A Collector’s Story – Vintage Ski Dishes

I’ve wanted to write about my all time favorite dinner plates for a while. They are souvenir plates from the ‘40’s with ski scenes in the middle. Each one highlights a different Canadian ski destination stretching from Quebec City’s Hotel Frontenac through the Laurentian Mountains and west to the highest peaks around Banff. To me, part of their charm is the old-timey lack of ski lifts; all skiers are “earning their turns”. It’s complete supposition on my part that the plates were in some way connected to the railroads that shuttled skiers east and west. I haven’t been able to find anything out their origins. I’d welcome any insight.

Last Easter as I was taking the dishes down from the top shelf in my pantry I watched in horror as the entire stack of ten slipped from my grasp and smashed on the floor! I felt physically ill as I picked up the shards.

Within minutes I called a friend who shares a passion for collecting the same plates (in both blue and red) and told her my tale of woe. She gamely agreed to sell me a few of her extras, which raised my spirits considerably. I then went about re-building my collection.

In less than a year I piece-mealed together an entire new set, plus one. I acquired a few from my friend, and a couple on ebay. The best score of all however was an almost complete set I found in an antique shop in Maine while I was travelling by motorcycle. (I had to have them shipped home.) Because of this experience I’ve realized that hunting for the dishes was just as much fun as it is to actually own and use them. I loved the challenge of the hunt and the thrill of discovery. So really there’s no reason for me to cry over broken dishes ever again!


For more vintage skiing on my blog click here. Or on Pinterest click here.

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10 comments on “A Collector’s Story – Vintage Ski Dishes

  1. admin’s avataradmin on said:

    Hi Helen,
    You must have the 1 I am missing! Keep looking – you’ll find them!

  2. Helen’s avatarHelen on said:

    What a fabulous set! I now have plate envy!! My copy of ‘Skiing Collectibles’ features just one of them – but it’s an image of 3 skiers which doesn’t appear above. I wonder how many make up the complete set? Sadly, the only information given is that they were made by Wedgwood and my surf on Google also drew a blank. Rare as well as lovely!

  3. Judi’s avatarJudi on said:

    Glad to see you completed the set. I had wondered if you ever bought any from the shop in Maine.

  4. Lizzie’s avatarLizzie on said:

    My heart SANK when I read that the dishes had broken, but was so happy to read your happy ending!

  5. how fantastic!!!! they are amazing! I’d be crying too if I broke some – so congrats on rebuilding the dream!

  6. admin’s avataradmin on said:

    Ah Betsy, You have me figured out! I have all the little pieces saved for each plate in individual bags. I agree, I do need to do SOMETHING with the pieces!

  7. Betsy Leggat’s avatarBetsy Leggat on said:

    Poppy – so glad that you have replaced the set. The plates are very cool! I hope that you saved the broken pieces and will do something interesting with them – a mosaic of some sort – table or mirror?

  8. I love dishes also, Poppy; but these are really fabulous!!

  9. admin’s avataradmin on said:

    Individual skiers aren’t called out by name – just locations – but perhaps Jackrabbit IS pictured!

  10. sally mole’s avatarsally mole on said:

    The plates are so beautiful, Poppy! I can’t tell from the photos, but wonder if my old friend Jackrabbit Johannsen could be pictured on one of them! Really happy that you shared them.

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