Shortly before Christmas, on 21 December 1897, the world's first bobsleigh club was founded in St. Moritz, probably at the Kulm Hotel, although unfortunately there are no exact records to confirm this. A long and eventful journey had begun. One of the first tasks for the committee was to create statutes for the new organisation. In line with fine English traditions, the founders contented themselves with seven short rules:
1. The aim of the club is:
a) To keep up interest in bobsleighing in St. Moritz and to improve the sport's reputation
b) To increase club assets
c) To conduct bobsleigh races on the Cresta Run and on different pass roads if desired
d) To position people on the dangerous corners (to warn bobsleighs and horse-drawn sleighs about each other!)
e) To print leaflets with instructions for the horse-drawn sleigh drivers
f) To make the Cresta Run accessible for bobsleighing
g) To maintain a good relationship with the local authorities with the aim of making the Cresta Run as navigable as possible for bobsleighs and to keep it in a good condition.
2. The Committee is to be made up of five members and two of these must be women. The Committee has the right to increase this number if required. The Club Board of Directors is elected at the Annual General Meeting, which is to be held before the start of every season, and must remain in office until the Annual General Meeting in the season following the election.
3. As soon as possible after the Annual General Meeting, the Committee shall appoint a Secretary and a Treasurer from among its members.
4. The Committee has the power to make decisions on all matters concerning the club.
5. A Club Annual General Meeting can be called by the Secretary at any time, provided that the call is signed by five members and 24 hours' notice is given.
6. Joining the club is subject to paying a fee of CHF 10 per season.
7. Only club members have the right to participate in races that are held under the management of the club, unless the Committee decides otherwise.
Short and concise, the initial announcement made when the club was established was typically English:
21 December 1897:
At an Annual General Meeting held on this day, the Committee members for the current season were established:
Mrs. Shepley Kulm
Miss M. Cousins Languarde
H.W. Topham Palace
E. Cremers Kulm
F.J. Watson Kulm
It was decided that the Committee would formulate the Club rules in line with the guidelines adopted by the General Meeting.
It was also decided that the Committee should have the power to spend as much money as it deemed necessary for ensuring different people could use the Cresta Run.
The years preceding the establishment of ST. MORITZ BOBSLEIGH CLUB were in no way as dull and straightforward as this first authentic record. Different letters from the time show that the first bobsleigh club in the world was actually founded out of sheer dissatisfaction.
Bobsleighing – or “bobbing” as the English used to call it – was first practised in Oberengadin back in December 1890. The following record was found: “... A new sport, which had previously only been practised here and there, started to gain in popularity from 1890 – tobogganing with a bobsleigh. It is made of two luge frames joined together with a long board. The front part is moved using a steering mechanism, while the back is fixed to a long seat board and has a heavy clamping device. Several people have to sit on the sled at the same time, fostering a team spirit. The man in front is in charge of steering and the one at the back takes care of the brakes...” With the “skeletons” tied together, bobsleighers began sliding down all the possible and impossible slopes throughout Oberengadin.
However, it wasn't until 1895 that this new type of tobogganing began to develop in line with the tastes of the dyed-in-the-wool tobogganists, who had formed the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club in the 1889/1890 winter season. The group sport nevertheless became increasingly popular among more “modern men”, who found it entertaining – a kind of parlour game in which the fair sex could also fully participate.