The Making of a Limmer Boot

April 8th, 2014 by Lindsay

 

“The Limmer family has carried on the boot-making craft in New England for 90 years; it is a tradition that stems back to Europe.”

Peter Limmer completed his apprenticeship as a master craftsman in Bavaria in 1921. In 1924 he left his economically troubled homeland and worked in a Boston shoe factory until he started his own shoe repair business. Keeping his talents honed, he continued to make ski boots on the side after his arrival in 1924—a decade before skiing was a significant sport in the United States.

Skiing has long been a mode of winter transportation in the White Mountains, but the nature of skiing changed with the 1906 Nansen Ski Jump in Berlin, increasing local competitions, and, by 1928, the presence of two ski instructors at Pecket’s Inn at Sugar Hill. In the 10-year period that followed, skiing boomed into a popular sport with the opening of Black Mountain (1935), Cannon (1936), and Cranmore (1937). The political problems in Austria and Germany opened the floodgates to great skiing instructors migrating to America.

In 1939 Limmer was awarded the first patent for a ski boot in the United States. They could be used with wood skies from Ashland, New Hampshire and “European bindings” made in America. Now known as carefully crafted hiking boots, Limmer boots are also rich in mountaineering history. Members of the British- American Himalayan Expedition to Nanda Devi in 1936 used hob-nailed Limmer boots. In 2014 visitors can go to the barn in Intervale where the Limmer family moved in the 1950s, see the 1920s machines that are still in use, and be fitted for a pair of custom boots by Peter Limmer Jr.

 

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