THE EARLY DAYS BY ALBERT HATTERSLEY
We were very fortunate in the late 40’s and 50’s/60’s because winters were usually very snowy. Our equipment was very basic; the skis were usually government surplus ex-army skis, solid hard wood, no metal edges and very poorly designed bindings; once you were in the binding you stayed in them, no safety aspect at all. Our ski sticks were lengths of cane with cane baskets the size of dinner plates on the end. The boots we wore in the beginning were our climbing boots with a groove cut into the heel to allow the strap of the binding to hold. Later we were able to buy leather ski boots. As time went on, interest in skiing grew; the first ski tow that I remember in the area was a farmer’s tractor jacked up off the ground and the wheel of the tractor was used as the driving power for the tow rope. A couple of years later a proper ski tow appeared. A group of skiing enthusiasts approached an engineering friend and asked if he could convert a mini car engine to a ski tow, which he did. In payment for his work we, the group, laid a new concrete drive at his home.
The interest in skiing in our area grew and grew, most of the local skiing was done at Ringinglow or on the Snake Pass. One day a few skiers were talking in Tanky’s ski and climbing shop in High Court, and discussed the possibility of forming a ski club.
A small group met in the basement of Tanky’s shop and decided to go ahead with the idea; it was advertised in the shop and a few other people turned up at a meeting at the West End Hotel. Naturally we wanted the club to be called The Sheffield Ski Club, but a certain person stated that he had already formed The Sheffield Ski Club although it appeared to be memberless. However, as this first official meeting was in the borough of Hallam, we should call the club The Hallamshire Ski Club. Shortly after it’s formation all our social meetings were held at various venues but for a long time at the Norfolk Arms at Ringinglow.
In the following years , the committee, on behalf of the club arranged regular bus trips to the Cairngorms mostly organised by Dennis Coath. We would be picked up on Friday evening, stay in a hotel in Kingussie, the bus would then take us up to the slopes throughout the weekend and arrive back in Sheffield at around 4/5am Monday morning if we were lucky and the bus didn't break down as it frequently did, either on the outward or return journey.
Another ski tow arrived on the scene – it was bought by Bryan Stokes (Tanky) and was portable which enable it to be used in many parts of Derbyshire mainly up the snake pass, when the snow had gone from Ringinglow. The mini ski tow was later donated to the Hallamshire Ski Club where it remained at Ringinglow for many years, in fact, it was only dismantled in December 2008.
Due to the devotion of the committee and members, the Hallamshire Ski Club is now a most successful club.