Temporary exhibition

The Easy Way Down

The Story of Skiing Instruction in Canada

Le ski s’apprend - Histoire de l’enseignement du ski au Canada

Summary of the exhibition

Today most people on skis for the first time would not dare to plunge recklessly down a mountain as suggested by the motto of the Montreal Ski Club: “Man, woman, boy and girl of Montreal, out on your skis – or in your grave!”.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first disciples of the sport of skiing learned to ski hard way, more often than not by failing, each fall more spectacular than the last. It quickly became clear that skiers – whether competing athletes or simple amateurs – had to be taught properly. Thus, at the beginning of the century, qualified coaches from Europe were invited to Quebec to teach skiing techniques. As the years passed, clubs and associations were formed, magazines and manuals were published, training courses for coaches and instructors were written, and equipment technology evolved, all factors that contributed to the rapod growth of the sport at both the recreational and competitive levels.

Many local and national organizations were established. In 1920, the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) was founded with the mandate to regulate the practice of skiing. The Canadian Ski School (CSS) was founded in 1938, evolving into the Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance (CSIA) by 1949. CSIA has worked constantly to improve skiing instruction by ensuring a cohesive teaching method, by establishing ski schools and by training qualified coaches and ski instructors. In 1976, the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF) was incorporated and dedicated its efforts to training racing coaches.
These two associations now served the needs of skiers, one teaching basic techniques and the other helping athletes improve their performance. Finally, in 1977, the Canadian Ski Council (CSC) came to oversee the practice and development of skiing in Canada.

As we celebrate the 70thanniversary of the Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance, we invite you to this exhibition highlighting the history of skiing instruction around Montreal and in the Laurentians. Let us show you the way down!


Special thanks to our donors and contributors

René Bauset, Cécile Beauchamp Cousineau, Denise Charrette, Louis Cochand, Rhoda Wurtele Eaves, Chris Gribbin, Théodule Hiot, Barbara Houghton, Maryse Lanctôt, Oswald Lingat, Berger Nymark, David Rivard, Heidi Sergent.

Many thanks to our partners

  • Canadian Skin Instructor’s Alliance
  • Centre local d’Emploi Sainte-Adèle (CLE)
  • Château Beauvallon
  • Conseil régional des élis des Laurentides (CRÉ)
  • Groupe de recherche sur l’éducation et les musées (GREM)
  • Laboratoire de muséologie et d’ingénierie de la culture (LAMIC)
  • Ministère de la Culture, des communications et de la condition féminine du Québec
  • Mont-Saint-Sauveur-International (MSSI)
  • MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut
  • Municipalité de Saint-Sauveur
  • Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Pays-d’en-Haut
  • Municipalité de Saint-Sauveur
  • Young Canada Works (Canadian Heritage)

Credits and acknowledgements

Project Director
Denis Chabot

Exhibition Curator
Soraya Bassil

Advisory Committee
René Bauset,
Bernard  Brazeau,
Chris Gribbin

Planning and Editing Assistance
Michel Allard

Set up and Technical Preparation Assistance
Valérie Doucet,
Sarah Laliberté

Educational Program
Heloïse Allard

Reproduction Rights and Coordination Assistance
Sophie Couture-Samson

Organizing Committee
Maureen Borne, Committee Chairman, Member of the Board, Laurentian Ski Museum
Jeannie Bruneau, Member of the Board, Laurentian Ski Museum
Gilbert Gratton, President, Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance
Greg Harmon, Member of the Board, Laurentian Ski Museum
Jean Normandeau, Communication and Marketing Agent
Robert Shelso, Member of the Board, Laurentian Ski Museum
Pierre Urquhart, Member of the Board, Laurentian Ski Museum

Planning and Coordination Assistance

Editing and Proof Reading
Denis Doré,
Lorraine Longtin,
Wendy McPeake,
Guy Thibaudeau,
John Willis

Serge Pilon

Grafic Design
Diane Urbain,
Coquelicot Design

Sculpture Design and Creation
Jean-Marcel Dumontier, Sculptor,
Louis Pelletier, Cabinetmaker

Visual and Sound Editing
Pierre McNeil FILMS 8MM

Lighting Design
Dominic Legault, Audio L