Ski History Project

Revelstoke Museum and Archives is embarked on an exciting new project. During the year, we will be compiling photographs and information for a major new book on ski history in Revelstoke. The book will chronicle the early recreational ski clubs in the 1890s, the rise of competitive skiing in 1915, and advances in technique and equipment right up until the present day. Ski jumping on Mount Revelstoke will be highlighted, as well as distance and downhill skiing, and what we believe to be one of the earliest heli-skiing photographs around. The book will be 144 pages, with fine-art quality black and white photographs with accompanying text.

During the year, we will be conducting interviews and compiling information as well as additional photographs and artifacts. As a result, we will be mounting a major exhibit on skiing in addition to the book project. We are especially seeking information on the downhill and slalom runs on Mount Revelstoke and the early development on Mount Mackenzie. Please contact us if you can contribute to this project.

In the course of the project, we are already uncovering amazing stories and photographs. One of my favourite stories is Bob Lymburne’s ski ascent of Mount Begbie in 1932, as chronicled in the Canadian Alpine Journal. At the time of this feat, Bob Lymburne was the new Amateur World Record holder in ski jumping, having achieved a jump of 269 feet earlier in the year. On the 15th of May, 1932, Bob Lymburne left town at 4 am and drove as close as he could get to the base of Mount Begbie. He was not too far up the mountain before he put on his skis and set a fast pace, not knowing how long it would take him.

Lymburne described his ascent in the journal: “On reaching the foot of the glacier I was surprised to find that it was just 8 a.m. I enjoyed the wonderful ski-ing that is to be had on the long, smooth slopes of the glacier. After two hours ski-ing on the glacier, I halted and enjoyed my lunch. This consisted of raw eggs, oranges and raising which, in my opinion, forms the most satisfactory lunch for strenuous exercise.”

He continued upward to the highest peak. “In places there were crevasses four feet in width, thousands of feet in length and so deep that I could not see the bottom. The safe passage of these was much facilitated by the fact that I was wearing skis. Climbing to the last pinnacle, I was forced to remove my skis as it was necessary to hack out holes in the ice with my ski poles, in order to get a foot hold. The ice-walls were exceedingly steep and I had to go very carefully as a misstep would have led to a two thousand-foot fall. Before attempting the last bit, I sized up the situation very carefully, and convincing myself that I could complete the climb, reached the summit at 1 p.m.” He started to descend about 2 p.m. “After many wild, swift rides down the mountain side, the valley was reached and I arrived at Revelstoke the same evening at 6 p.m.”

The accompanying photograph shows Bob Lymburne in his glory days around 1932.

Posted on February 22, 2012 .