History relates that a type of skibob was used by postmen and bakers in European mountain villages (Austria / Germany) during the early 20th century to help deliver “the goods”!
They would push their wares up to the top of the `dorf`, loaded in panniers onto their `contraption`, before scooting down the high street, happily delivering as they went !
An Austrian family named Brenter, based in Hallein, nr Salzburg, Austria, started to `cold form` wooden laminated skibob frames fitted to cut-down, specially adapted wooden skis after the Second World War to enable the war-wounded conventional skiers to enjoy the alpine runs, having been disabled during that conflict.
During the Easter holidays of 1962, I, David Spry, together with Messrs Hannaford and Wightman, holidayed in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, with the Stoll family. Their daughter, Uschi Stoll, then European Ladies Skibob Champion, acted as our most attractive instructor in what was for us the new art of alpine disciplines !!
Following my departure from North Devon, in the summer 1963, I `read` a foreigner`s course of French at Grenoble University before studying at the University of Munich, Germany a mere two hours `down the road from Berchtesgaden.
The Brenter brothers, Erich and Willi, together with Uschi Stoll, were travelling the winter skibob racing circuit and all at the top of their chosen winter sport European Champions! They suggested that if I wanted to see anything of Frl. Stoll, they had better train me to become the first known Brit to compete in this then fast growing sport!
I returned to the UK to commence my apprenticeship in the city- based Spry family firm, October, 1965.
However, in 1967 I received a letter from the Ministry of Sport, Austria Government, noting that I was the only British Registered Competition skibobber and would I consider raising a national team of three men and one lady for the forthcoming 1st World Skibob Championships to be held in Bad Hofgastein, Austria, March 1967.
I cobbled together three UK chums who were `into skiing` and whom I had met abroad thus the first British Skibob Team was founded; we competed in that premier event and were by no means last down the mountain !
Flushed with enthusiasm, the SAGB was established whereupon we were affiliated to the Federation International de Skibob (FISB); it is to be noted that last year we have just achieved our 50th anniversary,
During the 1970`s the British Army recognised the sport as an `official` activity, the British Team benefiting from the resources and manpower that was on offer. The Ford Motor Company were generous sponsors, providing vehicles for three months of every year throughout the 1970`s and 1980`s.
Whilst not gaining a first place in either the Mens or Ladies classes in our active years, team members regularly finished in the top twenty places within fields of sixty / seventy competitors. The racing calendar took us all over Europe and the USA.
I captained the British team from 1967 – 1977.
The SAGB continues to flourish and is always on the look-out for new members and potential racers.!!
Further information can be found on the SAGB website https://skibikeassociation.org or by contacting me through the OWBA office
David Spry (58-63C)