Ski Club of Great Britain
The Ski Club of Great Britain is a recreational snow sports club, which operates on a not-for-profit basis. It was founded on 6 May 1903 during a meeting at the Café Royal in London. Until the 1960s the Ski Club of Great Britain was responsible for British alpine racing teams.
The Ski Club currently has over 29,000 members, making it the biggest membership-based snowsports club in the UK. Their offices are located in Wimbledon Village in southwest London.
The idea of forming a Ski Club came from a meeting of individuals at the Café Royal in London, 6 May 1903. The aims of the Club, as outlined at the very first meeting, were to encourage other people to learn to ski, help members improve and take more enjoyment from their skiing while bringing together people interested in the sport.
Before World War I the club was primarily concerned with cross country (Nordic) skiing. The first official British ski championships were held on Saanenmoser, Switzerland, 1914, the results being based on performance in cross country and ski jumping.
The first British National Ski Championships to include Alpine skiing took place in Wengen in 1921. The championships were organised by Sir Arnold Lunn on behalf of the Ski Club. Sir Arnold Lunn was a central figure in this period of the Ski Club’s history and the development of ski racing, setting the first modern slalom in Murren in 1922, and helping persuade the International Olympic Committee to include downhill and slalom in the 1936 Winter Olympic Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
In the mid-1920s the Ski Club began providing snow and weather reports for national newspapers.
The National Ski Federation of Great Britain (later the British Ski and Snowboard Federation) was founded in 1964 as the governing body for alpine skiing in Britain. The Ski Club of Great Britain thereafter became aligned more closely with recreational skiing.
Ski Club Leaders
The Ski Club sent its first “reps” to the Alps in 1928. The Ski Club and its leaders started to organise touring parties during the 1930s too. These were to teach people to ski and keep them entertained in the evenings. The Ski Club currently operates a volunteer leading service in around 17 resorts worldwide.
Ski Club Freshtracks
The Ski Club has a long history of running ski holidays. Family holidays were first introduced in the 1970s, and later extended to include adult and over-50s holidays; Peak Experience holidays.In 1996–97 the holidays programme expanded once more with the incorporation of the off piste ski company ‘Freshtracks’. This increased the off piste programme and included many holidays with qualified mountain guides.It is notable that the holidays employ a rating system to match skiers of similar abilities. This rating system is a continuation of that used during the early decades of the Club’s existence.
Ski Industry Involvement
The Ski Club publishes an annual Snowsports Analysis, advises the media on snowsports-related matters, and raises awareness of British athletes and events through its website and social media channels.
The Pery Medal
The Pery medal was instituted in 1929 by the Hon. E. C. Pery, later the Earl of Limerick, DSO and President of the Ski Club of Great Britain (1925–27) and was first awarded in 1930. Previous recipients of the medal include inspirational explorers, ski pioneers, Olympic and Paralympic champions, scientists and authors. Arnold Lunn was the first to be presented with the Pery medal in 1930 (he was also knighted for services to British skiing and Anglo-Swiss relations in 1952) and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Frans Klammer, Konrad Bartelski, Alain Baxter and Hermann Maier feature among some of the well known recipients.
In 1995, the Ski Club launched the first ever wintersports website; www.skiclub.co.uk. Despite constantly increasing competition, it remains one of the leading skiing websites. Relaunched in 2000, the website was transformed from a ‘brochure’ website into a fully interactive site. Ski Club TV, the first dedicated snowsports internet TV channel, was launched in 2006.
Ski Club Insurance
The Ski Club of Great Britain has provided snowsports insurance for over 40 years. Insurance policies are designed by knowledgeable experts specifically for snowsports enthusiasts.
In 1905 the Ski Club began publishing the ‘British Ski Year book’. This provided a record of changes in equipment, clothes, facilities, ski techniques and holidays over the decades. In the 1970s the British Ski Year book became Ski survey. In 1997 Ski survey became Ski+board Magazine and was redesigned. Ski+board is published in September, October, December, February and March (this 5th issue is online only). There is also a summer version of the magazine, called Elevation.
The following persons have been editor-in-chief of the magazine:
- 2014-present: Colin Nicholson
- 2003-2014: Arnie Wilson
- 1974-1992: Elizabeth Hussey
- 1919-1974: Arnold Lunn
- Air Commodore Hugh Dowding (Later Air Chief Marshal The Lord Dowding) (1924–25)
- Sir Arnold Lunn (1928–30)
- Sir Claud Schuster GCB (later Lord Schuster) (1932–34)
- Sir Malcolm Eve GBE MC QC (1950)
- The Earl of Limerick (1974–81)
- Alan Blackshaw (1997-2003)
- Frank Gardner (journalist) (2011-)
- Ski Club of Great Britain - Official site