Article Index


Australian soldiers occupying Syria in the second half of 1941 set up the 1st Australian Ski Corps School, in a ski resort at an altitude of 1900m in the Lebanon Mountains, to train hundreds of. Australian soldiers at a time, to ski and to become ski troops. This was in response to a possible thrust south through the Syrian mountain passes by the German Armies that had conquered Greece and invaded the Soviet Union. The instructors included Lindsay Salmon (Mt. Hotham) and Johnny Abbotsmith (Hotel Kosciuszko). The School had about 100 staff members and trained about two thousand Australians to ski and to fight in the snow whilst on skis (Photo Nos. 4 & 5).
German forces did not reach Syria during the war, but the numbers of keen skiers back in Australia following the end of that war in 1945 was greatly increased, not only with the return of the Australian ski troops, but also by the large numbers of refugees who were skiers and who had migrated to Australia from European countries where skiing was well-established.