Women Ski Competitors
After some considerable time, women skiers are coming into their own in the ski world. It was not until the last four years that ladies have been officially recognized in our Dominion Championships, but now, through the kindness of the donor o[ the Holt-Wilson trophy, Canadian girls have a National Championships title to compete for.
It is encouraging to Western girls that this .trophy has twice been won in the West; once by Peggy Mobraaten and once by Gertie Wepsala, and we are very glad that, this year, Gertie will be travelling East to defend her title. This will give us a splendid opportunity of comparing the standard of the Eastern girls with that of the Western as, previously, the Championship Meet has not really been representative of both East and West.
I believe that our girls have improved very quickly in slalom and downhill the past few years, as is evidenced from results of competitions they have entered across the line, where our American girls were considerably advanced in this branch of the sport long before we knew much about it. I feel that I must mention, however, the very fine performance of Grace Lindley, (then Grace Carter), at Banff two years ago. Those who were there, I am sure, will never forget her beautiful technique. especially will they remember the way she performed on the slalom course after two of the Pacific Northwest's best men skiers had missed flags on the same course, when opening it for the girls. I understand that she is greatly improved since that time, which seems almost impossible to imagine. It is to be hoped that some of our girls will have the opportunity to again compete with her this year.
Wouldn't we just love to have seen Christl Cranz, the German miss, who won the Olympic slalom title [in 1936], and also the combined. I am told that she compared very favourably in technique and speed with the best men. The ladies' slalom course in the Olympics was 400 meters long with 30 sets of flags. The winner's time was 72 seconds in her first run and 70 second in her second, which gives a fairly good idea of her performance.
Evidently, Laila Scouh Nilsen, the Norwegian girl, who won the Olympic downhill title, was quite a sensation also. She had been training to enter the speed skating races in the Olympics and when it was decided there would be no women's speed skating, she decided to do the next best thing, and enter the ski-ing, so that it was really quite an accomplishment to win, considering that skating was really her specialty. I am not sure of the length of the ladies' downhill, but the time was 5 minutes 4-4/10 seconds, so that it was plenty long.
While we may not be a Laila Seouh Nilsen or a Christl Cranz, we can, at any rate, derive a great deal of pleasure, and can improve our ski·ing greatly by learning to ski properly. A very good example of controlled ski-ing was evidenced last winter, when we saw little Maisie Ewart and Ethel lrwin perform at Princeton. Although neither of them had ever skied the whole downhill course until the race, neither one took a [all in the tournament. In fact, they were the only girl competitors who rode the whole downhill course without a spill. They have been properly taught by Ethel's brother, Bert, to always ski under control, and we all know that in a few years, with a little more speed added to this perfect control that these youngsters have, they are bound to be real champions. We could all take a very good lesson from them.
Start ski-ing by getting proper instruction. If you haven't a professional instructor on your mountain, or you cannot afford to pay for lessons, there is always a good skier in your club who is only too willing to start you out the right way. lf you learn to turn properly, then you are all set-whether you only want to ski for pleasure or whether you want to be a champion. lf you can turn properly, there practically no slope that you cannot master - and remember, Canadian girls are fast improving their ski·ing. Got out and practise and keep up with the times!