The rising popularity of skiing at the start of the 20th century is often credited to the Austrian ski pioneer and founder of the modern Alpine downhill skiing technque, Mathias Zdarsky. Willi Rickmer Rickmers (1873-1965), who was one of Zdarsky’s disciples and a rugged mountaineer in his own right, helped to further publicize and spread the sport of skiing beyond Austria through various books and publications. Along with his wife, Mabel, who was also a trained mountaineer, Rickmers published this 1910 book, Ski-ing for Beginners & Mountaineers, to popularize the sport of skiing and mountaineering together. The book is certainly interesting for it’s early photographic illustrations, graphics, and descriptions on the latest skiing techniques and equipment, but it also contains a fascinating chapter on women and skiing. This chapter, contributed by his wife, makes a clear claim for women’s participation in the sport and questions whether any disadvantages exist.
“Ski-running is one of the sports to which
women have been admitted without controversy.
There may be differences of opinion as to
whether women should jump, but their right to
tour on ski has never been questioned. …
Her right to ski being thus unchallenged, there
remains the question as to how far her sex
handicaps a woman or modifies her success in
ski-running. All the arguments in favour of touring for
men apply equally to women. As a healthful,
invigorating sport, strengthening nerve and
muscle, it is hard to beat. Nor is woman physically
at so great a disadvantage compared with man
in this sport as in many others, for here
pre-eminently it is knack and skill rather than
muscular effort that eventually go to the making
of a proficient ski-runner.”
- Rickmers, Willi Rickmer. Ski-ing for beginners and mountaineers.
- New York : C. Scribner’s Sons ; London : T. Fisher Unwin, .
- Persistent Link:
- Widener Library
- Harvard University