Trail Skiers, Gatineau, Quebec, c. 1920.
A group of Trail Skiers in the National Capital Region, Gatineau, Quebec. Canada’s vast snow-covered landscapes provide endless opportunities to participate in one of the nation’s most popular pastimes, touring on skis. A resurgence of interest in skiing followed the end of the First World War in 1918. Unlike the years preceding the conflict when the primary interest of the Ottawa Ski Club was ski jumping supported by a limited number of devotees, the new emphasis was on ski touring, an activity far easier to learn and having far broader appeal. At this time, however, the Ottawa Ski Club languished. It was quickly recognized that only a re-constitution of the organization, completed in 1919, would provide the people and material resources essential to satisfying the need to expand the existing trail system. Almost immediately, the officers of the OSC devoted considerable time to surveying new trails within the city boundaries and throughout the Gatineau and by 1920 the emerging system covered over 31 kms. Trail skiing continued as the dominant form of winter activity in the Gatineau throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s even though newer trends and techniques were emerging from alpine Europe: the Arlberg Technique, ski tows, downhill and slalom racing in particular. It would be some time before these trends were fully exploited in the Ottawa region deterred by a heavily forested landscape and the absence of open slopes, c. 1920.