10.12.2003 Ski and Snowboard
I think everybody who knows Austria also knows that it is a skiing and snowboarding nation. Most of the people living there practise this sport, of course there are also those persons who don’t like sports but I can say that many people like that sport. Skiing is much older than snowboarding but this doesn’t mean that the biggest part of the population prefer the new “way” running down a slope. In fact there are more skiers than snowboarders. The first skis are very old. Rock paintings and skis preserved in bogs show that hunters and trappers used skis at least 5000 years ago. Skis were in regular use by Scandinavian farmers, hunters and warriors throughout the Middle Ages. By the 18th century, units of the Swedish Army trained and competed on skis.
Left: Classic Norwegian painting of 2-year old prince Häkon being taken to safety in Osterdalen from Lillehammer in 1206.
The cambered ski was invented by woodcarvers in the province of Telemark, Norway. The bow-shape cambered ski arches up toward the centre to distribute the weight of the skier more evenly across the length of the ski. Before this, skis had to be thick to glide without bowing downward and sinking in the snow under the skier's weight, concentrated in the middle. The thin, cambered ski floated more easily over soft snow, flexed more easily to absorb the shock of bumps, manoeuvred more easily because it was lighter and easier to swing into a turn. The thinner, lighter ski ran faster and manoeuvred with better agility than the clumsier sideways skid of the plankthick older "transportation" skis. The first hickory skis were produced in Norway. Hickory is so hard and tough that it was difficult to work with traditional hand tools. But with modern carbon-steel tools, Norwegian ski makers began turning out hickory skis. The tough wood made it possible to build a thinner, more flexible ski with good strength. Hickory was imported at great expense from Louisiana, and Norwegian immigrants in Wisconsin and Minnesota very quickly figured out that, with easier access to lumber stocks, they could make excellent quality hickory skis more cheaply than their friends back in the old country could. An alpine unit of the French Army undertook the first series production of a Telemark-style ski in France, at Briancon. The segmented steel edge, invented by Rudolph Lettner of Salzburg, Austria, gave skis much better grip on hard snow while still allowing the wood to flex naturally. Worse, edge segments could break in two. The Chance-Vought aircraft company used Aerolite glue to create Metallite, a sandwich of aluminum with a plywood core, for use in airplane skins. Three Chance-Vought engineers, Wayne Pierce, David Richey and Arthur Hunt, used the process to build an aluminum-laminate ski with a wood core. Tengg Anton 7.B St.Martiner Gymnasium
A thousand prototypes were made but the company dropped the project and did not release the patent. It was the first manufactured aluminum ski. It was more easily flexed than a wood ski, less easily broken, scarred or damaged. It did not warp with use. The first fiberglass-reinforced plastic ski, the Bud Phillips Ski, was not satisfactory enough to endure. Designers saw that a fiberglass ski might be lighter and easier to turn than the best metal skis. The first polyethylene base was introduced in Austria by Kofler. Prepreg fiberglass construction proves efficient but very expensive. Volant skis, the first commercially manufactured steel ski, introduced by Bucky Kashiwa. This story shows that Austria played a very important role in the development of our skis we know today. As I have said before the snowboard isn’t as old as the ski, it is younger. Here is a short introduction and the history of the snowboard. Snowboarding is a relatively new sport which can be visually compared to skateboarding and surfing but it’s done on snow. The rider stands on the board with his/her left or right foot forward, facing one side of the board. The feet are attached to the board via high-back or plate bindings which are non-realisable. Although there is at least one manufacturer of realisable bindings, they are not widely used. This sport is different from monoskiing. In monoskiing both feet are side by side on a single ski and the skier faces forward. Some sports which have overlapped in skills to snowboarding include: surfing, skateboarding, surfing, water skiing and certainly snow skiing. A person is said to be goofy footed if they stand with their right foot forward, and natural footed if their left foot is forward. Extreme snowboarding involves making your own way from the top of a mountain to the bottom using only your snowboard. In the process spectacular jumps and free falls are often undertaken. 15 - 20 metre drops are not unusual. To get to the top of the mountain the pros usually get a lift from a helicopter, while the not so fortunate cross country ski up to the top with their snow board strapped to their back. Here is the history of the snowboard. Snowboarding has become popular only in the last 10 years. It was pioneered in the late 70's by a small group including Jake Burton Carpenter, Chuck Barfoot, and Tom Sims. Most of these pioneers now have their own snowboard companies, with Jake Burton's company (Burton) being the largest snowboard manufacturer in the world. All of the early pioneers were strongly influenced by surfboarding. The roots really started with the surfer, that sled hill toy you may have ridden as a kid, shaped like a small water ski with a rope tied to the nose and a rough surface for traction from the centre to the back where you stood. Sherman Poppin was the inventor of the surfer which first appeared in the 1960s. As it turns out Jake Burton was involved in surfer racing, a gag event put on by a group of bored college students. Well, he had got the bright idea to put a foot retention device (little more than a strap at first) on his boards and began to win these events hands down. At about this same time several other people were busy inventing the sport. Jeff Grell is credited with designing the first highback binding. Demetre Malovich started Tengg Anton 7.B St.Martiner Gymnasium
10.12.2003 Winterstick, which didn't make it financially. He introduced several important factors like swallowtail designs, and laminated construction.
Boots evolved from Sorels (TM) or Sno-pac type boots. Early "snowboard" boots were Sorel shells with ski boot type bladders. It was obvious that these early boots did not supply adequate support for the ankle and inhibited control of the boards. The first hard-shell "snowboard" boots were in fact ski boots. It didn't take long for the first true hard-shell boot to be produced before the end of the eighties. Burton set up a shop at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and by 1985 had incorporated steel edges and high-back bindings into his designs. The metal edges allowed use at regular ski resorts. In 1985 only 7 percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboards; today more than 97 percent do and over half have half pipes. The fact that snowboarding is going back is very important for the industry. I think the reason is that parents are skiing and so they teach their children this sport. There are only a few who want to learn snowboarding if they are good at skiing. Another fact is that snowboarding is more dangerous than skiing and every winter you can listen in the news that there are so many accidents caused by snowboarder. Skiing is also very popular and famous, those ski events when the best skiers run down in competitions. There are also many snowboard events but only few of them are broadcast. I am a snowboarder because seven years ago when I learned this sport everyone else wanted to do so. I simply had to learn it. But there was also another fact. I think it’s more exciting driving down on a snowboard as on skis.