70 Years of British Skiing

It’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend, so we wanted to toast a teapot and throw a corgi* to our British ski heritage. While you’re sinking pints in the sun to celebrate Lizzie’s reign, we’ll be raising a glass to dryslope sessions in the rain (AKA. dryslope powder days). God save the British ski scene! 🇬🇧

*(DISCLAIMER: no corgis were thrown or harmed)

The roots of modern alpine skiing are found in Norway in the 19th century. However, it was the British who pioneered alpine sports from 1850 to 1865, being the first to climb more than 30 peaks in Switzerland.

So, here is a quick history lesson on the last 70 years of British skiing.


In the 1950s, skiing in the Scottish Highlands became less of a niche, thanks to ski lessons and basic ski resort infrastructure. Then it wasn’t long before people were travelling from all over the UK, for their first experience of alpine skiing.


In 1963, the UK’s first permanent dryslope opened in Torquay, using the original surface known as Dendix. Today, the UK is home to a total of 53 dryslopes, more than anywhere else in the world, making skiing widely accessible nationwide.


In 1976, Planks Founder, Jim Adlington was born. If it wasn’t for this man and his deep-rooted passion for skiing, your favourite ski brand would never have existed. And, God forbid, you might be wearing Dope Snow or Montec right now… 😉


At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Michael “Eddie” Edwards made his Olympic debut, as the first to represent Team GB in Olympic ski jumping since 1928. Although he finished last, Eddie the Eagle became an iconic legend overnight. Eddie was a true sportsman, who celebrated competing to the best of his own abilities, while generally having a good time.


In May 1994, the first full-sized indoor snow slope opened in Tamworth, Staffordshire. There is now a total of 6 indoor snow slopes across the UK, again the more than any other country in the world. Skiers who shred these slopes are commonly known as ‘fridge kids’.


In 2007, ChillFactore, the UK’s longest indoor slope opened in Manchester. Meanwhile, Kirsty Muir, the UK’s righteous Freeski Queen picked up skis for the first time at 3-years-old. Then in 2008, Planks Clothing was born out of Val d’Isère!


In January 2017, James ‘Woodsy’ Woods became the first-ever British skier to win a gold medal in freeskiing at Winter X Games, Aspen. Where he took home the hardware for dominating Ski Big Air with back-to-back triples to the moon. He later also became the World Slopestyle Champion in Utah, USA, in February 2019.

In 2017, we launched our Planks Grassroots Competition and UK Tour to celebrate and support our core ski scene. Then in 2019, we brought rail skiing royalty, Line Traveling Circus, and Planks pro, Lupe Hagearty, across the pond for a slice of the action.


In January 2020, Kirsty won silver in Ski Big Air at the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne 2020. Then in February 2022, Kirsty Muir was Great Britain’s youngest competitor at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, finishing 5th overall in Ski Big Air and 8th overall in Ski Slopestyle.

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