It all started when Greg Fangel started buying wooden skis at garage sales around Minnesota and as he collected more, he started to learn about the extensive history of skiing in the state.

"When I saw that fiberglass skis were coming into play, I started finding wooden skis at garage sales and collecting them," Fangel said. "When people started telling me their stories behind the history of their skis that really interested me. It started as a passion for wooden skis and the history came from talking to people and being inspired to dig further."

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Fangel will present a slide show, a few examples of his antique skis and give a lecture on the history of skiing at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Schroeder Town Hall.

After starting to collect wooden skis following the rise in graphite in the 1980s, he began to sell them on his website in 2002 and donates most of the proceeds to area ski and outdoor organizations.

Skiing has a rich history in Minnesota, beginning with early settlers who brought the sport with them.

"The main reason for the skiing was that Minnesota is a home to a lot of Norwegians and when they came over, they brought their sport with them," Fangel said. "Skiing in Minnesota started with ski jumping back in the late 1800s. The Norwegians were the ones who brought it over from their home country. Since they wanted to compete and there were no manufacturers, they decided to make their own."

Minnesota has been home to a number of skiing pioneers in the Unites States. George Leach, of Minneapolis, was the manager of the nation's first Olympic ski team in 1924 and Duluth's George Hovland competed in the ski jump, slalom, downhill and cross country ski events in the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway.

Minnesota also boasts a pioneer in the push for equal rights for women in sports. In the early 1970s, Toni St. Pierre wanted to ski with the boys cross country ski team, but was denied. She sued the Minnesota State High School League and won the right to compete. The case was also influential in the push to pass Title IX legislation in 1972 that prohibited sex discrimination in programs and activities at schools receiving federal money.

Fangel said he will have a number of different historically significant pairs of wooden skis from Minnesota history, including a pair used on a 1928 expedition to the North Pole.

"I think Minnesota has a rich history that a lot of people don't realize and I think people should come out and see what the history of skiing is all about in Minnesota," Fangel said.

For more information about the talk in Schroeder, email Fangel at