80TH ANNIVERSARY TALK ON SCHNEIDER'S ARRIVAL IN NORTH CONWAY, N.H.
CONWAY — Local ski writer/ski historian/author Tom Eastman of the Conway Daily Sun is to present a talk Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Meister Hut at the summit of Cranmore Mountain Resort on the 80th anniversary of the arrival of Austrian Skimeister Hannes Schneider (1890-1955).
Eastman — author of the book, "The History of Cranmore Mountain," published in 2013 by The history Press — will discuss how Feb. 11, 1939 was an auspicious day in the history of Mount Washington Valley, as that was the day that Schneider and his family arrived in North Conway to begin teaching skiing at Cranmore.
Schneider had founded the world's first ski school in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria in 1907 and then after WW I, expanded that concept, teaching his Arlberg teaching method which emphasized speed and control through a progression of turns: snowplow, stem and parallel using a crouched method.
He had been jailed by the Nazis after the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria) of March 1938 and later placed under house arrest. North Conway native son/Cranmore developer and international financier Harvey D. Gibson (1882-1950) used his influence to obtain Schneider's release and brought him to North Conway — as immortalized in that famous photo of the Schneiders' arrival at the North Conway Train Station, where they were greeted by townspeople and children of the Eastern Slope Ski program, who formed an archway of ski poles for the Skimeister and wife Ludwina and children Herbert and Herta to pass under.
Gibson had bought the ski schools at Jackson and Cranmore from early ski school and ski shop pioneer Carroll P. Reed and under Schneider's direction, the ski business of the Eastern Slope Region (as the valley was then known) boomed.
Following Hannes' death, Herbert took over management of the ski school, and later purchased the resort with partners in 1963, running the area as general manager through its sale in 1984. Herbert remained an ambassador for the sport, and presided over the New England Ski Museum's annual Schneider Meister Cup. This year's Meister Cup is set for March 1-3.
The event is being held in conjunction with a Ski with the General Manager session with Cranmore General Manager and President Ben Wilcox. For further information, call Cranmore Mountain Resort at (603) 356-5544 or go to cranmore.com.