Mathias Zdarsky, an Austrian who is acknowledged as the father of Alpine skiing, and who wrote Die Lilienfelder Skilauf-Technik, 1897, read Nansen’s First Crossing book in 1891 when the German language edition was released. Arnold Lunn, in his The Story of Ski-ing, 1952, says of Zdarsky and role of the ski pole in his “technik:”

‘…Nansen’s book transformed him [Zdarsky] into a skier, but for the first winters he skied alone, and never saw another skier. After experimenting…he eventually designed the ski and Lilienfeld bindings…Zdarsky gave gratuitous instruction every Sunday…[his] ski were short and grooveless…[he] used a single diskless pole, and the deliberate use of the pole to help out turning and to keep the speed down when running straight was encouraged…’ 15

Though Zdarsky had read Nansen’s chapter on skiing and no doubt his views on limiting pole use, Zdarsky’s considerable experience as an Alpine climber, and the common use of the “alpenstock” on such adventures, likely influenced his pattern and use of the ski stick.

Circa 1900 - Photograph of Mathias Zdarsky on his skis with alpenstock.

Circa 1900 - Photograph of Mathias Zdarsky on his skis with “alpenstock.” W. Rickmer Rickmers, Ski-ing for Beginners or Mountaineers, New York, NY: Charles Scribner`s Sons, 1909, 86-87