Skiing in Snow and on Grass for Lethbridge

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Winter in Canada is a peak season for skiers and snowboarders. The Galt’s collection of skiing materials contains several unique items of ski history in Lethbridge.

We have a pair of ski skins made from canvas backed animal skins with fur intact. The skins may be seal skins. There are loops and straps stitched to the canvas backing for holding the skin to the ski. The historical notes accompanying the listing on the Galt’s online database notes that these ski skins were used by the donor’s family during the 1940s, primarily for skiing around adjacent farmlands and coulees. The skins were used on slopes to allow forward movement but the fur prevents backward slipping.

While most ski families wait for snow to get out and practice their sweet skills, some found a way to ski beyond the winter. A rather unique set of skis in our collections are a pair of grass skis. These skis belonged to David McCleary, who purchased them in 1978 or 1979 so that he could ski when there was no snow on the ground. The donor, Cecile McCleary said in an interview about the donation with Collections Assistant Ruthann LaBlance, “You’d ski them like on hills, like on the sugar bowl, or you’d take them to the farm, and there were big hills there, and he’d ride down on the grass. There’s a track on them.”

With the last day of school upon us and some families looking toward the ski slopes, why not join the Fort Whoop-Up for a free admission old-fashioned Christmas. Drive, ski or snowshoe your families over to Fort Whoop-up from 1–4 pm on Fri DEC 21. Admission is free and visitors can enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, themed crafts, and more.

Your old photos, documents, and artifacts might have historical value. Please contact Galt Museum & Archives for advice before destroying them.