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"Tourism, Sport and Health" 2014, no 5


General Mariusz Zaruski - a tourist and a sportsman

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As a result of misunderstanding he withdrew from the organisation of the first Polish competition for skiers in Zakopane in 1910. He organised the 2nd competitions, international ones yet on 5 February 1911 together with other skiing organisations. Zaruski helped in the work, but he was not a devotee of top-level skiing. He preferred the natural difficulties on the slopes. On the 26 December 1907 the Zakopane Skiing Organisation was transformed into a Skiing Section of the Tatra Society [17].

Courses, competitions, excursions etc. were continued. Compulsory skiing lessons were introduced in the private grammar-school for children and youth on Zaruski’s initiative [18]. More and more lovers of this sport came to Zakopane mainly thanks to Zaruski and his skiing propagation. In 1911 Zaruski has propagated sledging, since 1908 took the lead of the committee building a bobsleigh track in Zakopane. After a number of perturbations this track came into being in the year 1913 [19].

Snow avalanches were a matter of Zaruski’s enormous care. Though only 1 skier died up to know but M. Kar³owicz exactly was - the co-creator of skiing, Zaruski’s good friend. They were talking together a few dozens of hours before death about the necessity of creating the Tatra Volunteer Rescue Service - TOPR [20]. Zaruski has made the research of avalanches since 1908 and distinguished himself in inventions having to help and protect skiers in the mountains. He created (applied in most accident up to know) a terminology, published the first winter guides through the Tatras including maps. He became a matter of historical interest as a creator, organiser in the domain of safety and the first manager of the Tatra Volunteer Rescue Service - TOPR for many years. This is his living monument. We will not write more as TOPR has not much in common with sport. Its members saved alpinists’ and skiers’ lives many times both in summer and winter. TOPR runs up till know and has a wonderful, rich, a history full of glory.


Zaruski’s activity as a writer is very rich. He devoted 4 books to Tatras, many dozens refer to the maritime activity. They are either papers of a training character, regulations, rules in sailing and belletristic positions. He devoted two other books to horse-riding as a sport.

His mountaineering columns talk about the basic issues of tourism, winter sports and mountain life-saving. The description of mountaineering and skiing excursions as well as life-saving expeditions are colourful, emotional report/coverages. He published 56 articles „From the Tatras” in the magazine entitled „Zakopane”. Up to this day it is a excellent chronicle of the development of tourism and Tatrian skiing.

The mountaineering ideology and controversies with its opponents take a lot of place. This ideology was in principle very simple: people going to the Tatras are exposed to dangers, which form their characters. Mountaineering has a great social meaning as a school of fortitude and courage. The character of the nation being in captivity has to be developed in this school in order to be able to oppose oneself effectively against this slavery. So the essence of mountaineering is- according to Zaruski - a fight with adversities and dangers of the Tatra world. As a final conclusion - a fight with oneself [21]. This was something intermediate between Karłowicz’s aestheticism of the Tatras and alpinism arising in the Tatras, Zaruski’s Tatra literary heritage and comprising ideas in it as well as his organisational activity in the realm of mountain tourism and skiing have their current values. This paper mainly is to introduce Zaruski as a military man - sportsman but we should also remember that he also was active in other areas. He was a member of the Section of Nature of the Tatra where he delivered lectures on mountain nature. Seeing the threat (already then) from the side of more and more numerous tourists in the Tatras, he participated in the creation of the Section of Rescue of the Tatras TT (vice-president since 1913). He was a member of the Section of Friends/Patrons of Zakopane (vice chairman), he was the co-author and a person actively engaged in the development of the Zakopane public library. He graduated from a fire-fighting course in Cracow and then was a inspector/supervisor at the fire-brigade in Zakopane.


He joined shooters’ section after the of the First World War and after to the Legions. He served in the 1st regiment and quickly advanced to the Lieutenant rank. In 1916 he was already a captain of horse. The so called swear crisis when the Lieutenants refused to take an swear for the faith to the Germans, he found himself at the post of a commander of the regiment. He was imprisoned and set free in 1917, he came back to Zakopane where he became the commander of the Polish Army Organisation. After Poland regained independence he was appointed commander of the army in Nowy Targ. At the moment when the Polish-Russian war broke out in spring 1919 he assumed command of 11 regiment of uhlans. In March 1923 at the rank of Lieutenant he assumed command of the post of the General colonel of the President of the Polish Republic (of S. Wojciechowski). Then he was appointed general, he performed the function of aide-de-camp till the year 1926. After the coup d’état in May he left the service. However, in 1927 he was given the post of foreman in Wejherowo. Since that time he devoted himself to organising maritime education for the youngs. He organised yachting courses for scouts and was busy with maritime education. In the years 1935-1939 he was a captain of the „Zawisza Czarny” scout yachting school and sailed teaching new generations of Polish sailors. After soviet Russia attack on Poland in 1939 he was imprisoned by the Russians and died in prison in September 1941. The ceremony of transfer of Zaruski’s corpse was held in November 1997 at the Zakopane cemetery lying at the foot of the Tatras.


[1] K. Lieutenant. Kubik M., Symposium dedicated to Mariusz Zaruski, „Nautologia” XVI, 1981, no 4; M. Pinkwart, By Zaruski’s Zakopane path, Kraków 1983.
[2] M. Zaruski, The chronicle of expeditions in the Tatras 1903-1907, “Taternik” 2, 1908, no 1.
[3] The Archives of the Tatra Museum in Zakopane (indicated further as AR/NO), AR/NO 257.
[4] M. Zaruski, The Tatras as a desert, “Sfinx” 1912, no 12.
[5] M. Zaruski, An outline of the development of the skiing and Polish winter tourism in the Tatras, “Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Tatrzańskiego” 34: 1913, p. 35.
[6] S. Ziemba, With the traces of two planks, an outline of the history of skiing, Kraków 1955, p. 57.
[7] M. Zaruski, The snow avalanches in the Tatras, “Zakopane” 1, 1908, no 13, 16, 17, 19.
[8] AR/NO 259.
[9] AR/NO 260.
[10] M. Zaruski, On the skis on the Goat Peak, “Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Tatrzańskiego” 29: 1908.
[11] M. Pinkwart, ibid., p. 75.
[12] AR/NO 262.
[13] J. Schnaider, On Scandinavian skis, Kraków 1898.
[14] M. Zaruski, By the Rohaczów border in winter, “Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Tatrzańskiego”33: 1912; of this: The Eagle’s Mountain Path in winter, “Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Tatrzańskiego” 34: 1913; of this: The Mieguszowiecki Peak over the Black (2405 metres) by the north wall in winter, “Pamiętnik Towarzystwa Tatrzańskiego” 35: 1914.
[15] M. Zaruski, A guide through the skiing area of Zakopane and the Polish Tatras, Zakopane 1913, p. 7.
[16] M. Zaruski, The contribution to mountaineering psychology, “Wierchy” 7: 1929, p. 75.
[17] AR/NO 261.
[18] Ibid..
[19] M. Pinkwart, ibid., p. 110.
[20] M. Zaruski, ibid., p. 117.
[21] M. Zaruski, On the pathless tracts of the Tatras. Excursions, impressions, descriptions, elaborated by W.H. Paryski, Warszawa 1958.
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The Scientific Journal
"Tourism, Sport and Health"
..is a multimedia annual periodical publication designed to be presented on the Internet. It provides a broad forum for scientific views exchange based on conducted research and discussions about theoretical, methodological and factual issues and possibility of practical application of research. The magazine editors accept for publishing papers concerning tourism – its history, contemporary (political, economic, social) determinants of development and the impact on human health, environment and economy of various regions and countries.

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"Turystyka, Sport i Zdrowie"

Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego

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