As the skiing season winds down, our local Timmins history feature spends a couple weeks examining the important roles both cross-country and downhill play in our past. This week: Cross country.
Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says early in the days of the mining camp, it wasn’t necessarily a leisure activity. It was also a mode of transportation.
“It was the easiest way to move from South Porcupine to Timmins sometimes was to just get your skis and let’s go and do a little cross-country,” she explains.
Bachmann attributes that to the European – and especially the Finnish influence. She says the museum has a large collection of skis they handcrafted.
The transition to strictly a leisure activity began in the 1920s. Bachmann says winter carnivals of featured competitions with skiers vying for big trophies. It really grew in the late 1950s and early 60s, particularly for the city’s Golden Jubilee in 1962.
“Lorne Luhta, who’s still involved with skiing,” she relates, “was a winner in that Jubilee competition in the under-17 category, and was an exceptional skier.”
Next week, we move from the trails to the slopes, and even a ski jump.