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The Wood, the Wax, and the Schussing

Ski equipment has changed considerably over the years. When Olaus Jeldness began racing down the slopes of Red Mountain in 1896, he did so using 10-foot (300 centimetres) long skis and a steering pole! Gradually, skis became shorter, steel edges were added, and manufacturers began to make ski boots out of plastic instead of leather.

Fifteen different sized skis leaning against a red wall, showing a progression of equipment over the decades, from wooden skis to plastic skis to fibreglass skis.

Skis, 1940s to 2000s.


Six ski boots in a diagonal row showing a progression of styles through the decades. The three pairs are made of leather and have laces, the next two pairs are made of leather and have buckles, and the last pair is made of plastic and has buckles.

Ski boots, 1940s to 2000s.


Hear how skiing technology and techniques changed over the years from the perspective of Rossland skiers. From the material skis and ski boots were made of, to waxing techniques, to ski sizing and shape, to the changes in ski technique – they’ve seen it all! (captions available in both EN and FR). View this video with a transcript (EN).

Booty Griffiths

Where local skiers could purchase ski equipment in Rossland also changed over time. In the early 1900s, the ski club initially ordered skis from Norway to get the best quality possible. Skiers could also purchase ski equipment from the Eaton’s department store in town. Eventually, by 1948, Rossland finally got a designated ski shop operated by Booty Griffiths.

Colour photograph of a man dressed as Olaus Jeldness and a dog in a parking lot.

Booty Griffiths

Griffiths was known for bringing sophisticated ski equipment to town and helping many budding skiers access the sport. His storefront moved locations because he would come to Rossland with his merchandise each winter and leave at the beginning of summer, only to repeat the next year.

Listen to stories about Booty Griffiths with the transcript: Memories of Booty Griffiths.