Competition for Lunn and Cook in these early days came from two Viennese entrepreneurs: Walter Ingham and Erna Low. The former placed an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph, in 1934, for a “private ski party to ski Tyrol – 14 days for 12 guineas”. The trip was a success, and the rest is travel agency history, with Inghams remaining one of the leading ski tour operators in the UK today.
Ingham may have been inspired to start his business by Erna Low, who placed a similar advert in The Morning Post in 1932: Christmas”. Like Ingham, Low discovered a healthy British appetite for accompanied ski trips and launched the Erna Low travel service in 1947. Inspired by the popularity of posh house parties, Low pioneered cabin holidays and partnered with Ingham in the 1950s, sharing the snow trains he operated all the way to the Alps, with dancing cars that allowed skiers to party the night away on their way to the slopes.
Skiing holidays flourished in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s. Shortly after Franz Klammer soared to gold medal glory at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympics, ski sunday brought the drama of alpine skiing to our living rooms, becoming one of the BBC’s longest-running sports television programmes.