Here I am, sitting at my desk looking out at the fresh snow on the mountains and thinking that it won’t be long now until everyone is getting their skis out.
The following article was written for Golden Memories 1982 edition by Chris Schiesser. Do you have a copy of Golden Memories?
They make great gifts and can be purchased at the Golden Museum. Right after the snow comes Christmas so it’s a good time to start shopping!
Most early pioneers depended on snowshoes to get around over the deep winter snow, but a few Swedish immigrants also used homemade skis which increased their speed in covering their traplines.
The Golden District Museum displays one such pair of skis made by Ole Oberg in 1916. Later they were sold to Axel Lindberg, for eight dollars, who again sold them to Gottnar Hedberg for the same sum.
Skiing for pleasure only became popular in Canada during the 1930’s, and the sport was introduced to Moberly by the Schiesser family who took up residence there in 1939.
Fred Schiesser had been a member of a Swiss army team before coming to Canada.
During the war skiing became a part of recreation for the older school pupils in the one room schools, which was being taught by Mrs. Chris Schiesser, and some youngsters skied to school and often noon hour was spent on a small hill above the old log school.
Sunday skiing became a community activity, and this led to the formation of the Moberly Ski Club.
Meetings were at first at the various homesteads then later at Galsted Lake, where the old cabin was made into a clubhouse. Skiing down the slopes to the lake and on the adjacent meadows gave plenty of practice and fun for even the smaller children with toboggans. Some skied over a trail cut from Lambert’s Lake to Galsted’s or over the still unplowed side roads, which were seldom plowed and never sanded.
After skiing everyone gathered in the cabin for a feast of pancakes, bacon and coffee (Bergenham style) served by before heading home.
Races were held in late February with money prizes donated by the local bachelors.
On several occasions, Ken Jones, of Forde, came over to instruct the young skiers in snow-plowing, sidestepping or herring-boning uphill and shushing to a telemark turn, all this despite the handicap of “bear trap” harness, leather ski boots or even rubber boots.
Surprisingly there were no accidents beyond a twisted ankle and a few scratches and bruises.
One Easter vacation four of the older skiers, with Ken Jones in charge and two mothers as chaperones, travelled to Glacier by train and made a run up the Asulkan Valley to the head of the Asulkan Pass.
Despite a spell of warm weather, which slowed the downhill return considerably, it was great fun, and two nights were spent in the hut of the Alpine Club of Canada. Tired but happy the party returned to Moberly the next morning on the Canadian.
After the war even the side roads began to be plowed and sanded, restricting ski travel, but it also
enabled skiers from Golden to join in the fun at Moberly. Then, as skiing became more popular in
Golden, a hill was developed at Morris’s farm and in 1956 the Moberly Ski Club was amalgamated with the Golden Skiers.
But it was the Moberly Club which pioneered skiing in the local area.