History of Ski Mountaineering

Monument to "Snowshoe" Thompson
The use of skis for over-snow travel and winter mountain access only recently divided into sub-categories like "ski-mountaineering", "alpine skiing" and "cross-country skiing".
Perhaps the earliest and certainly one of the most prolific ski mountaineers was John "Snowshoe" Thompson, who used skis to deliver the mail at least twice a month up and over the steep eastern scarp of the Sierra Nevada to remote California mining camps and settlements. His deliveries began in 1855 and continued for at least 20 years. Thompson's route of 90 miles (140 km) took 3 days in and 48 hours back out with a pack that eventually exceeded 100 pounds of mail.
One of the earliest European inspirations for the sport was the Englishman Cecil Slingsby, who crossed the 1,550m high (5,800 ft) Keiser Pass, Norway, on skis in 1880.
However, the "father" of the sport is generally regarded as the German Wilhelm von Arlt, who made the first ski ascent of over 3,000m, when he climbed the Rauris Sonnblick (3,103m / 10,180 feet high) in 1894.
The first ski tour in the Alps took place near Davos when the Branger brothers teamed up with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for a tour from Frauenkirch to Arosa in 1894.
The iconic winter Haute Route between Chamonix and Zermatt was finally linked together in 1911.
In 1929, Orland Bartholomew skied alone over 300 miles (480 km) of California's High Sierras from Cottonwood Creek to Yosemite National Park roughly following the line of the summer route that is now known as the John Muir Trail. This included the first winter ascent of the highest peak in the lower 48, Mt. Whitney. Bartholomew was self-supported using food caches placed over the summer.