Gold Rush Style Skiers in Mammoth

A bit of California history came to life as an old time ski club from Plumas County came to Mammoth to re-enact ski races of the Gold Rush years.

With the International Ski History Association in town for a conference, the Plumas Ski Club brought their 14 foot long wooden skis and old time garb to show the origins of ski racing in the Sierra. Scott Lawson with the Plumas Ski Club says that ski racing in the western hemisphere actually started in Plumas County in the 1850s.

Lawson says that longboarding, as he calls it, is “not for the faint of heart.” He also said down hill competitive ski racing was born in Plumas County during the 1850’s. The world of ski races can trace their beginnings to Plumas County, according to Lawson.

Modern boots and skis have evolved over the years to make turning a ski easier and to allow better control. Thats not how the sport started out. Skiers strap themselves onto skis that are fourteen feet and longer, carrying a single pole that acts as a brake. While modern skiers link a series of graceful turns to get down the hill, the old timers would take a nip or three off a flask and bomb straight down the hill.

The old time racers hit the slopes this week to show off their craft. Lawson himself says that he doesnt long board anymore because he broke one of his homemade skis, and in regard to his own health, he hasnt replaced it.

There are tricks to every sport, and were sure there are tricks to this one, but as one skier put it, you cant do a lot but go down and pray.

You can learn more about the Plumas Ski Club at their website

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