Sports

Snowsports Notebook

Meet Joe Lahout, patriarch of America’s oldest ski shop

Topher Baldwin

Joe Lahout Sr. during filming of a new video about his life.

If you’ve ever been to Littleton or Lincoln, N.H., chances are you’ve seen, and possibly visited, a Lahout’s Ski Shop.

The one in Littleton is billed as America’s Oldest Ski Shop, with roots in the early 1900s as a general store.

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Now, the patriarch of the Lahout family is the subject of a short film that captures who he is and his place in the history of skiing in New Hampshire. Joe Lahout, now 93 years old, was born in an apartment above the Littleton store, and he started skiing as a young boy on a pair of maple skis.

“I was about 8 or 9 or 10, and there was nothing else from November to March, so I took up the art of skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skating, and I did all of those things growing up,” Lahout said.

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He does not still have that first pair of skis.

“They’re firewood,” he said.

But he has memories galore, from years of customers browsing the store for everything from beer to boots, to brushes with skiing greatness, to hitting the slopes in New Hampshire.

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In 1967, the entire French ski team, headlined by Jean-Claude Killy, was in town for a World Cup event at Cannon Mountain, and decided to shop at the Littleton store. The Lahout family gave them red felt hats, which they wore throughout the event at Cannon.

The Lahout’s clientele also includes Olympians and other ski racers like Bode Miller, Gordie Eaton, Joan Hannah, Alberto Tomba, and Duncan Cullman.

“We had just about everybody you can think of come through that door,” said Herb Lahout, one of Joe’s sons who now runs the business with his siblings.

Topher Baldwin

Joe Lahout Sr. (second from left) with his children (from left), Herb, Ron, Nina, and Joe Jr., in front of the Lahout’s Ski Shop in Littleton, N.H.

Joe Lahout was an accomplished skier himself.

“Cannon Mountain had a downhill race for about 30 years, and it followed a course system. They didn’t have flags, it was just the same course. In 1947, after my dad got back from World War II, he won the gold Cannon medal. It was a cannon made of gold,” said another of his sons, Joe Lahout Jr.

The film was brought to life by Nick Martini and Stept Productions. One of Joe Lahout Sr.’s grandsons, Anthony Lahout, was the creative producer. Proceeds from the sale of merchandise related to the film will benefit the Mt. Eustis Ski Hill, which is dedicated to providing an entry point into snowsports for children and families in northern New Hampshire.

Watch the full video here:

Joe Lahout & America's Oldest Ski Shop from lahouts on Vimeo.

Upcoming snowsports events

 The Boston Ski & Sports Club’s annual Blizzard ski season kickoff party will be Nov. 11 at Royale in Boston. Tickets are $15.

 The Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo is Nov. 12-15 at the Seaport World Trade Center. Tickets are $15.

 Tickets for the Big Air at Fenway skiing and snowboarding competition that will be held Feb. 11-12 go on sale at noon on Nov. 12.

Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15.
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