New England Ski Museum Opens North Conway Exhibit

By AlpineZone News |
Dec 22 2008 - 02:16 PM

FRANCONIA NOTCH, New Hampshire — New England Ski Museum has opened a satellite exhibition in North Conway, NH, fittingly enough in the building that once housed the Carroll Reed Ski Shop. The entrance to the exhibit space, on the lower level of the Shops at Norcross Place, is marked by the prominent ski pole signpost at the corner of Kearsarge Street and White Mountain Highway. The shop’s founder, Carroll Reed, was also a founder of the modern era of skiing in the region and a pioneer in ski-related retailing. The exhibition occupies the space that was once Reed’s office.

The Museum’s intention is to use the space to display exhibits that illustrate aspects of the rich history of skiing in New England. At present the exhibition is Hannes Schneider, Skimeister, which details the life of the Austrian who devised systems of ski technique and ski instruction in his native Arlberg region, then moved to North Conway in the ominous years before World War II. The exhibition was prepared by Christof Th?В¶ny of the Klostertal Museum in Schneider’s birth region near Stuben, Austria.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Schneider’s February 1939 arrival in North Conway, and a joint event on January 10, 2009 by the Conway Scenic Railroad and Cranmore Mountain Resort will stage a reenactment of the Schneider family’s entrance into the Eastern Slope Region, as it was then called. Immediately following the 11:45 AM reenactment at the North Conway train station, members of the Schneider family will be available in the Museum’s location to meet the public and comment on the exhibition. Light refreshments will be served.

The Museum’s space also features a collection of skis assembled by J. Arthur Doucette of Jackson, New Hampshire. He was one of the North Conway hockey players selected by Benno Rybizka to be assistant instructors in the American Branch of the Hannes Schneider Ski School in Jackson in the winter of 1936-37. After serving in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, Doucette made a career of skiing, and ran his own ski school at Black Mountain for many years. Doucette’s collection of skis, from the ridgetop wooden skis of the 1930s to the fiberglass models of the 1980s, provides a good representation of the evolution of the modern Alpine ski, and also indicates the span of his skiing career. In the late 1940s, Doucette served as a tester for Howard Head’s new metal ski designs, and several of Head’s earliest??”and most fragile??”skis are shown in the exhibit.

For the time being, the Museum’s North Conway branch will be an unstaffed exhibit in which visitors are welcome to browse. The lower level of the Shops at Norcross Place is open from roughly 10 AM to 5 PM daily. A selection of Museum publications are available to the taking, notably the Museum Shop Catalog, and issues of the Journal of the New England Ski Museum, which features in-depth articles on ski history topics like the ???lost’ ski areas of New England, the ski trails in the region cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps in an earlier national economic crisis, and the National Ski Patrol.

About the New England Ski Museum

Located in Franconia Notch next to the Cannon Mountain Tramway, NH, the New England Ski Museum is a non-profit, member-supported museum dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting aspects of ski history. The Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM seven days a week from Memorial Day through the end of March. Admission is free. The Museum also maintains satellite exhibits at the Shops at Norcross Place in downtown North Conway, NH and at Bretton Woods Mountain Resort. For more information call 800-639-4181 or visit