Western women have been involved in skiing both competitively and socially. Women were involved with Western’s ski club activities as early as 1939. It was also an unofficial intercollegiate sport in 1939, but by the end of the decade interest had declined in the league.
There continued to be hope at Western for intercollegiate competition in the 1950s as the sport was popular, with sixty skiers in 1958. In the 1960s, both alpine (downhill) and nordic (cross-country) skiing were invitational sports for women.
Women also continued to be included in the ski club with growing positions in the executive. As part of the Western Alpine Skiing Club, they took trips to many places in Canada and the United States such as Whistler, Colorado, Lake Tahoe, and Vermont.
Skiing grew in the 1970s, with alpine skiing gaining a competitive circuit and nordic skiing acquiring B sanction sport status. Women’s alpine skiiers won the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association championships in 1971-72, 1974-75, 1975-76, and 1978-79, and the nordic skiiers won in 1971-72, 1974-75 and 1975-76.
Shown is the 1985-86 nordic ski team with coach Jerry Gonser.
The nordic skiing coach in the 1980s was Jerry Gonser. The alpine team was still run by students, but won seven championships between 1982 and 1990. Alpine skiing competition stopped in 1990 because there were no longer enough schools competing. Men and women fought for skiing and tried to create a co-ed league, but this failed. Unfortunately, nordic skiing followed, being disbanded slowly after Gonser retired in 1996.
Read more about men's nordic skiing here.