Combat skiing

I know a lot of modern armies train soldiers to ski so they can deploy to arctic and mountainous areas, dismount and fight, and I’m familiar with the automatic weapons ski chase scene from the James Bond movie, “From Russia With Love”, but I’m wondering about combat skiing without guns. Apparently according to wikipedia the first ski poles had blades so the skiiers could shank a pig on the way down the hill, and there’s a picture of a woman with a bow and arrow on skis.

I’m wondering about toe-to-toe melee combat while going downhill at fifty miles an hour. I’d imagine they’d try to whack each other with the sticks rather than trying to stab each other with the pointy sticks, and at any rate most casualties would result from getting knocked off balance and tobogganing downhill on their lower jaw instead of actual battle wounds.

Any insight?

Essentially all combat skiers are on cross country skis. I can hardly imagine how combatants from both sides would peacefully ride up the lift so they can get their badassery going on the the double diamond runs.

Generally true… but I was thinking of the thrilling getaway scenes, jumping out of the evil duke’s castle on top of the alpine mountain and all that.

Not what the OP was asking, but still on topic:

I had no idea it was there and just stumbled across Camp Hale when looking for a route from Glenwood Springs to Albuquerque that I had not taken before.

In WW-II the US army thought they might have to fight the Germans in the Alps. The 10th Mountain Division was formed, and Camp Hale was created in central Colorado (between Leadville and Minturn) for training the men and developing/testing equipment and techniques.

The 10th mountain never saw the action it was created for, and today only the foundations of Camp Hale mark it’s location. It is worth a visit due to the stunning scenery. A few of the men of the origional 10th Mountain Div. went on to essentially found the ski industry in the United States.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Hale

The 10th Mountain still exists with more or less the same mission. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10th_Mountain_Division

The idea isn’t to be shooting down a hill at 40 mph while dueling another guy also shooting down the hill, any more than regular army troops are supposed to be sitting on trucks going 90 mph down the interstate while dueling enemy troops also on trucks in the next lane.
Just like trucks, the idea is to cross-country ski somewhere, dismount just out of range, then form up and start fighting on foot. (Obviously, there are occasional exceptions in the chaos of war, and ski units are more likely to be in very small-scale or commando type situations where normal rules go out the window, but the general aim is still the same).

I do admit that a fencing duel on downhill skis is a great scene for a Victorian/steampunk story.

I was once told the story of a Polish resistance man who got into a ski lift to get away from the German pursuers, well knowing that there were more Germans at the hill station. The only escape route he had was to jump out of the gondola, over a cliff and then ski down a narrow ravine. He managed to clear the cliff with a couple of centimeters to go and saved his life. After the war there was a film made about him, but no stuntman dared to do the jump, so he had to do it again.