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New England Ski Museum Newsletter, 1990-1999
Published by the New England Ski Museum (NESM).
NESM Newsletter, Fall 1992
p. 1, Besser, Gretchen R., "The National Ski Patrol and How It Grew" *The author writes of the 10th Mountain Division: "It is estimated that their heroic advance through the Po Valley shortened the war by at least a month. When the Tenth Mountain Division was demobilized in 1945, it had garnered more medals and suffered more casualties than any comparable division in the European theater." These statements should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
NESM Newsletter, Summer 1998
p. 1, Leich, Jeffrey R., "Over the Headwall: Nine Decades of Skiing in Tuckerman Ravine" (Part 1) *The author describes Tuckerman Ravine as "the birthplace of what is today called extreme skiing." The first use of skis on Mt Washington was by a Dr. Wiskott of Breslau, Germany who skied on the mountain in 1899. The first known ski ascent of the mountain was in 1913 by Fred Harris and two other members of a large party of the newly-formed Dartmouth Outing Club. They skied up the carriage road. The first man to ski in Tuckerman Ravine was John S. Apperson of Schenectady, New York, in 1914. On April 11, 1931, John Carleton and Charley Proctor were the first to ski down the headwall. Carleton fell high on the run and recovered, while Proctor kept on his feet for the whole run. A week later, Robert Livermore, Brad Trafford and Robert Balch of Harvard repeated the descent, this time starting from the summit of the mountain. This group went on to found the Ski Club Hochgebirge.
In 1933, just two years after the headwall was first run, the Ski Club Hochgebirge proposed a summit-to-base race on Mt Washington, called the American Inferno, named for a similar race held in Murren, Switzerland. The first Inferno was run on April 16, 1933 and won by Hollis Phillips in 14:41.3. The second Inferno in 1934 was won by Dick Durrance in 12:35.0. On April 16, 1939, the third American Inferno was held, with forty-two skiers taking part. It was won in 6:29.2 by Toni Matt, when he made his famous schuss of the headwall. Matt had planned to make three turns down the headwall, straightening out below. He stuck to his plan, but not knowing the terrain, completed his turns above the headwall, straightened out, then realized where he was and that he had too much speed to turn. Years later, he said he felt lucky to be "nineteen, stupid, and have strong legs." Sigmund Ruud ran the headwall straight in 1932, but from a standing start, not carrying speed from above as Matt did later.
NESM Newsletter, Winter 1999
p. 1, Leich, Jeffrey R., "Over the Headwall: Nine Decades of Skiing in Tuckerman Ravine" (Part 2) *Brooks Dodge grew up in Pinkham Notch at the base of the trail into Tuckerman Ravine. His father Joe Dodge was the long-time manager of the Appalachian Mountain Club's camp at the notch and was involved in skiing as a race timer and organizer of mountain rescues. As a teenager in the mid and late 1940s, Brooks Dodge was drawn to ski in the ravine, but felt a need for a technique that would allow for shorter, more precise turns than the Arlberg stem christies common at the time. "He perfected a two pole turn in which he planted both poles, jumped his tails off the snow while keeping his tips brushing the surface and his upper body facing downhill, then pivoted his skis into an edgeset and prepared for a new turn. This turn allowed Dodge to ski in a narrow corridor while maintaining tight control of the vertical drop of each turn in the steep gullies of the ravine." When he started using his new technique, six routes in the ravine had been skied. Through the late 1940s and early 1950s, he pioneered a dozen new routes, including gullies that exceeded 50 degrees.
NESM Newsletter, Spring 1999
p. 5, "Hannes Schneider, Skimeister" *This is a short profile of Schneider, including photos of him jumping and ski touring. As a boy of eight, he first strapped on a pair of rudimentary skis with a binding he had designed from a cheese sieve at the toe and a bent roofing nail to hold his heel. The article briefly describes the development of his ski school in St Anton and his immigration to America after imprisonment by the Nazis. In 1908, he remarked, "I am going to put speed in everyone's skiing. And I am going to make it reasonably safe. It is speed, not touring, that is the lure."
NESM Newsletter, Autumn 1999
p. 1, Leich, Jeffrey R., "Revolutions in Hardware" *Both the TEY and Head skis of the late 1940s and early 1950s were developed by skiers who worked in the aircraft industry during the war. The TEY True-Flex was an all aluminum ski with integrated bindings designed in 1948. TEY skis lacked hard metal edges and were not widely successful. The more significant invention by TEY was the first snowmaking system in 1950.
The Head Standard, which appeared around 1950, was the first commercially successful alternative to the wooden ski in America. (The Spring 2000 newsletter contains a letter from Gary Schwartz describing the Gomme metal ski developed in England in 1946.) It was an aluminum sandwich ski with a wood core and plastic base. Hart Ski Company produced a similar ski in 1955. By 1954-55 at least four fiber-reinforced plastic, or FRP, skis were on the market, but none were commercially successful. The breakthrough FRP ski was the Kneissel White Star, which appeared in 1959. Dynamic and Rossignol added refinements to create the modern fiberglass ski by the end of the 1960s. Hexcel skis appeared in 1971 and were prized by downhill skiers and ski mountaineers for their lightness.
The Kandahar binding was developed in 1932 by Guido Reuge. The Saf-Ski binding, introduced by Hjalmar Hvam about 1939, was a toepiece used with a normal front-throw cable that would release to either side. The Cubco binding appeared in 1951. It had a toe and heel piece, eliminating the cable, and a capacity for upward release. Several years later it was refined to make it a step-in binding. The author mentions other release bindings available in the U.S. in the early 1950s.
By 1953, Hannes Marker had been producing the Duplex toe piece for a few years. It was followed by the Simplex, which had a single, larger toe piece that required two notches to be cut in the toe of the boot. By about 1955, notices appeared in the American ski press of Look, Solomon, Tyrolia and Geze bindings from Europe, but these were not imported into the U.S. for several years. The back cover shows a 1953 ad for the Marker Duplex. The binding is illustrated with a front-throw cable and a swivel foot plate.
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