Willie Huber – 1958 Ski Retailer

Willie Huber
Retailer of modern ski gear in 1958

Willi has a huge internet profile that seeks to cement his contribution to NZ skiing – starting about 1970. In this blog I wish to expose another forgotten Willi Huber contribution to skiing that seems to be forgotten – starting in 1958.

I started skiing at Temple Basin in 1955 using skis and boots supplied by Oscar Coberger. In order to envisage this equipment I would suggest a visit to Canterbury Museum. Check out the skis and poles that Scott used to go to the South Pole. Nothing had changed in 45 years. NOTHING! I have a clear memory of a Temple Basin compound leg fracture with the broken bone protruding into fresh air.  The skiing was difficult and dangerous. The edges fell off and the Ski Gliss (varnish sole base) needed repainting often.

I still remember my mother returning from a Christchurch shopping trip. “Tisdals Sports shop in Cashel Street have a new man selling skis”. My next trip to town resulted in a beeline to Tisdals. There I met Willi and the memory of his smile still remains with me.

Willi sold me Glingeeser (sic) skis with plastic KOFIX soles – fitted with Japanese AUTOMATIC safety bindings (design stolen from Marker). My skiing never looked back.

I was not alone. Hundreds maybe thousands of skiers flocked to Tisdals to be greeted with that smile. And they left the store carrying some of the very latest ski technology. Willi signed us up to receive the latest ski magazines from the USA. The combined knowledge-increase-curve was huge.

Tisdals did very very well from their brilliant employment selection. The skiers bought a huge range of sports gear from the whole shop. The ever smiling Willi did everybody proud. Great advise. Very latest technology – and always – that smile.

The magic smile that never faded

The Willi Huber contribution to NZ skiing was HUGE. Long before he instructed at Amiri. Twelve years before he became involved in Mt Hutt.

Please Mount Hutt – repair the sign on Willi’s photo.

The photo below is of my sister Yvonne just before she headed up to Temple Basin for the 1953 ski school.

Note the one-size-fits-all O.C. #2 (Left) ski. Note the concealed ‘Beartrap’ toe piece. Note the pole baskets designed to drag a sledge to the pole. Note the State-of-the-Art ‘Ventile’ jacket – clearly styled off Scott’s ‘Burbury’ gear. Note the hob-nail Oscar Coberger ski-tramping boots!

The essential items to bring to a 1953 / 1955 Temple Basin ski school included

  1. Edge screws – so that you could stop the edges falling off.
  2. Skigliss – so that the bare wood could be varnished over each evening
  3. Spare leather ‘toe-straps’ (just in case these broke – instead of your leg)

Willi – thank you for bringing an end to all of this. Thank you again!

Temple Basin 1957 Ski School. Thats me in the centre. Pre Willi at Tisdals. Gear slightly better than Captain Scott used.


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