.

Choose, then, a good steep hill with a fair out-run at the bottom.
The gradient should be not less than 20 degrees, but if it be steeper,
all the better. It is a great mistake to begin on too gentle a slope;
a steep hill is far easier and far safer.

If you can find a hill with a little dip in it, well; but, if not,
never mind.

First select the place for building your take-off. This will usually
be at the edge of the dip, supposing you have found one. If, however,
the slope below this point is less than about double the length of jump
you contemplate, or, say, 20 yards in all, you must place the take-off
somewhat back from the extreme edge, as shown in Fig. 30. But very
likely you may not be able to find any suitable hill with a dip in it.
Never mind; a smooth hill will do quite as well, or perhaps at first
even better. Choose a point on it 20 yards or so above the bottom, and
build a long take-off there in the shape shown below.

[Illustration: FIG. 32.--A long take-off built on a smooth hill.]

This is the form of hill on which you should practise for some time.
Do not at first let there be too much change between the slope of the
take-off and of the hill below, for the greater this difference the
more difficult will be the jump.

In choosing a hill it is, of course, desirable to select one as smooth
and free from difficulties as possible. In Nature, however, such are
seldom to be found, and one generally has to be content with something
less perfect. _It is, however, to be noted that smoothness of surface
and regularity of snow, whilst everywhere desirable, are of special
importance for a distance of ten yards above the spot selected for the
take-off, and for about a similar length below the point of alighting._

So, having chosen your hill, stand down it once or twice to ascertain
the best lie for the track. Then stamp the snow well down with your ski
at the two important places above mentioned, making lanes down them
about nine feet broad, and filling up any hollows with good firm snow.

Then construct the take-off.

This may conveniently be done by making a little fence of tree branches
to the height of a foot or so, at right angles to the track, and then
filling up the space above them with layers of snow and more tree
branches placed flat. The structure should be made as firm as possible,
especially at the edge, and it should combine with the hill above it,
so as not to leave any sudden angle at the join.

Begin with quite a little drop--about 1½ft. should be sufficient--and
as soon as you can “stand” over that build higher and higher.

It is not _necessary_ for practice to make a very wide take-off--2ft.
or 3ft. should be amply sufficient. And in general do not waste
valuable time which might be spent in jumping in building a very
elaborate affair.

The case is, of course, quite different if the hill is intended for a
competition. In this event too much care cannot be taken to give every
competitor an equal chance. Fig. 30 shows an outline of the Solberg
jumping hill, near Christiania, which may be taken as an example of
what a hill ought to be. The snow on a competition hill should be
thoroughly stamped down with ski _some hours before_ the intended
jumping. The take-off should be 3 or 4 yards wide, and there should
be plenty of men both above and below the take-off armed with rakes
to keep the snow in order. The spectators should not be allowed to
approach too closely to the track. The illustrations opposite pp. 9 and
87 show how this is arranged in Norway.


First study closely the figures in the diagram (Fig. 33), then read the
following instructions, referring back from time to time.

[Illustration: FIG. 33.

Showing position of limbs and body when jumping.

N.B.--Many good ski-runners bring their ski quite level when assuming
the crouched position before jumping.

The ski are omitted for the sake of clearness.]


Imagine yourself, then, standing some 20 or 30 yards above the
take-off. (The precise distance will, of course, depend on the
steepness of the hill and the speed which you wish to attain; but as
regards speed do not attempt too much at first; it is difficult, of
course, to give an exact measure, but a rate of about 5 yards per
second when approaching the edge of the jump should be sufficient to
begin with.) See that your ski-fastenings are in order, and polish your
ski a little on the snow, or on some fir branches or other twigs, to
remove any lumps adhering to the bottom of them. _Be altogether without
fear_, and start.

Hold the ski close together, with one of them somewhat in advance--say,
with the heel of the one foot about in line with the toe of the other.

About 15 yards or so before reaching the edge of the take-off bend
down, leaning a little forward (see Fig. 33). N.B.--About this point
many good jumpers bring their feet quite level.


_Some few yards before reaching the edge swing the body evenly
forwards, at the same time straightening up._

This movement is termed the “sats.”

Note particularly that no attempt must be made to _lift_ the feet as in
ordinary jumping. The body should be swung evenly forwards, and at the
same time straighten up from the crouched to the erect position. The
movement, if made vigorously, does, in fact, cause a slight rising from
the ground, but it is best not to be too vigorous at first. _Unroll_
yourself, so to speak, with an easy sweep, avoiding all stiffness and

It may perhaps help you to understand what is meant if you make an
_attempt_ to rise on the toes. You should not, indeed, actually rise,
but just at first, if you make an effort in that direction, it will
probably assist you to arrive at the knack of the thing.

Another very important point is the timing of the movement. The body
should be nearly straight just as the take-off is left. Therefore, as
the movement itself takes time, the greater the speed at which you are
travelling the earlier you must begin. Whilst, on the other hand, the
more vigorous the straightening you intend to make the later you can
defer it. You are, however, advised to take things easily, especially
at first, and to aim rather at accuracy and elegance of style than at
mere length. Accordingly it will be necessary for you to begin the
straightening movement rather early. Remember when you first learnt to
shoot how often the tails of the rabbits and pheasants suffered. For
very similar reasons most beginners make the _sats_ too late.

It follows from the above that the object of the _sats_ is
two-fold--firstly, to increase the length of the jump, and, secondly,
to bring the body into the proper position for alighting. The former
is achieved by the straightening movement, and the latter by the swing

“But,” you ask, “why swing forward at all, why not keep quite still?”
The reason is that in descending all hills on slippery things like ski
the body must be kept quite straight over them--or, in other words, at
about right angles to the slope on which they are travelling. This is
sufficiently obvious. But observe that in jumping the slope below the
take-off is considerably steeper than that above (see p. 93). The body
must accordingly be brought forward when passing from one to the other,
or a fall backwards will result. And such is, indeed, the common fate
of the beginner, whose tendency is invariably to hang back!

Now look at the _spraet hop_, shown in Fig. 31. Here the take-off
itself is turned upwards, and the difference between its direction and
that of the slope below becomes greater than ever. On such a jump it is
especially necessary to swing well forwards, for which reason it is the
very best practice, for once one has learnt to do that everything else
is easy.


The whole body should be straight and erect. So do not check the
straightening of the knees and thighs if you have not quite finished
your spring when you leave the take-off.

You will feel a compelling necessity to wave your arms round and round
when in the air. Everybody does so more or less, but, of course, your
object should be to be reasonable in this. Frantic waving looks very
ugly. Endeavour to keep your ski parallel to the slope below. There is
always a tendency for the toes to fly up and the heels to drag, which
should be checked as far as possible by pressing down the toes.


Slide one foot forwards and the other backwards, relieving any shock
by a slight bending of the knees. This extending of the feet is of
great assistance in preserving the balance, and with a little practice
becomes almost instinctive.

Resume as soon as possible the normal position--_i.e._, ski close
together, one foot slightly in advance, body slightly crouched. As soon
as possible after reaching the level stop yourself by making a Telemark
or Christiania swing.

_Points to be remembered_:--

  1. _Don’t be frightened._
  2. _Ski close together._
  3. _Swing forward, “unroll.”_
  4. _Extend ski on alighting._

Pay great attention to your “form,” which is all important, as
in rowing. Think of nothing else, and you will soon succeed. At
competitions the prize is not necessarily awarded to the competitor who
jumps furthest, even if he “stood” after alighting. For if the jump
was made in bad style assuredly it was a fluke, and will seldom be
repeated. All ski-jumpers fall more or less, but it is equally a matter
of surprise if the awkward should “stand,” or the elegant and correct
should fail.

       *       *       *       *       *

The style of jumping above recommended is that known in Norway as the
_Svæve_--one swoops motionless through the air. It is certainly the
prettiest, as well as the easiest to learn. Another method, however,
exists, known as the _Trække op_, in which the leaper draws up his
legs during his flight, the object being to cover a longer distance.
This, however, however, looks rather ugly (according, at least, to
most people’s ideas), and it is questionable whether one comes so much
further with it, after all.

[Illustration: LEIF BERG JUMPING 90 FEET, AT GLARUS, ’05.

_Photo by E. Jeanrenaud._]

But there is yet another point which it is far more difficult to
decide. Shall the runner jump with feet perfectly level or shall he
advance one of them as shown in Fig. 33? As will be seen from the above
description, the writer has not ventured to speak positively as to
this. On the one hand he has the authority of one of the Holmenkollen
judges for asserting that it is best for the beginner to keep one foot
in advance, whilst on the other the general practice of many (if not,
indeed, most) first-class performers undoubtedly is to keep the feet
quite level. The advocates of the advanced foot contend that extreme
steadiness is of vital importance in taking the _sats_, and that,
inasmuch as the advanced foot position is admittedly steadier than
the other for glissading, it should also be adopted at this stage. In
addition to which they argue that, after the flight through the air,
when the runner first touches ground the advanced foot is the more
stable position of the two. On the other side, those in favour of the
“level-footed” style contend:--Firstly, that to jump with one foot
forward looks ugly (and the writer is inclined to agree with them in
this), and, secondly, that it defeats its own ends, for it involves
leaning forward on to one foot, and accordingly jumping chiefly with
it. And this (they say) is conducive to a crooked flight through the
air. It is not, however, apparent how this is a necessary consequence,
for in ordinary long-jumping the spring is taken almost entirely with
one leg without the balance being in any way upset.

These are, however, theoretical matters, as to which the reader
interested may well be left to work out conclusions for himself, whilst
those who do not care for argument can console themselves with the
reflection that whichever style they like to adopt they have excellent
authority for their choice.

Is it possible that this is another question like that of the bindings
and that perhaps it does not matter so very much, after all? Or may
not both sides be right? May it not, for example, be best to jump
with level feet when the track is smooth and easy, but with one foot
forward when it is irregular and difficult? On the Continent rough
jumping on tour has hardly yet “caught on,” everything being regarded,
so to speak, through competition spectacles. And perhaps this is why
the level-footed style is there so much insisted on. He, however, who
limits himself to jumping at competitions and on elaborately prepared
tracks will never be a really clever ski-runner, and will miss a vast
deal of the possibilities and pleasures of this branch of the sport.



It is quite impossible to define exactly what constitutes
mountaineering as apart from strolling and short excursions,
but its chief characteristics are distance from human dwellings
and human help, and the presence of special dangers. The term
“mountaineering” comprises a multitude of rules which teach how to
overcome the difficulties and how to avoid the dangers of rising
ground. Mountaineering is a science admirably expounded in a series
of classical text-books, the result of the experience of thousands
of climbers, and the essence of a literature of over 10,000 volumes.
From a subjective point of view mountaineering begins when a wanderer,
approaching a hill or mountain, is conscious of the fact that he will
meet with special conditions which demand a special knowledge. And the
minimum required of a man who wishes to be called a “mountaineer,” a
good mountain climber, an expert, is that as to the theory he should
have “Dent” at his finger-ends (C. T. Dent, Mountaineering, Badminton
Library); and as to the practice, he must be a man who can be trusted
to attempt any peak in the world without endangering the lives of his

Now, it would be absurd to try to teach mountaineering in a chapter
of this book, for it takes ten years at least to make a mountaineer.
Still less dare I insult the mountaineer by advising him how to behave
in his element, for he will not go high and far until he feels at
home on the planks. By the time he has mastered the technicalities of
ski-ing, he knows everything about the outfit which suits him best, and
about his line of conduct on any expedition he may plan. My remarks
on the subject in hand cannot, therefore, be anything but a series of
very general reflections and impressions, simply intended as a loud
warning to ski-runners that they should study “Alpinism,” and as a
gentle reminder to mountaineers, that ski-running is a somewhat tricky
complication of their art. Why should I tell the latter what type
of ski to take on long tours, seeing that he knows on which kind he
travels best; why should he ask me about his ice-axe when he is sure to
take one or not according to the object in view?[9]

Ski-runners, unless they are climbing experts, or accompanied by
such, must confine themselves to the usual practice-grounds and safe
excursions, for only a mountaineer can decide on the spot whether hill
craft is necessary or not. To explain how he arrives at this decision
would mean a very thick volume. The ski-runner, therefore, who wishes
to form a correct opinion of his own should make up his mind to learn
from amateurs, guides, and books how to look about, think, and behave
when he leaves the beaten track where multitudes are accustomed to go
unthinking and unadvised. My random observations are to impress him
with that necessity, and for the mountaineer they shall be an epitome
of familiar principles.

In the winter the problem of the avalanche eclipses all others. The
rule to go only with guides or experienced friends disposes of the
general advice respecting glaciers, crevasses, slips, strategy, and
discipline, for in these things a man must train himself during many
seasons. The rule that only good ski-runners dare aspire towards
high peaks saves a long repetition of detail as to outfit.[10] The
ski-runner-mountaineer ought always to be a man who, during his
apprenticeship, knew something of cold, hunger, slow companions, and
broken ski. To have no spare gloves and no provisions, to fall where
one ought to stand, to step on a hollow, or to risk a dashing slide,
may have merely disagreeable results two miles from home; but the same
omissions and commissions can be suicidal, nay, even criminal, when
ten miles from the nearest human habitation. If you wish to kill, go
alone, and kill yourself, for every party of mountaineers suffers for
the thoughtlessness of each of its members, while the greatest skill or
ability of one of them is as nothing in the balance of fate when the
whole has to bear the inadequacy of the lowest unit.

Extreme suspicion and wariness are the only correct attitude towards
the mountains in their winter garb. The number of factors which combine
to prepare or prevent an avalanche is truly bewildering, and any single
one of them may be the prime mover or the reliable safeguard in a given
instance. And this one was perhaps overlooked in weighing the evidence.
_The secret of the avalanche is the breaking strain and snapping point
of an unseen tension._ Avalanches owe their growth and collapse to
some or all of the following indications: The angle of the slope; the
surface of the ground; the quantity of the snow; the snow of a month
ago, of yesterday, and to-day; the temperature and the wind of a month
ago, yesterday, and today, while the snow fell, or before it fell, or
after it had fallen. And to consummate or prevent the catastrophy there
are, in conjunction with the above, the temperature at the time of our
arrival on the spot, the weight of the party, its methods of walking
or ski-ing, and sundry other accidents. So many possibilities produce
tantalising doubt rather than definite conviction, and more often than
not a slope, which presents all the visible elements of danger, may be
perfectly harmless. On the other hand, well-known guides have walked
into mouse-traps because one exceptional condition had altered the
internal character of a particular slope which, throughout their lives,
they had known as perfectly safe. A strong sense of human weakness
is therefore the proper frame of mind towards the mysterious and
overwhelming power of the snow.

The mountaineer must condense the theory of avalanches into a few
comprehensive rules of thumb, and when in doubt he must give the
benefit to himself and not to the avalanche.

SUSPICIOUS.--Every open slope of about 25 deg. or steeper, and _all new
snow in warm weather_. A thaw after a heavy fall of snow is the most
common cause of the thick and heavy slides known as ground avalanches.

DANGEROUS.--Every heavy accumulation of snow at an angle of 40 deg.
or more, on long open slopes, and in gullies. At lesser angles all
snow which lies on a hard and smooth surface (grass, earth, old snow,
crust, ice, &c.). Hard snow under the lee of ridges. This is liable to
crack and to become suddenly transformed into what looks like a huge
waterfall of lumps of sugar. Therefore, one ought to cross such slopes
as high up as possible. The cornice which overhangs the ridge is more
dangerous to those who walk _on_ it than to those _under_ it.

SAFE.--All slopes under 25 deg; all slopes evenly dotted with trees or
rocks; almost every perfectly homogeneous snow not deeper than 2ft.
which lies on a rough surface (screes, &c.).

More cannot be said without conjuring up a flood of detail. This
experience and acquired instinct must fill in. The tourist can find
almost daily an opportunity of making experiments on a small scale,
though he should not forget that a cubic yard of snow can dislocate his
arm or break his leg.

As an instance, showing the effect of surface, I may mention that, in
the Alpine spring, the grass slopes send down in huge avalanches the
solid layer accumulated and consolidated during the winter. At the
same time the firm, wet snow of exactly the same texture which lies on
screes remains perfectly safe, and affords splendid ski-ing. It never
slips off, but gradually melts, evaporates, and vanishes as the summer
draws near.

The only exact method of dealing with avalanches would be to make
“avalanche maps” of popular centres. In these maps the slopes and
gullies which are always bad are coloured, let us say, red. A blue
slope would be dangerous under such and such conditions; a green
slope becomes threatening in the spring, &c. On these maps all those
expeditions should be marked which can be guaranteed as safe.

The fear of the avalanche must always be before the ski-runner’s
conscience. All the rest is a matter of well-defined dogma, of strict
attention to well-known precautions, which belong to the routine of
every mountaineer deserving of the name.

(1) Never go alone; three is the minimum.

(2) One man at least must be an Alpine climber of experience.

(3) All members of the party must be equal in skill.

These three commandments are the essence. Let a few comments suffice.

(1) The solitary mountaineer is a fool. This is an article of faith.
Permissible exceptions are rare.

(2) The experienced leader will tell his friends all about the
crevasses, outfit, provisions, the importance of an early start, the
duty of keeping together, and the courage to turn back before the
approach of the night or bad weather. He will ask if everyone has his
goggles, spare gloves, provisions, snow-helmets, repairing tools. He
will take from everyone the promise to be strictly obeyed.

(3) This is a necessary complement to 1 and 2. Ten stumblers of equal
proficiency are a good party, for they will generally get as far as
they deserve. Nine good men and one stumbler are bad, for they will
probably make that one poor man feel worse than he is.

On long tours only persons can go who do not fall when they have the
will not to fall. He is not a fit companion for difficult expeditions
who is not sure that he can keep on his feet throughout the day.
A mountaineer never has a spill unless he forgets himself, his
companions, or his surroundings.

    NOTE.--In our experience by far the commonest form of winter
    avalanche occurs when a ski-runner crosses (or some other
    influence disturbs) a long steep slope of _freshly-fallen_
    snow. The weight of the runner is the last straw which causes
    the slenderly coherent mass to snap. It does so with a curious
    report, something like the cracking of thick ice on a frozen
    lake. Below the dividing line, which may be half a mile long,
    the snow slides off the hill-side much as it slides off the roof
    of a house, forming itself into thick slabs like paving stones
    which accumulate one on top of the other, and which ultimately
    overwhelm the runner. The snow usually breaks only a short
    distance above the runner, and consequently, in the event of an
    accident, search should first be made in that part of the mass
    which is highest up the hill.

    Freshly-fallen snow is accordingly quite the most serious danger
    of ski-running, and, inasmuch as it usually affords but poor
    going, it is seldom worth while venturing far on very steep
    ground after a recent fall. After a few days of fine weather,
    however, the snow settles down, the avalanches run off, and
    what remains becomes firmer and more crystalline in structure.
    Under the pressure of its own weight, and owing to the peculiar
    property of _regelation_ which solid water possesses, the new
    fall attaches itself to the old crusts, and the conditions
    become, comparatively speaking, safe.

    It is a common saying amongst the Swiss that it is unsafe to
    venture above the tree-line, as long as any snow is left clinging
    to the trees on the sunny side of the valleys. This rough test we
    have found to be a very useful one.--ED.

[Illustration: BROAD PEAK, KASHMIR.

Ski in foreground at a height of 20,000 feet.

_Photo by Dr. Guillarmod._]




In warm weather snow is apt to stick to the bottom of the ski (see page
22). It accumulates there in large watery clods, and renders progress
very slow and laborious. Under such circumstances the advice commonly
given is not to go out at all, and unless there is a prospect of better
things, either in the shade or higher up, it is certainly best to stop
at home. Nevertheless, the boundary line between sticking and not
sticking is an extremely narrow one, and, moreover, one is not always
sitting comfortably indoors when the trouble begins. It is therefore
important to consider what is to be done to avoid or cure it.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Waxing the ski= is the simplest plan, and proves effective in the
great majority of cases. It is true that with waxed ski hill-climbing
may become a matter of considerable difficulty, for the wax is apt to
carry matters too far, and to make the surface unduly slippery. But
anything is better than carrying all that dead weight of snow, and by
using only a little wax under the foot (where the sticking chiefly
occurs), by choosing an easy gradient, and by side stepping, &c., one
can generally manage to get along somehow.

Various kinds of wax are sold for this purpose, and all are more or
less efficacious. There is, however, a difficulty with the solid kinds
in inducing them to “bite” when the ski are cold and wet, and the
writer prefers the semi-liquid variety sold in tubes. A tube of wax,
plus its attendant piece of rag, takes up very little room in the
pocket or rucksack, and its weight is in no way commensurate with that
of the lumps of snow which it is not infrequently its office to prevent.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Sealskin.=--From time immemorial seal’s (or elk’s) skin has been
attached to the bottom of the ski. The hairs, set towards the heel
serve the double purpose of preventing the ski slipping backwards, and
of keeping the surface free from sticky snow. Until quite recently
it has been usual to fix the skin permanently; but whilst this works
fairly well for certain purposes, it is open to many objections. The
hair is a very serious impediment, both down-hill and on the level, for
it not only reduces the speed, but, owing to its inherent “wobbliness,”
it renders steering and balancing much more difficult. Then, again,
the hair soon wears out, a day of hard snow being sufficient to quite
spoil it; or it tears, or, being wet, the weather turns colder and it
freezes solid. But perhaps the most serious objection of all is the
nasty _feeling_ of a skin-clad ski. There is a certain cleanness and
crispness about the movement of the plain wood through the snow which
one learns to love, and which one sorely misses. Besides which there
is much art in getting up-hill to the best advantage on uncovered ski,
and this keeps one’s mind busy, and greatly alleviates the labours
of the climb; whereas with the skin any duffer can get along, and
climbing becomes pure drudgery. It is, however, certain that, given
a long and steep ascent where much zig-zagging is necessary, or even
an only moderately steep slope and hard snow, one can with the skin
arrive far more quickly and easily at the top than without it. It will,
therefore, either when attached permanently or when detachable as about
to be described, be found to be of great value for long and arduous
mountain tours on steep Alpine ground. But even in the Alps, under all
ordinary circumstances, where ski-running, and not the ascent of any
particularly difficult summit, is the object in view, and where it is
of no consequence whether one arrives an hour sooner or later, there is
no sense in encumbering oneself with unnecessary gear and spoiling the
pleasant “feel” of the bare ash.

On undulating ground, where one can usually go straight up and down
hill (as in most parts of Norway), nobody nowadays dreams of using skin
in any shape or form.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Detachable Sealskin= is quite a recent invention, and is vastly
preferable to the fixed article. For it can be used for a long climb,
and removed when the summit is reached.

Thus a strip of the material mounted on webbing can be attached to the
bottom of the ski by means of a loop over the point, a strap at the
heel end, and a few transverse straps. But the plan is open to the
objection that the skin is apt to slip about sideways, and that the
fixing of it is troublesome, and takes time.

The latest method of fixing is that invented by Messrs. Sohm and
Madlener, and is highly recommended by those who have tried it. But it
involves boring two holes through each ski--an unpardonable sacrilege
in the eyes of some people. Surely, however, if we are going to commit
the outrage of using sealskin at all we may just as well be hanged for
a sheep as for a lamb, and bore holes or do anything else which may
assist us in our fell (joke!) design.

       *       *       *       *       *

=The detachable skin of Herren Sohm and Madlener= is sewn on to stout
webbing, and is only about half as long as the ski themselves. It is
attached to the ski immediately in front of the foot, and reaches from
there to the back end. The arrangements for fixing it are extremely
ingenious, and permit of its being attached or removed with great
rapidity. The photographs and drawings (p. 108) show exactly what they

A hole is bored in the ski just in front of the binding; and another
about halfway between it and the heel end of the ski. Through each of
these holes a bolt passes, the bottom of which is shaped like a flat
sort of button. The bolt sticks up through the ski; and it is threaded
and fitted with a wing-nut. (See Fig. _a_.) When not required the
button is screwed by means of the wing-nut into a recess cut for its
reception in the bottom of the ski.

The front part of the skin is buttoned to the front bolt, the middle
part to the second bolt, whilst the heel end has a strap sewn on to it
by means of which the whole is first stretched perfectly taut, and then
secured by passing the strap round the heel of the ski, and fixing it
to a catch on the top of the ski. The strap is fitted with eye-holes,
and the catch is of the simple, but ingenious construction shown in
Fig. _b_, and in the photos.

The front part of the skin, of course, requires protection. This is
afforded by soldering two pieces of sheet brass together so as to form
a sharp tent-shaped =V=.

[Illustration: FIG. 34.--The Sohm-Madlener Detachable Sealskin.

    (_a_) Bolt with button and wing-nut. Two are needed for each ski.

    (_b_) Catch for securing strap leading from back end of skin. The
    photos showing catch half open and shut.

    (_c_) Lower side of front edge of skin, showing sharp brass

    (_d_) Upper side of front edge of skin, showing button-hole on
    brass entrance.

    (_e_) Lower side of middle of skin, showing rivets for
    button-hole. There should be six rivets instead of only four, as

    (_f_) Upper side of middle of skin, showing button-hole.

The measurements, when not otherwise stated, are in millimètres.]

The skin, mounted on its webbing, is placed between the jaws of the =V=
which are then closed and secured by a couple of copper rivets. (See
Figs. _c_ and _d_.) The “button-holes” on the skin are not, of course,
of the ordinary kind. The front one is shown in Fig. _d_. The second
one in Fig. _f_.

The front “button-hole” is cut out of the upper part of the tent-shaped
brass =V= as shown in Fig. _d_.

The second “button-hole” (Fig. _f_) allows the button to slide
backwards and forwards in it so as to permit of the skin being pulled
quite taut. This “button-hole” is made by simply cutting a hole and
slot in another piece of sheet brass, and attaching it to the skin by
means of rivets. (See Figs. _e_ and _f_.) N.B.--Only four rivets are
shown in this drawing, but probably it is better to make the slot a
little longer and to add another rivet at each side.

In fitting this kind of detachable skin to a pair of ordinary ski, it
is probably best to fill up the customary groove cut in the bottom of
the ski. The ski will then be devoted exclusively to steep mountain
work where it is in any case advantageous to dispense with the groove.
(See page 33.) If, however, it is desired to retain the groove it will
be advisable to make the button holes extra strong, or else to make
them up so as to fit close against the wood.

It will be observed (as was mentioned above) that the skin only covers
about half the under surface of the ski. To prevent snow sticking to
the uncovered part in warm weather, a liberal coating of wax may be
applied, or else (as Herr Sohm advises) the whole of the bottom of the
ski may be painted with smooth and hard enamel. This gives a very fast
surface for running on, and of course no slipping back need be feared
when walking up-hill with the skin attached.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Climbing Irons.=--Herr Sohm recommends the use of climbing irons
invented by him in combination with his detachable skin. The object of
the irons is to prevent slipping on very steep icy slopes. The writer
has had no experience of these, and, as criticism without practical
knowledge is seldom of much value, he prefers to leave the reader
to try them or leave them alone, just as he pleases. This much may,
however, be safely assumed that these appliances (like the skin itself)
can only be of value to the skilled ski mountaineer desirous of making
long and difficult excursions in the high Alps. They are (as Herr
Sohm himself insists) quite unnecessary on ordinary ground, and are
certainly not for the beginner.

[Illustration: FIG. 35.--Sohm’s Climbing Irons.

The measurements are in millimètres. See also the photos, page 108.]

The climbing irons are made of some strong metal unaffected by rust,
and their shape and the method of fixing them in conjunction with the
skin is shown clearly in the accompanying diagrams.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Tying a piece of rope to the bottom of the ski= is resorted to by
some in order to help them to get up-hill. The writer has, however,
never found this to be of much use. It is true that if plenty of rope
is used, and if it is properly fixed (no easy matter by the way), it
largely obviates slipping back; but it also seriously hinders slipping
forwards, and necessitates a lifting or heavy dragging of the ski at
every step. Snow is very apt to stick to the rope, and of course no
glissading with it is possible. The net loss seems therefore to be
greater than the gain, though possibly there may be occasions when the
reader may find something of the sort useful. The plan has at least the
merit of cheapness.


_Photo by H. Abel._]

       *       *       *       *       *

=Dipping part of the ski into water= is also recommended by some in
order to help climbing, the idea being to form a lump of ice on the
bottom, which may be removed when the summit is reached. But this,
too, is open to much the same objections as the rope, and is scarcely
worth while. If it is to be adopted, it is well to be provided with a
metal paper-knife, or something of the kind, to scrape off the ice,
and, incidentally, it may be here mentioned that some sort of scraping
appliance will always be found useful; for cleaning one’s ski with the
stick or an ordinary knife takes a long time, besides being apt to
injure both the wood and the blade.


(Mostly dealt with already, but repeated here to impress the beginner).


    (1) Too heavy clothes. Woolly clothes. Have light, wind-proof,
    smooth materials.

    (2) Tight boots with thin soles. Have large strong boots which
    won’t pinch the toes, even with three pairs of socks on, and
    which won’t buckle in the middle of the sole.

    (3) Ski brittle, of bad shape, or of great weight. Get some one
    who knows good ski to choose for you, or, if this is impossible,
    send to a good maker for his best.

    (4) Too short gloves. Have long gloves to draw over the sleeves
    of your coat.


    (1) Abusing the snow. The better the ski-runner the less he
    complains, and _vice versâ_. Notice how the good men manage.

    (2) Continuing a tour when danger may be expected. Only
    greenhorns and fools do so. Turn back, and try another day.

    (3) Waxing ski when snow is _just_ binding. Best not. The slight
    clinging will help you up, and won’t interfere seriously with the
    run. Probably, too, it will be colder higher up.


    (1) Short waddling steps on the level. Lean forward. Slide.

    (2) Can’t get up hill. Raise front of ski and stamp. Don’t go too
    steeply. Go slowly, but keep at it.

    (3) Rushing up in front of others when on tour. Don’t show off.
    Probably you are one of the worst of the party; in any case, you
    are only annoying the others.

    (4) Side stepping, ski cross. Raise heel of lower ski. (See p.

    (5) Can’t start down hill. Be quick about it, and then you can.

    (6) Legs apart and feet level. Keep legs close together and one
    foot forward.

    (7) Leaning back on stick. Practise without one.

    (8) Falling inwards when making a down-hill curve. Lean forward!
    Throw the weight on to the lower ski.

    (9) Telemark swing. Can’t get round. Raise heel of the back foot.

    (10) Christiania swing. Ski runs off at a tangent. Hold ski
    together. Swing on both of them.

    (11) Not learning to turn to both right and left. Don’t keep on
    practising that which you can already do.

    (12) Dropping over a jump without sats, or recklessly hurling
    yourself over. Both forms of funking. Keep cool and think of your

    (13) Jumping too late. Don’t go quite so fast, and begin to
    straighten up earlier.

    (14) General stiffness. Don’t get into any fixed style of
    running. Keep on changing your ground and trying new things.


Introductions are very informal on the snow.

You may ask anybody for advice, and be certain of receiving a polite
answer, provided that you yourself are polite, and that your question
is not idiotic.

If you contemplate joining a touring party, you should ask somebody who
is going, and who has already made a tour with you, whether you are
likely to be welcome. If he hesitates, don’t go. If he assents, go by
all means, even though you may be doubtful whether you are up to the
work in hand.

You should not instantly rush to the assistance of a lady who may have
fallen. Do not let your gallantry get the better of your common sense.

In Norway ladies put on their own ski, and manage their own bindings,
and it is not good manners to offer to assist them. Would that the
custom extended to Switzerland!

However amusing your conversation may be, you should refrain from
chattering during a long climb. Not everybody’s wind or everybody’s
temper is perfect.

You will not add to your popularity on tour by continually accepting
hospitality at the hands of others, especially if your water-bottle be
small, and you carry no repairing outfit.

You should pay up punctually, and without demur, to the man who
finances a touring party; it is at least ten to one that he is out of
pocket, anyway.

It is a gross breach of manners to tread on the back of another man’s
ski. You should at once apologise and fall back five yards.

You should not come plumping over a jump which others have been at
some pains to construct, without first asking their leave, and it is
always your solemn duty to repair as well as possible any damage you
may occasion to the track.

Unless you are really a very good runner, it is better not to imitate
too closely the Norwegian style of dress. People may be disappointed.

Always be polite in your dealings with foreigners, and you will seldom
have cause to complain of their want of manners.


  1 inch       = ·0254 metres
  1 foot       = ·3048 metres
  1 yard       = ·9144 metres
  1000 metres  = 3280 feet
  1000 feet    = 304·8 metres
  1 metre      = 39·370 inches[11]
     ″         = 3·280 feet
     ″         = 1·0933 yards
  1 kilometre  = 1093·3 yards
  8 kilometres = 4·969 miles
      ″   ″     = 5 miles, less 50 yards


  £4         = 100 francs
  4-         = 5 francs
  1/-        = 1·25 francs
  100 francs = 80 /-
  5 francs   = 4/-
  1 franc    = -/9½ about


  £1         = 18·2 kroner
  1 krone    = 1/1¼ about


  £1         = 20·4 marks
  1 mark     = -/11¾ about


  £1                 = { 24 kronen
                       { 10·2 florins or gulden
  1 krone            = -/10
  1 florin or gulden = 1/11½

       *       *       *       *       *

  1 kilogramme = 2·2046 pounds avoirdupois.
  In trade 1 kilogramme is reckoned 10 per cent. more than 2lb.
         11lb. = 5 kilogrammes.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Temperature falls about_

  1° Fahrenheit for every 300ft. rise
           or, say,
  1° Cent. for every 200 metres.


_Comparison between Scales of Fahrenheit, Réaumur, and the Centigrade._

   °     °      °
  100B. 212B.  80B.
   99   210·2  79·2
   98   208·4  78·4
   97   206·6  77·6
   96   204·8  76·8

   95   203    76
   94   201·2  75·2
   93   199·4  74·4
   92   197·6  73·6
   91   195·8  72·8

   90   194    72
   89   192·2  71·2
   88   190·4  70·4
   87   188·6  69·6
   86   186·8  68·8

   85   185    68
   84   183·2  67·2
   83   181·4  66·4
   82   179·6  65·6
   81   177·8  64·8

   80   176    64
   79   174·2  63·2
   78   172·4  62·4
   77   170·6  61·6
   76   168·8  60·8

   75   167    60
   74   165·2  59·2
   73   163·4  58·4
   72   161·6  57·6
   71   159·8  56·8

   70   158    56
   69   156·2  55·2
   68   154·4  54·4
   67   152·6  53·6
   66   150·8  52·8

   65   149    52
   64   147·2  51·2
   63   145·4  50·4
   62   143·6  49·6
   61   141·8  48·8

   60   140    48
   59   138·2  47·2
   58   136·4  46·4
   57   134·6  45·6
   56   132·8  44·8

   55   131    44
   54   129·2  43·2
   53   127·4  42·4
   52   125·6  41·6
   51   123·8  40·8

   50   122    40
   49   120·2  39·2
   48   118·4  38·4
   47   116·8  37·6
   46   114·8  36·8

   45   113    36
   44   111·2  35·2
   43   109·4  34·4
   42   107·6  33·6
   41   105·8  32·8

   40   104    32
   39   102·2  31·2
   38   100·4  30·4
   37    98·6  29·6
   36    96·8  28·8

   35    95    28
   34    93·2  27·2
   33    91·4  26·4
   32    89·6  25·6
   31    87·8  24·8

   30    86    24
   29    84·2  23·2
   28    82·4  22·4
   27    80·6  21·6
   26    78·8  20·8

   25    77    20·0
   24    75·2  19·2
   23    73·4  18·4
   22    71·6  17·6
   21    69·8  16·8

   20    68    16
   19    66·2  15·2
   18    64·4  14·4
   17    62·6  13·6
   16    60·8  12·8

   15    59    12
   14    57·2  11·2
   13    55·4  10·4
   12    53·6   9·6
   11    51·8   8·8

   10    50     8
    9    48·2   7·2
    8    46·4   6·4
    7    44·6   5·6
    6    42·8   4·8

    5    41     4
    4    39·2   3·2
    3    37·4   2·4
    2    35·6   1·6
    1    33·8   0·8

  Zero   32    Zero
    1    30·2   0·8
    2    28·4   1·6
    3    26·6   2·4
    4    24·8   3·2

    5    23     4
    6    21·2   4·8
    7    19·4   5·6
    8    17·6   6·4
    9    15·8   7·2

   10    14     8
   11    12·2   8·8
   12    10·4   9·6
   13     8·6  10·4
   14     6·8  11·2

   15     5    12
   16     3·2  12·8
   17     1·4  13·6
   18     --   14·4
   19     2·2  15·2

   20     4    16
   21     5·8  16·8
   22     7·6  17·6
   23     9·4  18·4
   24    11·2  19·2

   25    13    20
   26    14·8  20·8
   27    16·6  21·6
   28    18·4  22·4
   29    20·2  23·2

   30    22    24
   31    23·8  24·8
   32    25·6  25·6
   33    27·4  26·4
   34    29·2  27·2

   35    31    28
   36    32·8  28·8
   37    24·6  29·6
   38    36·4  29·6
   39    38·2  31·2

   40    40    32
   41    41·8  32·8
   42    43·6  33·6
   43    45·4  34·4
   44    47·2  35·2

   45    49    36
   46    50·8  36·8
   47    52·6  37·6
   48    54·4  38·4
   49    56·2  39·2


  =Outfit=    FOR EVERY

    =SKI= from all the best makers in Norway, Germany, Austria, and

    =FASTENINGS= of every description, including the “Alpine” and the

    =CLOTHING= of the best quality and design, ready made or to order.

    =BERCOLIN= (in tubes), the best ski-wax, and other lubricants.

    =EVERYTHING= required by ski-runners, mountaineers, tobogganers,
    skaters, and tourists.

       *       *       *       *       *

  BERR & CO.,    ″  ″   =VIENNA=,  MARIAHILFER STR. 1C.

  _Three Names._      _Three Countries._       _One Quality._

_J. Dege & Sons_,


Military and Sporting Tailors and Breeches Makers.


Messrs. J. Dege & Sons beg to announce to the readers of this Manual
that they have, after the most careful inquiry as to the requirements
of that most attractive and exciting sport SKI-RUNNING, perfected an
Outfit best suited for the purpose.

It consists of a Snowproof Suit suitable for the Sport, which at the
same time is porous; and our Special Ski Cap of the same material.

  Telegraphic Address:             Telephone:






Special lasts are made and reserved exclusively for each customer.

New customers who cannot favour D. & M. with a personal interview
should send outlines of their feet taken standing, or a pair of old
boots, as a guide for fitting.


_Illustrated Catalogue Gratis._


  Sportsmen visiting Norway may procure all
  Sporting Requisites
  Ludv. TORGERSEN & CO. Ltd.,

  Ice Axes (Norwegian Pattern), Ski and Accessories,
  Ski Staffs, Socks, Laupar (Ski) Boots, Mitts,
  Lanterns, Coasters, Steering Poles,



Cartridges loaded to order with English Gunpowders and Newcastle
Chilled Shot.

Large Assortment of FISHING TACKLE suitable for Fishing in Norway.





With their accessories of best quality. (The above always kept in



Eley’s and Kynoch’s Ammunition.

Snow Shoes & ‘Ski’


Made out of the toughest German Ash, in accordance with the best
designs and with various bindings (only first-class material used).

Direct from the Factory.


[Illustration: Schutz-Marke.]


Freiburg i. B.

[Illustration: The “Davos” Model High Form, Pattern “E,” Mounting “L,”
Length 90 c.m.]

[Illustration: The “Davos” Model, Low Form, Pattern “PP,” Mounting “M,”
Length 90 c.m.]


Wood bent by Steam on the Premises--A speciality for the last 15 years.


Goods supplied to the German South-pole Expedition, to Home and
Continental Military Authorities, and to Post and Forest Officials.


L. H. HAGEN & CO.,



_Largest Assortment of Firearms and Sporting Requisites in Scandinavia._

    =SKI=, of various patterns, have all been awarded Gold Medals.

    =FASTENINGS=, which have obtained the highest possible awards.

    =SKI OUTFITS=, and all requisites connected with Ski-ing,

=SKATES=, of Hagen’s celebrated and universally known pattern.


_Awarded Eleven Gold Medals. Two Grand Prix._


L. H. HAGEN & Co.




Ski of his own pattern: Awarded 1st prize. Exporter of Ash and Hickory
Ski (varnished or coloured). Ski of best quality always in stock. Maker
of the well-known, highly recommended Wax “Record,” to preserve the ski
and prevent balling.



English and Foreign Books, Magazines, Periodicals, and Journals.




Made by



[Illustration: MARKE Tödi



THE SKI are light and elastic, and are made from the celebrated Swiss
mountain ash.

=THE SKI= are fitted with either “Ellefsen’s,” or “Huitfeidt’s.” or the
“Model C driving belt” bindings.

_Maker of the original Davos Toboggan, Bandy (ice-hockey) Clubs, &c._

_=LONDON DEPOT=_: With Messrs. A. W. GAMAGE,







  The National Antarctic Expedition.
  Duke of Abruzzi’s, The, Arctic Expedition.
  Ziegler’s Arctic Expedition.
  Baron Toll’s Arctic Expedition.
  Drygalski’s Antarctic Expedition.
  Argentine Government’s Antarctic Expedition.
                  &c., &c.


Ski-Boots, Socks, Finn Mocassins, Fur Gloves, Leather Jackets, Sleeping
Bags, and every kind of Fur Clothing and Requisite for Winter wear, or
travelling in cold climates.



    =Skating=, =Tobogganing=, =Ski-ing=, =Sleighing=, in short every
    winter sport, _par excellence_.

    =Innsbruck.= Seat of an English colony. Headquarters of winter
    sports. Climate highly recommended by the medical profession.

    =Kitzbuehel.= Renowned winter resort.

    =St. Anton= (Arlberg). Excellent Ski-ing centre.

    =Gossensass.= Every Winter sport.

    =Cortina d’Ampezzo.= Eminently suitable for winter sojourn.

    =The Semmering=, near Vienna. Highly recommended for winter

    =Meran.= The pearl of Austrian health resorts.

    =Salzburg.= Capital and Dukedom. Excellently suited for the

    =Bozen-Gries=, =Trent=, =Rovereto=, =Arco=, =Riva=, &c. Excellent
    places for winter sojourn.

    =WINTER TOURS TO THE AUSTRIAN ALPS.= For particulars and
    pamphlets (free) write or call:--





(From 1st October, 1905 to 30th April, 1906.)

  .  AND  .

  First-class,  Single  £3  3s. 0d.
       ”        Return  £5  5s. 0d.
  Second-class, Single  £2 10s. 0d.
       ”        Return  £4  0s. 0d.
  Victualling included.

_Intended Sailings_...

    From HULL every FRIDAY evening.

    From CHRISTIANIA every FRIDAY, 10 a.m., calling at CHRISTIANSAND
    Friday night.

    _For further information apply to_

    Messrs. The UNITED SHIPPING Co., Ltd., 108, Fenchurch Street,
    LONDON, E.C.

    Messrs. T. COOK & SON, Ludgate Circus, LONDON, E.C. or to

    Messrs. THOS. WILSON, SONS, & Co., Ltd. HULL.

  Photograph and Curiosity Stores.

  Unrivalled Stock of Photos, Silver, Fancy Articles,
  Guide Books, Maps, Books on Norway, Tauchnitz
  Edition, &c.


  Every Information furnished relative to Travelling in Norway. Money

  _By Special Appointment, Dealers to Her Majesty Queen Alexandra._





  H. HORN & Co.



Proprietor, M. HAFSTEN.

First-class accommodation. Moderate terms.

Beautifully situated in Telemarken. Most suitable quarters for Ski-ing
and Winter Sports. Eight hours from Christiania--rail to Kongsberg,
drive thence to Bolkesjö. Telephonic communication with all parts.
Highly recommended.



  _The Electric Railway from Le Fayet St. Gervais
  to Chamonix is now running the whole year round._





  _All small Mountain Excursions may be made
  in Winter._


M. COUTTET, who is himself an enthusiastic Ski-Runner, and has ascended
in Winter on Ski the Col du Geant, 11,056ft., the Col du Midi,
11,700ft., and traversed from Chamonix to Zermatt by the High Level
Route, &c., is able to give all information concerning the district.

For full particulars apply to the Proprietors,

  Hotel Couttet,
  Chamonix, France.

  Lake of Geneva, Switzerland.


  Splendid position, with magnificent view of
  the Alps. Central, full south.


  Concert three times a day. Grand Balls.
  Magnificent Hall.

  One of the finest Hotels, With first-rate





BOSS BROTHERS, Proprietors.




    The best Hotel for Ski Runners, and the headquarters of the Davos
    English Ski Club.



    Baths on every floor, and the most modern recently installed
    sanitary arrangements.



    Close to the big Skating Rink, Where the International Skating
    Competitions are held.



    Electric light throughout, private spring water supply, central
    heating, and a rational and well varied cuisine.



    Close to the Schatz Alp Cable Railway, which takes passengers up
    1000 feet in a few minutes.



    A large Ball Room, where balls, dances, orchestral concerts, &c.,
    are given throughout the winter season.



  (_Two hours beyond Innsbruck_).



  As a Ski-ing Centre KITZBÜHEL

Owing to the formation of the slopes, Kitzbühel has been pronounced by
experts to be one of the finest Ski-ing grounds in Europe.

The position of Lebenberg enables Visitors to start in any direction
from the Schloss.

The Climate of Kitzbühel is noted for the absence of wind and the
amount of sunshine. It is therefore


Tobogganing and Skating can also be indulged in.

Sleigh races and Ski-ing competitions are held yearly.

_For Illustrated Prospectus and further particulars apply to the




_Feldberg_ in the _Black Forest_.

Nearest and most favourable Ski-ing ground for England.

Railway Station: TITISEE, via FREIBURG, BADEN.


The Hotel contains 150 Rooms, with 200 beds, and has two annexes--The
Jaegermattte, with 25 rooms and 40 beds, and the Turm Hotel, with 28
rooms and 48 beds.


The Hotel has been greatly enlarged and contains every modern
comfort, including electric light, central heating throughout, lift,
billiard-room, skittle-alley, beer-room, drying-rooms, store-room for
ski, two baths in every storey, and suites of rooms.

Pension Prices for a six days’ stay.

Tobogganing road to Titisee.

Post and Telegraph Office on the Premises. Telegraphic Address:
“Feldberg, Schwarzwald.”




  _Board and Lodging for 8 shillings and upwards._




  Exclusively reserved for Sportsmen
  and through Travellers.


  =A. GREDIG SON=, _Proprietor_.


Edited by H. A. TANNER, Basle, Switzerland.

    “=SKI.=”--The illustrated official organ of all the Ski Clubs in
    Central Europe. Correspondence from all parts of the world.

    “=ALPINER WINTERSPORT.=”--A journal dealing with all Winter
    Sports. Published in English, French, German, and Italian, and
    read by members of the various English colonies on the Continent.
    English correspondence is always welcome.

    =BOTH PAPERS= are forwarded together, and may be obtained through
    every Bookseller and Post-Office; or from the Editor in Basle.


  Ellefsen’s Binding



Direct, convenient, and economical route from England to =Christiania=
(the centre for all Norwegian winter sports) by the magnificent Mail
and Passenger Steamers

“=Sovereign=” and “=Sterling=,”

sailing from =Newcastle= (Tyne Dock) every Friday evening. Fare £3 3s.
0d. single or £5 5s. 0d. return, inclusive of victualling.

  _Telegraphic Address: “Matthiessen.”_




A Half-plate Camera which can be carried without fatigue, opened
without complications, closed as a =box, measures only 8 by 5 by 2
ins.=, and perfectly rigid at full extension.


  The Pocket XIT. 4¼ by 3¼ ins.        from £6 6s.

    can be used, I think the XIT cannot be beaten.”


  =J. F. SHEW & Co.=,   Manufacturers and Patentees
                          of Specialities in Photographic
  =NEWMAN ST.=, 4 Doors off Oxford St., =LONDON, W.=


[Footnote 1: _Ski_ is really the same word as the English _skid_,
meaning a slide, or something to slide upon, the affinity being even
greater in the Swedish term _skid_ (plural, _skidor_), meaning slides
or skates. Originally it doubtless springs from the Finnish _subsi_ or
_suksi_, by which appellation the ski were probably known long before
their introduction to Scandinavia.]

[Footnote 2: “W.T.,” _T.P.’s Weekly_, p. 226, Feb., 1904.]

[Footnote 3: Scandinavian _skrïde_ = to slide, glide, slip.]

[Footnote 4: The names of the best known of these Telemarkings were,
Knut Olafsen Haugen, Aasmund Brække, Sveinung Svalastoga, and the
“Hemmestvedt gutter” (Torjus and Mikkel Hemmestvedt).--ED.]

[Footnote 5: Probably also on most of our own mountains.]

[Footnote 6: To judge by the number of utterly foolish bindings on the
market, this is a point which usually escapes the inventor-novice.]

[Footnote 7: Look at the frontispiece for an example of first-class

[Footnote 8: In competitions the jump is measured from the point where
the runner leaves the ground to the middle of the deepest part of the
impression which his ski make on alighting.]

[Footnote 9: The ski which are suitable for ordinary excursions on
undulating ground are not necessarily equally useful for long mountain
climbs. In the one case ski-running pure and simple is the object in
view, in the other the ski are merely a means to an end--the ascent
of some difficult summit or pass. Some remarks as to the kind of
instrument which may be found serviceable for the latter purpose are to
be found at p. 34, and in the chapter on “Aids to Climbing.”--ED.]

[Footnote 10: This, perhaps, scarcely goes far enough. The outfit
suitable for undulating wooded ground on which a runner may attain
to great skill is not equally serviceable high up. In particular, a
cap covering most of the face and neck, smoked glasses or the simple
arrangement described on p. 50, a light wind-jacket of some sort,
extra-thick gloves, extra-thick socks, and extra-stout nailed boots
are essential. The runner should accustom himself to carrying a large
heavy rucksack, which is a disagreeable, but, alas! an indispensable,
companion on a long mountain tour.--ED.]

[Footnote 11: The exact figures are not as yet settled, and are
given--39·37043196 39·37079, 39·37008, &c.]

[Transcriber’s Note:

The Contents reference to “Side stepping ... Page 69” erroneously
refers to “SIDE-SLIPPING” on Page 69.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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