Kiandra snow shoe club
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The club was formed in 1861 by three Norwegians, Elias Gottaas, Soren Torp and Carl Bjerknes on the Kiandra Gold Fields, NSW. This original Kiandra ski club is now recognised as the first snow ski club in the world.
“The Holmenkollen Ski Museum confirmed in 2006 that the first two ski clubs in the world were formed by Norwegians in 1861, both in Australia and Norway”.
The Norwegian club was later shown to be a combination rifle and ski club, formed for the propagation of physical exercise and the use of weapons. Shooting competitions commenced May 1861, the first skiing competitions were to be held in January 1862.
Between the years 1861 and 1863, the Australian club made the "Kiandra kick-in", this short broad ski was designed specifically for downhill racing.
May 2011 the Federation International Skiing wrote "Early skiing in Kiandra also featured competition, in fact a type of competition that was far ahead of its time." and "I would like to commend you for having organised the first Alpine ski races in the history of our sport".
From the late 1880s and for the following twenty years, the ladies’ downhill events were principally dominated by Barbara, Margaret and Mary Yan, the daughters of a Chinese man from the mountains of China and a lady from the Bavarian mountains in Germany. Barbara Yan won the Downhill event in August 1887.
In 1898 Messrs. C A Falstadt (Consul General for Norway and Sweden), and Andrew (Banjo) Paterson were elected as Vice Presidents.
In 1908 the Kiandra club held the world’s first documented "International Ski Carnival", in addition to the "International Downhill Race" which was won by America on Kiandra competition skis, events also included races for boys under eight, ten, eleven and fourteen, boys and girls. Open Championships were also conducted, the events concluded with a "New Chum" event and toboggan race. The names of all placegetters are recorded.
The club is today known as the Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club and is located in Perisher Valley, NSW."
- The Manaro Mercury & Cooma & Bombala Advertiser, dated 10 August 1887. Copy held Club Archives.
- The Sydney Referee, 17 August 1898.
- Melbourne Argus, Monday 6 July 1908, copy printed in ISBN 0-646-46337-3. Page 70.
The club’s official historical publication "Kiandra – Gold Fields to Ski Fields" author - Norman W Clarke. ISBN 0-646-46337-3