The First Man Who Tried to Ski in the Czech Lands

Believe it or not, the history of Czech skiing started in Prague, right in the center of the city exactly 135 years ago today.

On January 5, 1887 skiing fan Josef Rössler-Ořovský used Prague’s Wenceslas Square, with a fairly friendly incline, as the first Czech ski run. Back then, winters were considerably tougher and snowfall more intense to be able to accomplish the feat.

Afterward, skiing as a sport began to draw greater interest from the population. In the 20th century, after the fall of communism, foreign goods and sporting equipment became available for the first time in four decades, resulting in the modernization of ski equipment and ski resorts.


Josef Rössler-Ořovský

Josef Rössler-Ořovský

Josef Rössler-Ořovský (June 29, 1869, in Prague – January 17, 1933, in Prague) was a versatile Czech athlete and capable sports organizer.

He is still one of the greatest personalities in Czech sport. Josef was an outstanding rower and skier, he played football for the Parisian club White Rowers and the English Black Trials Fulham and he was the first Czech football referee.

He founded the Czech Ski-Club, the Czech Yacht Club, and the Czech Lawn Tennis Club. He shared in the founding of the Association of Skiers of the Bohemian Kingdom, the Association of Canoeists of the Bohemian Kingdom, and the Czech Yachting Association. And we could carry on.

In 1881, at a mere 12 years of age, he and several classmates established the skating club BZK Praha. He published the rules of bandy hockey in the Sportovni obzor in 1895. Later on, in 1895, the obzor reported the lineups from an inter-club hockey match played by BZK. The club was one of the most important early hockey teams in Bohemia.

He was also an excellent diplomat, speaking several languages, and it was mainly thanks to his efforts (along with Dr. Jiri Guth-Jarkovským ), that the Czech athletes participated in the Summer Olympics in 1912 in Stockholm as an independent country (Bohemia was part of Austria-Hungary at the time).

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