New Swiss Ski Museum Opens in Le Boéchet


A labor of love, the new facility could rightfully be called Donzé’s Dream.

New exhibit
New exhibits, in planning since 2017. 

Who has ever heard of Le Boéchet? It is a small village located in the Swiss Jura, about six miles (10 kilometers) north of the watch-making capital of La Chaux-de Fonds. During the last five years, the old railroad station’s restaurant has been superbly remodeled to house Musée du Ski, Switzerland’s most important collection of more than 2,500 pairs of skis, 500 pairs of poles, hundreds of boots, waxes and so on.

Photo top: A renovated railway restaurant now houses a massive collection of ski gear and a large library. 

In support of those collections are 1,200 books and many other holdings, such as newspapers and postcards. This vast collection is the work and pleasure of Laurent Donzé, who started amassing skis in the 1970s. These he crammed into his old farmhouse, a few kilometers from that decaying railroad restaurant. They were lined up on wall after wall, in every corner and up on the ceiling, as the accompanying photo shows.

Laurent Donze
Laurent Donzé

The history of the museum began in 2017 when Andrée Guenat, a friend of Donzé’s, bought the station building and told him, “Well, we’ll build you a museum!” Donzé claims, and I believe him, he could not sleep for two days. It took six years, with continued financial support, before the museum opened to the public on September, 30, 2023.

Donzé is a retired chemistry professor who first skied to the village school, continued on in university and remains a passionate cross-country skier, and one of major standing. Although never a member of the Swiss national team, he was notably Swiss university champion, representing his country in two Winter Universiades. He has run in the World Loppet marathons of Vasaloppet, Engadin and, of course, the

The original farmhouse.

Currently, Donzé is president of the Romandie Ski de Fond, an organization that brings together the more than 40 Nordic ski centers in French-speaking Switzerland.

Donzé has the assistance of Cheyenne Dubois, who brings a background in museology and who understands the many aspects of preservation as well as exposition to the public. Museum revenue comes from annual membership in Friends of the Museum and from daily admission fees (12 Swiss francs).

On entering the museum, at reception, you are immediately immersed in skiing’s prehistory, a reminder that before becoming a sport, skiing was a utilitarian means of transport. Then on the first floor, you'll discover a temporary exhibition entitled Project Podium: Spotlight on Modern Skiing. It explains the diversity of 21st century competition with its 20-odd different disciplines across Nordic, Alpine and snowboarding.

The idea here is to show various aspects of ski culture. On the second floor, there’s a semi-permanent exhibition entitled In the Tracks of Skiing History, which takes a chronological look at the development of Alpine and Nordic skiing from 1900 to the present day. This floor also features a children’s area for younger visitors. For hours and other information, please see the website: 

Special thanks to Laurent Donzé for his help. All photos courtesy Musée du Ski - Le Boéchet.

US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame
USSSHOF, Ishpeming, Michigan

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame Awarded 2024 ISHA Museum Grant

The International Skiing History Association is pleased to announce that the recipient of its 2024 Museum Grant is the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum. The $5,000 grant will be used to create a new exhibit designed to teach schoolchildren about the culture and history of snowsports. The museum is located in Ishpeming, Michigan.

The 2023 $5,000 grant was awarded to the Maine Ski and Snowboard Museum for use in creating an exhibit dedicated to Maine Ski Hall of Fame inductees. The Maine museum is in Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

Opened in 1954, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates its 70th year this season. The hall includes the "Passion to Fly" statue and the Roland Palmedo Memorial Library, one of the largest winter-sports libraries in the United States.