Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary


Davos in 1908 was even littler than Klagenfurt, housing about 5000 inhabitants, distributed over two villages, Davos-am- Platz and Davos-Dorf, which merged a few years later into Davos town. The reason why Davos became such a famous skating metropol is because it became customary for any hotel in those Alpine regions to have a little skating rink for the entertainment of their guests, and the clusters of hotels and sanatoriums in Davos decided to join all their little ice surfaces into a big one to cut down their snow removal and preparation expenses through cooperation. Davoser Schlittschuh-Club was formed in 1883, and 1887 is the year of the merger, the birthyear of the famous rink.

This Tuesday a 100 years ago, the 4th of February, more skaters started arriving from Klagenfurt. All were accommodated at the same hotel along with those who had arrived before, which included, probably, Wicklund, Strömstén and Wathén who had travelled direct from the Finnish championship, as well as the Dane Sørensen, the Englishman Dix, and the Dutchman Kalt, another teenager, barely 18, who had won the Frisian championship over two 500 meters the year before. I don’t know about the Swede Pettersson. He may have been there already, too.

When the skaters sat down to dine in the dining hall of Hotel Central after today’s skating a hundred years ago, the Norwegians asked for a jug of beer to go with their meal, and received it. This didn’t go without notice among the other skaters in the hall. Unsurprisingly there were a number of scowls being displayed, and several very expressive glances were exchanged. But the Norwegians continued their meal unperturbed. After all this made quite a change from the buns and Christmas cake on the way down here, and why not enjoy a full meal now that the host paid all the expenses?

A slight moon-crest followed the Sun down behind the western mountains just after sunset. It got dark after 6:30 and the skaters flitted home to the hotel for indoor activities before they went to sleep in their comfortable beds not long afterwards.