Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the creator of the heroic detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle regarded himself more as Dr. Watson – a pragmatist. So pragmatic, in fact, that he also headed off on dangerous ski tours – and so heralded in the skiing boom in Davos.
A deerstalker hat, a magnifying glass and a Calabash pipe. What does that make you think of? Most people would answer, ”Sherlock Holmes” like a shot. No wonder: the fictitious character, invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has become the epitome of the detective. However, what very few people know about Doyle is that he is regarded as the promoter of skiing in Davos.
Doyle allowed his famous fictitious character to die in 1893 – and learned an, as yet, unknown sport in Davos: skiing. It was no other than the very first two pioneers of skiing, Tobias and Johannes Branger, who showed him the ropes. Doyle learned quickly. Precisely one year after the Brangers had established the trail from Davos to Arosa over the Maienfelder Furgga on 23 March 1893, they repeated this difficult tour with a famous guest: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Doyle’s portrayal of this legendary ski tour in the British magazine “Strand Magazine” in December 1894 is an absolute hit. And it is reprinted many times – not least because of his ability to laugh at himself. An example perchance? Reporting on his descent into the valley in tweed knickerbockers, Doyle reports: “My tailor claims that Harris tweed does not wear. That is pure theory and does not stand up to through inspection. My tailor can now view many samples of his material between the Furgga Pass and Arosa.” It is the first English report about a ski tour to attract massive attention in Great Britain. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thereby lays down the foundation stone for the boom in skiing in Davos.