The Slovenia Times

Old - Fashioned Skiing



After it had been mentioned for the first time in 1549 by a nobleman from Vipava, Ziga Herberstein, Janez Vajkard Valvazor described skiing in Bloke, in his famous book from 1689 Slava vojvodine Kranjske (The Glory of The Carniola dukedom), as follows: Farmers in some places in Carniola, especially in the area of Turjak, invented a special device, not seen anywhere else. In winter, when the high mountains are covered in snow, they use it to descend with great speed into the valley. They use two long narrow wooden planks, a quarter of an inch thick, half a foot wide and about five feet long, curved upwards at the front. There is a leather strap in the middle and each foot is fixed onto one of the wooden planks. People from Bloke used the same style of skiing until the Second World War. Given this historical heritage, it is no wonder that Slovenes have remained enthusiastic skiers and that some still love to ski in the old fashioned way. Their numbers have even increased in the last few years. Members of nostalgic ski clubs gather to preserve skiing history. Besides collecting old skiing artefacts they also try to ski using old skis with a style that also originates from the same period as their equipment. One such club, a very enthusiastic one from Skofja Loka, is called Rovtarji. Their president Mr. A. Novinc presented the main purpose of the club: "What we want it is to collect our skiing heritage and bring old skis out of the dust and back onto the snow." The club consists of about 30 active members who take part in old-fashion style skiing competitions in Slovenia and abroad. Sometimes more than 120 competitors on old skis attend these races. The finishing time is not important, what counts is authentic gear, originality and most importantly that the style of skiing should represent the same period that the skis originate from. They compete in various categories: groups, men, women, youths, hunters, foresters etc. The equipment must be at least 40 years old but some equipment is more than 80 years old. By demonstrating the attraction of old fashion skiing, nostalgic skiers have achieved their main goal: they have brought the skis out of dusty basements and attics back onto the ski resorts where they belong.


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