Nostalgia: Winter wonderland

Three girls sledging on the Braid Hills in Edinburgh, November 1964.
Three girls sledging on the Braid Hills in Edinburgh, November 1964.
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WHILE forecasters had predicted another white Christmas for the Capital, it has been more wet and wild than winter wonderland.

Most residents will be grateful to have avoided the kind of delays and disturbances that inevitably follow the seasonal snow showers, but for plenty of people an absence of chilly white powder will have been a distinct disappointment, taking away the chance to enjoy some traditional winter sports.

Skier jumping on the Braid Hills in Edinburgh - Arne Hoel who is a Norwegian Champion

Skier jumping on the Braid Hills in Edinburgh - Arne Hoel who is a Norwegian Champion

In years gone by the Capital has been a haven for every kind of snowsport, from sledging down the slopes of Arthur’s Seat to ski jumping in the Braid Hills.

It’s hard to imagine these days, with ski jumps generally only found in the chillier climes of Europe, but back in 1951 the Capital was the place to be for the men and women on long skis. And these fearless souls made quite the spectacle as they flew off the specially constructed ramp at the Braid Hills, with even the great Norwegian champion Arne Hoel coming across to try his luck on the makeshift jump, cheered on by an eager crowd of spectators.

Of course, it wasn’t all outdoors when it came to skiing – the Pleasance Boys Club featured a very innovative ski set-up in 1953 when it invited in local ladies to try out the sport as part of a six-week dry ski training course organised by the Central Council of Physical 
Recreation.

But for most youngsters the only real winter sport was sledging, and in 1964 and 1965 the Capital saw a blizzard bring out the thrill-seeking kids from across the city.

Again the Braid Hills was the focus of much of the attention, but the slopes of Arthur’s Seat, covered in a thick blanket of snow, made too enticing a prospect for dozens of families, and kids were also racing each other down the slopes of Corstorphine Hill.