From Skisport to Skiing: One Hundred Years of an American Sport, 1840-1940

Univ of Massachusetts Press
Free sample

The first full-length study of skiing in the United States, this book traces the history of the sport from its utilitarian origins to its advent as a purely recreational and competitive activity.

During the mid-1800s, inhabitants of frontier mining communities in the Sierra and Rocky mountains used skis for many practical reasons, including mail and supply delivery, hunting, and railroad repair. In some towns skis were so common that, according to one California newspaper, "the ladies do nearly all their shopping and visiting on them."

But it was Norwegian immigrants in the Midwest, clinging to their homeland traditions, who first organized the skisport. Through the founding of local clubs and the National Ski Association, this ethnic group dominated American skiing until the 1930s.

At this time, a wave of German immigrants infused America with the ethos of what we today call Alpine skiing. This type of skiing became increasingly popular, especially in the East among wealthy collegians committed to the romantic pursuit of the "strenuous life." Ski clubs proliferated in towns and on college campuses and specialized resorts cropped up from New England to California. At the same time, skiing became mechanized with tows and lifts, and the blossoming equipment and fashion industries made a business of the sport.

On the eve of World War II, as the book concludes its story, all the elements were in place for the explosion in recreational and competitive skiing that erupted after 1945.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

E. John B. Allen is professor of history at Plymouth State College.

Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of Massachusetts Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Aug 31, 1996
Read more
Collapse
Pages
248
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781558490475
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best For
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Sports & Recreation / Skiing
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
“Great sports writing. . . . [Vinton] is taking us inside a world few ever visit.”—James Hill, Washington Post

Harnessing nature’s most powerful forces, elite downhillers descend icy, rugged slopes at speeds cresting 90 miles per hour. For decades, American skiers struggled to match their European counterparts, and until this century the US Ski Team could not claim a lasting foothold on the roof of the Alps, where the sport’s legends are born.

Then came a fledgling class of American racers that disrupted the Alpine racing world order. Led by Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety, this band of iconoclasts made a place for their country on some of the world’s most prestigious race courses. Even as new technology amplified the sport’s inherent danger, the US Ski Team learned how to win, and they changed downhill racing forever.

The Fall Line is the story of how it all came together, a deeply reported reconstruction of ski racing’s most dramatic season. Drawing on more than a decade of research and candid interviews with some of the sport’s most elusive figures, award-winning journalist Nathaniel Vinton reveals the untold story of how skiers like Vonn and Miller, and their peers and rivals, fought for supremacy at the Olympic Winter Games.

Here is an authoritative portrait of a group of men and women taking mortal risks in a bid for sporting glory. A white-knuckled tour through skiing’s deep traditions and least-accessible locales, The Fall Line opens up the sexy, high-stakes world of downhill skiing—its career-ending crashes, million-dollar sponsorship deals, international intrigue, and showdowns with nature itself.

With views from the starting gate, the finish line, and treacherous turns in between, The Fall Line delivers the adrenaline of one of the world’s most beautiful and perilous sports alongside a panoramic view of skiing’s past, present, and future.

A comprehensive history of skiing from its earliest origins to the outbreak of World War II, this book traces the transformation of what for centuries remained an exclusively utilitarian practice into the exhilarating modern sport we know today. E. John B. Allen places particular emphasis on the impact of culture on the development of skiing, from the influence of Norwegian nationalism to the role of the military in countries as far removed as Austria, India, and Japan. Although the focus is on Europe, Allen's analysis ranges all over the snow-covered world, from Algeria to China to Zakopane. He also discusses the participation of women and children in what for much of its history remained a male-dominated sport.

Of all the individuals who contributed to the modernization of skiing before World War II, Allen identifies three who were especially influential: Fridtjof Nansen of Norway, whose explorations on skis paradoxically inspired the idea of skiing as sport; Arnold Lunn of England, whose invention of downhill skiing and the slalom were foundations of the sport's globalization; and Hannes Schneider, whose teachings introduced both speed and safety into the sport.

Underscoring the extent to which ancient ways persisted despite modernization, the book ends with the Russo-Finnish War, a conflict in which the Finns, using equipment that would have been familiar a thousand years before, were able to maneuver in snow that had brought the mechanized Soviet army to a halt.

More than fifty images not only illustrate this rich history but provide further opportunity for analysis of its cultural significance.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.