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Meet Erna Low, The Mother of The European Ski Trip

But it wasn’t easy. Specially designed ski clothes weren’t sold in shops back then either, and ski lifts were still rare.

On Erna’s early trips, Horses were loaded up to carry skis uphill. And there were no ski boots, either, only leather lace-up boots that had to be strapped to wooden skis. Still, that first trip to Austria, on which five men accompanied Low (plus a chaperone for respectability), was a great success.

During the Second World War, when recreational travel to Europe became impossible, Low turned her attention to offering house parties in the United Kingdom. She would rent large country homes and throw parties for paying guests. 

When she returned to the slopes after the war, Low took that idea forward, too, and swapped country houses for mountain chalets. Although the communal style of chalet trips are synonymous with ski vacations today, they were unheard of before she popularized them.

Before Low’s influence, ski holidays had only been available to wealthy travelers.

Hotels were expensive, no matter how much Low tried to keep costs down. But chalet trips opened up the world of the ski holiday to people who could never afford it before, particularly for the European vacation market.