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If you can help and contribute information, stories, or photos from the very beginning to the present day, we would be very grateful.
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Our history.....
Posted by: alan who has made 10745 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 12.48hrs on Wed 10 Aug 05

This forum on Winterhighland is the first steps, as we set out on the sizeable task to attempt to compile a digital archive recording the history, origins and development of snowsports in Scotland. If you can help and contribute information, stories, or photos from the very beginning to the present day, we would be very grateful.

We have three main aims at this stage:

1.Gather and collect photos with known dates (or at where least the season is known) to allow historical expansion of the pix from the slope archive back in time. All pre 2005 galleries are off line at present, and will be added to an new indexed and search-able pix from the slopes archive later in the autumn. If you have suitable digital photos, or if you have a scanner email digital photos with a description to reachhigher@winterhighland.com . Alternatively if you have prints, we can arrange to scan them, please contact us at the same email address.

2.Record the chronological development of winter mountain sports in Scotland, ensuring the history and origins are not lost in time, focusing primarily on Snowsports, but also on touring/backcountry and winter climbing where relevant.

3.We hope to record not just factual information giving a chronological list of developments, but also the stories and characters behind those developments, from the early days, through the formation of the old chairlift companies, up to and including the 10year story that is the CairnGorm funicular.

The early days are already covered in part by a variety of books, but the story is far from complete. Skisters, the only book specifically about the subject was published in 1984, and there has been a lot of melted snow under the bridge since then, so to speak.

Initially this forum will serve as a repository for information, while photos will be archived in the pix from the slopes archive, with the intention of creating a historical record of winter conditions in Highland Scotland.

The ultimate goals are firstly a digital record that will continue to be updated, but secondly to tie together the information from points 2 and 3 above, into a new book charting the sport and the characters behind it. Given the 10year saga of the 'Gorm funicular, and the recent upheavals in the industry, now seems a good time to update the story, and over the next couple of years, seek to not just tell the story, but analysis it, and the industry, how we got to where we are, and where we could go in the future, to ensure that Scottish Snowsports and it's story is not lost in the mists of time.


If you have information, stories, photos, contacts, or useful references regarding the history of Scottish Snowsports and do not wish to post them in this public forum, please contact us by email at either:


Edited 4 times. Last edit at 12.25hrs Thu 11 Aug 05 by alan.

Re: It's out history, let's keep it
Posted by: Doug Bryce (IP Logged)
Date: 09.54hrs on Thu 11 Aug 05

Might as well kick it all off with a picture of Scotland's very first permanent ski tow

Attachments: Firsttow.jpg (28kB)  
Re: It's out history, let's keep it
Posted by: Doug_Bryce who has made 1373 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 10.02hrs on Thu 11 Aug 05

... interesting to see this topic. (actually got my own little project on the go at the moment).

You may not know that next year will the 50th anniversary of mechanised up lift in Scotland!
Here a picture of Scotland's very first ski tow (1956) - in the main basin at Glencoe. There's certainly a few story's behind the building of that tow, and the t-bar which followed it.

Hoping to organise a few things next winter (2006) to mark the 50th anniversary .

Edited 4 times. Last edit at 10.36hrs Thu 11 Aug 05 by Doug_Bryce.

Re: Our history.....
Posted by: Jim who has made 320 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 09.14hrs on Sat 13 Aug 05

Would be nice to have a canonical bibliography of books etc on the history. Can I suggest as a first step, the book Skisters by Myrtle Simpson. Theres absolutely tons of stuff in there on the history of the sport


Re: Our history.....
Posted by: David Goldsmith who has made 1283 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 15.21hrs on Sat 13 Aug 05

Frith Finlayson's autobiography contains lots of stuff about this interesting engaging man - founder of ski lifts at Glencoe, one of the founding fathers of BASI and one-time owner of Ski School d'Ecosse in Aviemore.

I don't have a copy of the book, unfortunately.

Here's my recollection of the ski schools that operated on Cairngorm around 1975:

Carrbridge Ski School (about the best)
Ski School d'Ecosse
Combined Services Ski School
Scottish Norwegian Ski School
Cairdsport Ski School (title needs checking, it also operated in Glenshee)
Weekend Ski Club (the one I worked for, was linked with another one in Kingussie, as I recall, but have forgotten name of it)

I'm pretty sure there were one or two others

One of my funnier recollections of working with the Weekend Ski Club, which was based in London and operated bus (and sometimes rail) based travel to the Spey Valley - mainly for schoolkids -was their purchase of a London red double-decker bus.

An attempt was made to drive the bus up to the Cairngorm car park, but the thing erupted in steam about halfway up and beat a humiliating retreat to Aviemore.

I remember a firm called Top Deck Travel that used to run double-deckers out to the Alps (Lauterbrunnen etc), but I don't think they ever tried to climb mountain roads with them!

Re: Our history.....
Posted by: SussexSnow who has made 406 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 14.27hrs on Fri 19 Aug 05

An excellent project. I'll dig out some prints.

May I suggest an additional capture mechanism? What about a one page form to capture 'memories'

Along the lines of

1. Earliest ski memory of Scotland. Enter date and month
2. Best day
3. Worst day
4. Do you remember any costs?
5. Do you remember anyone in particular?
6. Best old photo?
7. Club/school affiliation?

Perhaps a bit more social history than the engineering and economic history?

Re: Our history.....
Posted by: Graham who has made 44 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 21.13hrs on Mon 22 Aug 05

Masses of background to skiing in the Cairngorms in a wee book I picked up in a secondhand bookshop in Stirling

"On ski in the Cairngorms" by VA Firsoff (W&R Chambers 1965)

Nice period photos include:
- White lady chairlift
- White lady before the T-bar was installed
- Glenshee (? top of the Tiger & ? bottom of Sunnyside)
- Cairnwell chair
- First scottish Kandahar race in the Ciste Gully

Loads of stuff about touring, rope tow run by Aberdeen SC on Carn an Tuiric and the then new development at Mar Lodge (Blue & Red lifts and its american style snow cannons)

Re: Our history.....
Posted by: II (IP Logged)
Date: 11.05hrs on Fri 18 Nov 05


Attachments: ptarmigan.jpg (256kB)  
Re: Our history.....
Posted by: II (IP Logged)
Date: 11.09hrs on Fri 18 Nov 05

Ptarmigan 1986 I think.

Attachments: ptarmigan.jpg (384kB)  
Re: Our history.....
Posted by: SussexSnow who has made 406 posts. (IP Logged)
Date: 15.16hrs on Fri 2 Dec 05

I used to contribute to the Craige Column in the Dundee Courier. For those unfamilar with this august journal and its keystone feature here's some background. It was a daily diary about folk culture, local history, geography etc. It was phenomanal popular. A wee paragraph in their could generate 50 letters of reminisces etc. Which could then be recycled into further articles etc.

I was wondering if it would be worth writing a wee paragraph and submitting it to the Craige Column. Asking for old photos, etc. We could use the 50th anniversery of Glencoe as an excuse. The Couriers catchement area is Glenshee heartland

I'll make some inquries.

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