Friday, December 21, 2012

First Tracks

Revelstoke Museum & Archives is proud to announce the publication of our new book, “First Tracks – the history of skiing in Revelstoke.” The book explores this fascinating history going back to the early 1890s, when the newspapers reported people coming in to town on “Norwegian Snowshoes,” as skis were then called. Snowshoes were the more usual mode of travel in the snow, and the skis created a bit of a sensation in town. The newspaper Kootenay Mail described the skis in their November 28, 1891issue: “The snowshoes are simply thin slats of wood about three inches in width and ten feet in length, and turned up in front like the bows of a canoe. The feet are fastened to these slats by leather straps in the centre, leaving about five feet clear fore and aft, which is not lifted clear of the snow, but glides along the surface. A pole about six feet in length is carried, either for steering purposes or as a help in propulsion.” The book explores how skiing became a recreational pastime in the 1890s and early 1900s, then discusses the formation of the competitive Revelstoke Ski Club in 1914. This club, with many members from the local Scandinavian population, put Revelstoke on the map in terms of the sport of skiing, with both ski racing and ski jumping being the most popular forms of the sport. Revelstoke became known world wide as a ski jumping destination right up until 1975. Every aspect of skiing in Revelstoke is explored in the book, right up to the present day. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, cat powder skiing, heliskiing, backcountry skiing and Nordic skiing are all discussed in the book. Fabulous photographs illustrate the book throughout. The book was a wonderful way for the museum to share this exciting aspect of our history. We were able to add to our knowledge on this subject through many interviews and donations of photographs and artifacts. We created a new ski hsitory exhibit at the museum to further explore the passion that people here have for skiing. The picture on the front cover of the book shows six Revelstoke men and women skiing at the summit of Mount Revelstoke in February of 1941 during a film shoot. It is just one of dozens of great photographs that tell this history. For more information on the book, contact us at

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