DE CE SCHIEZ?
Because our work in the daily routine and in the cities, in factories and in offices has become prosaic, atomizing, and devoid of adventure—because we live faster and must demonstrate greater resistance—because we do not wish to age, but rather wish to remain young, fresh, and slender—because we are anxious and know that only new thrills and new visions can rejuvenate us. . . . Spring, summer, and fall, the former seasons of relaxation, no longer suffice for us. . . . We have also discovered the winter, the most alien to us of all manifestations of nature, thus for us nature in its most modern and most youthful form. . . . The ski entered into the world . . . to allow men to flee excessive snow and cold. Today, however, skiing is also flight, but flight from the metropolis [in search of] all remote winter environments. . . . Fortune is with the skis, because they overcome the awkwardness of urbanites estranged from nature and have so far evaded natural [limits upon] speed that they make man and speed consubstantial.
Carl Luther, 1932
“In the past, the snow was an imprisonment for weeks. It represented a reduction of liberty. . . . Thus, people shut themselves away. Immobilized, in airless rooms, the villagers became sensitive to the cold. They endeavored to fill the cracks through which pure air from outside could enter. Sedentary, breathing contaminated air, [they] led a life that smelled musty, analogous, in certain remote villages, to [hibernation]. A weakened life, which made the blood anemic [and] aggravated nervous conditions. The boredom of an unhealthy and reclusive life incited alcoholism.” Skis, however, “transformed local life[,] . . . exorcis[ing] the evil spirits of the snow. The ski is liberating. It afforded an enormous extension of liberty to the mountain dwellers . . . and has more importance for the future of the [Chamonix] valley than thirty ministerial changes.”