Skiing is one of the most popular sports in Europe. Every year, hundreds of thousands of skiers flock to the various resorts located within the continent. Because of the rich history of the sport, museums have been built to preserve the things that have turned skiing into what it is today. These museums which pay homage to the people, events, and institutions that helped shape the sport can be found all over Europe.
The Holmenkollen Ski Museum in Oslo, Norway
Founded in 1923, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum is considered the oldest ski museum in the world. It has one of the most extensive collections of skiing-related artifacts that number thousands. Some of these objects date back over 4,000 years. Among the most popular items in the museum's collection are the rock carvings from the Stone Age that show skiers and their skis. They have thousands of photos documenting the evolution of the sport. Also included in the collections are skis used by the well-known explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen.
The Museum of St. Anton in Austria
Located at a renowned winter sport resort in Austria, this museum gives the visitor an interesting insight into the rich history of St. Anton am Arlberg and its rise as one of the most popular ski destinations in the country. St. Anton used to be a sleepy old town but when the Arlberg railway was built by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1884, it became a magnet for tourists and adventurers. Leading up to the 20th century, St. Anton was mainly an agricultural town. But with the arrival of more people wishing to ski down its pristine slopes, the town soon turned into a tourism center. The museum pays homage to legendary skiers like Rudolf Gomperz and Hannes Schneider. Vintage skis used by local champions like Mario Matt and Karl Schranz are also exhibited in the museum. Not only that, the museum also has a collection of scenes and special exhibits dedicated to ski movies from the 1920s and 1930s.
The Musee du Ski (Ski Museum) in France
Situated in the city of Les Rousses, this ski museum contains some of the best collections of well-preserved skiing equipment. Some of the pairs of skis in the museum's exhibits date back as far as 1850. With that said, if you really want to find out how people skied a century ago, then this is the place to go. The museum also has collections of various skiing-related items such as snowboards, bobsleds, sleds, and other sports equipment used during winter sports tournaments in the distant past. The museum also clearly shows the evolution of skis from simple wooden contraptions to ones made from modern materials. Simply put, this museum has a collection of historic artifacts that can't be found anywhere else.
The Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern, Switzerland
This museum may not be specifically dedicated to the winter sport of skiing but it has a substantial amount of artifacts that are very relevant to the sport. A lot of the museum's collection of 160,000 photographs, 180 paintings, 20,000 objects and 600 prints are about skiing. This is not surprising at all given the fact that Switzerland is one of the best countries in the world for skiing. With that said, the country's history is interconnected with winter sports.
The Trzic Ski Museum in Slovenia
This is the first skiing museum to be established in Slovenia. It was inaugurated in April 2014 and houses a collection of over 100 objects. About half of these items are skis from different generations. Some are from the end of the 19th century but skiing in Slovenia dates back to the 17th century.