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American Ski Annual, 1936
* Lowell Skoog has a copy of each article marked with an asterisk.

This issue has articles on American skiers in the Olympic Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which I haven't reviewed. It also contains articles on skiing in the Canadian Rockies by Brian Meredith, Colorado by Frank Ashley, the Tetons by Jack Durrance, Sun Valley by Charles Proctor, and California by Don Tresidder. (I made copies of these.)

p. 29: Burton, H.B., "Mountaineering on Skis" *

"This article is a piece of special pleading for the ski-mountaineers, by one of them." The author describes the appeal of ski mountaineering (really ski touring) from the viewpoint of an Andirondack skier. He describes ski mountaineering as "a concession to the explorer in all of us that downhill skiing only half satisfies."

p. 46: Dole, Charles M., chairman, "Ski Safety Inquiry" *

A report by a committee of the Amateur Ski Club of New York on skiing accidents, their causes, and suggestions to reduce them. The report concludes that the majority of skiing accidents are avoidable. It offers recommendations regarding education and instruction, trails and slopes, traffic and warning signals, ski patrol, first aid, equipment, racing, and tests and classifications. Regarding the ski patrol, the report notes that the idea has already been instituted in one locality.

p. 62: Bradley, David J., "Heil, Otto!" *

A tribute to Otto Schniebs, Dartmouth's ski leader. Schniebs was a ski troop leader during World War I and was wounded four times. After the war he came to America, were he worked as a watchmaker before becoming a ski teacher. In 1930 he became the ski leader and coach for the Dartmouth Outing Club. The author writes that Schniebes was the catalyst that caused skiing throughout New England to take off. The author describes some of Schniebs' famous ski talks, delivered in fractured English, and his credo: "Skiing is not merely a schport--It is a way of Life." After six years at Dartmouth, Schniebs decided to resign his position to work on his ski business and ski school.

p. 136: Grinden, Harold A., "Away Back Yonder" *

This article traces the development of ski clubs in the midwest and the founding of the National Ski Association in 1905. The oldest club in the country appears to be the Nansen Ski Slub of Berlin, N.H., formed on January 15, 1882. Originally known as "The Ski Club" and the "Berlin Mills Ski Club," it was later renamed for Fridtjof Nansen after his crossing of Greenland on skis. In the midwest, the earliest clubs include the Aurora Ski Club of Red Wing (January 19, 1886), the Norden Ski Club of Ishpeming (January 24, 1887), and two clubs formed in Minnesota in 1885. The Aurora and Ishpeming Clubs played the leading role in development of the sport and of the National Ski Association, founded on February 22, 1905. The author describes skiing tournaments from 1904 through 1910. He observes: "The competitive side here in America has taken a temporary drop in favor of mass participation and folks across the entire snow belt areas are getting out on skis. This is good from the health standpoint, and in the end will result in even greater competitive programs in which all phases of the sport will find a place."

p. 156: Tolman, Newt, "Figure Skiing" *

Although it has nothing to do with ski mountaineering, I found this article fascinating, having practiced freestyle skiing in the 1970s. The author discusses what forty years later would become "ballet" skiing. He writes: "The downhill racing enthusiast has the most fun of anybody on long trails, but the figure skier gets a kick out of the mildest of nursery slopes." He continues: "Whenever possible figure skiing should be done with music. The principles of dancing can be applied with great success." The author describes a variety of 360-degree spins, on the inside and outside foot and on both feet with the skis locked together. He describes skating steps leading to the equivalent of a royal christie. He writes that a typical figure, "one of the prettiest to watch," begins with a telemark swing, skis together and exactly parallel. Then the outside ski is lifted, turned clear around, and brought down parallel, facing opposite to the other ski. The weight is shifted to it and the other ski is lifted, "completing the tail of an S on an outer edge." This definitely sounds like some of the tricks that were re-invented in the 1970s.

p. 164: Bright, Alexander H., "Bindings and Safety" *

The author argues that free heels, allowing a skier to touch his knee to the ski in front of his toe (as commonly promoted), are unsafe. He feels that such freedom compels the skier instinctively to ski with his weight back on the heels in order to ensure that he can apply leverage to the skis. Once the heel comes off the ski, the leverage that can be applied by the skier is greatly reduced, sacrificing control. The author advocates a very stiff down-pull on the heel, which gives the skier equal power through both the toe and heel. This is an interesting twist on the free-heel versus fixed-heel debate that has continued for the better part of a century.

p. 179: French, Boyd and Ken Binns, "Pacific Northwest Activities" *

The authors describe Hjalmar Hvam's impressive showing in the Silver Skis race on April 22. An obstacle on the face of Panorama catapulted Hvam into a spill that cost him nearly half a minute. Hannes Schroll, racing outside the competition, beat Hvam's time of 5:38 by just four seconds. In May, the Washington Ski Club instituted a new four-way tournament at Mt Baker. Hvam took first in every event: cross-country, slalom, downhill and jumping.

On the morning that the Northwest cross-country and jumping championships were scheduled at Snoqualmie Pass, avalanches swept the highway repeatedly. Three men were killed in the slides. Half a dozen Cascade Ski Club team members, enroute to the meet, were hemmed in fore and aft by deep slides. They dug out two victims nearly overcome by lack of oxygen, took them into their car to get them warm, then were completely buried by another slide, but escaped safely. The highway department plans either a slide shed or some new device to break up the slides.

A small note says that Walter Prager, twice winner of the FIS downhill and former all-round champion of Switzerland, will be ski teacher for the Dartmouth Outing Club this coming winter.


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