Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club (1861)

World's first alpine ski club

Many ski clubs make the claim of being the first recreational alpine ski club. Until now, no club including the Kiandra Snow Shoe Club or the Trysil ski club has been able to substantiate the above claim with original documentation of ski club formation. (Due to many reasons including fires.)

During the 1960's early 70's the Guinness book of Records accepted the Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club as the first ski club in the world. Then America claimed that a club substantiated by newspaper reports was formed in 1861.
The Holmenkollen Ski Museum declared that no recreational ski club existed before "Trysil Skytte-og Skiloberforening" decreeing it would only recognise other recreational social ski clubs complying with the three major requirements of leading encyclopaedia and dictionaries. (Holmenkollen Museum)
That being :-
(a) It must name a group of members (a group being more than a pair).
(b) The named group could demonstrate organisation over a continuing period.
(c) The named group could demonstrate participation for a singular common purpose.
Example - Skiing.
Australia and America were obliged to withdraw all claims, as they could not meet the requirements.

Skis were commonly known as snow shoes at that time.

The Centenary of Australian Alpine Skiing was held at Kiandra, NSW in July 1961.


In 1928, the Kiandra Snow Shoe / Ski Club demonstrated that it had been founded some time earlier than 1870, hence the previous club name "Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club 1870".

In 2005, the Kiandra club was able to establish its standing as the world’s first identifiable alpine ski club, by meeting all requirements needed to determine that the club existed before the first 1861 carnival.

As a result, in 2006 the Holmenkollen Ski Museum in Norway, confirmed that two ski clubs were formed by Norwegians in 1861, both in Norway and Australia. The Australian club held a carnival in August 1861, the Norwegian club first skied in January 1862.

May 2011, the International Ski Federation, officially confirms that the first alpine skiing club was formed in Australia.

FIS Newsflash 29/06/2011
2011 is an historic year for Australian skiing, and the 150-year milestone is being celebrated across the nation's ski fields by many organisations. These include Ski Resort Operators, Historical Societies, Museums, Snow Australia videos, snow sport groups, national and local newspapers and ski clubs.
In 1961, very successful and colourful centenary celebrations were conducted but clouded by doubt and scepticism by much of the population. This year's anniversary is free of any previous negativity.
2006 saw the Holmenkollen Ski Museum of Norway confirming that in 1861 the world's first ski clubs were formed in both Norway and Australia.
In 2011 FIS joins the congratulations for this important Australian anniversary, together for Kiandra's inaugural position in alpine skiing in the world.

FIS Viessman world cup news, 7/7/2011.
150 years of skiing down under,
2011 is an historic year for Australian skiing, and the 150-year milestone is being celebrated across the nation's ski fields by many organisations.

The Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club sincerely thanks the FIS for it’s recent acknowledgments.

From 1861 Kiandra ski carnivals were held for resident and surrounding district members.
Sydney skiers were attracted to the Kiandra competitions. (circa 1883)

As early as 1885 the “Kiandra Snow Shoe Club” was naming both ladies and children ski race winners.
It is believed that, Barbara Yan was the first identifiable woman to win a documented Downhill Skiing Championship she also won the ladies downhill in 1887, the year her siblings won the girls under 8 section and second in the under 12's.
Ref. Manaro Mercury, Cooma & Bombala Advertiser -10th August, 1887.

In 1908 the club held the first ever documented International and Intercontinental Downhill Skiing Carnival.
America,1st.     Australia, 2nd.     England, 3rd.
Ref. The Melbourne Argus, 6th July,


A decade before the first International Ski Carnival was conducted, the Consul General of Norway and Sweden, Mr. C. A. Falstadt held the position of Club President, with Vice Presidents, (Australian poet), Andrew "Banjo" Paterson and NSW Premier, Sir. William Lyne.
The Patron was Sir. William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp KG, KCMG, PC, Governor of NSW.*
* Ref. NSW Advertiser 16/7/1898 -- Sydney Referee 17/8/1898



The club, now known as the "Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club (1861)",   is today located in the Australian Snowy Mountains
at Perisher Valley, NSW.

Return to Norman W Clarke index