January 12 is “Ski Day. A ceremony in honor of Major Lerch, who taught skiing for the first time in Japan 113 years ago, was held at the Kanayasan ski resort in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture.
January 12 (Friday) is designated as “Ski Day” because 113 years ago, in 1911, Major Lerch, a soldier of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, gave the first full-scale ski instruction in Japan in Takada, Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture. The Lerch Society, a citizens’ group in Joetsu City, and others hold a memorial service every year at the Kanayasan Ski Resort to honor Major Lerch’s achievements.
This year, 61 people attended, including members of the association, Joetsu City Mayor Nakagawa, officials from the ski federation, and local Takada Nishi Elementary School students.
Skiing with a single stick
First, the single stick skiing technique taught by Major Lerch was introduced, and the Lerch Society actually demonstrated single stick skiing.
Participants then offered flowers in front of the Lerch statue, and fourth graders from Takada Nishi Elementary School expressed their appreciation.
We who live at the foot of Mt. Kanaya are able to enjoy skiing thanks to Major Lerch who introduced skiing to Japan. Thank you very much.”
At the end of the event, lanterns that were lit at Kanayasan on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of skiing were handed over to those involved in the Lerch Festival, which will be held next month.
Lerch’s Association President Onishi
I am happy to be able to showcase the skiing that Major Lerch passed down to us. I am happy to be able to showcase the skiing that Major Lerch passed down to us. I will continue to do my best to preserve the legacy and to share the beauty of skiing.”
The opening of Kanaya-yama Ski Resort was scheduled for Friday, December 12 to coincide with Ski Day, but as of Wednesday, December 10, there was only 30 cm of snow on the slopes, and the opening has been postponed. However, as of Wednesday the 10th, the opening has been postponed due to a snowfall of only 30 cm on the slopes.
Address: 595-2 Onuki, Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: <Car> 5 minutes from Joetsu Takada IC on Joshinetsu Expressway / 20 minutes from Joetsu IC on Hokuriku Expressway