Sometimes modern beats vintage

There has been a recent revival in all things vintage from our attitude to food to our choice of interiors, however this should probably not extend to skiing.

A vintage element has been creeping into many aspects of modern living, whether through a skirt strangely reminiscent of a bustle or an organic and seasonal approach to eating. However while many period dramas continue to grace our screens, there is one arena that glories in the wonderfully modern, and that is ski technology.

Though we may all reminisce while surrounded by the gingerbread-esque ski chalets of Meribel , wishing for a time of fluffy muffs and fur lined coats, the reality of skiing without the recent innovative technology makes the entire sport very difficult. While we may resent ski lifts dotting the mountain and spoiling the beauty of it, would we really want to trudge all that way with equipment? And while walking for mere minutes on the way back to the car and to the chalet, your skis and snowboards feel heavy, uncomfortable and cumbersome, however this is little to the original skis.

Initially skis were made out of a single piece of hardwood, conventionally Ash, Birch or Hickory for their density and ability to handle the high speed and shock required of them. It was not until 1850 in Telemark, Norway that they began to look at a cambered ski (arched with tips touching the ground).

It was not until 1891 that they attempted to laminate the wood, creating lighter and more manoeuvrable skis. Unfortunately this process then involved glue, which was not waterproof and lead to skis splitting and warping. This problem was not solved until 1922 when a Norwegian skier invented waterproof glue to keep his skis true. While in 1950, aluminium was finally introduced to the core and in 1962 fibreglass was introduced to ski manufacture, it is impossible to imagine the difficulty of skiing on those early and unyielding planks of wood.

The exhaustion of modern day skiing is overwhelming. Any skier will remember the ache of muscles miserable after long disuse or collapsing out of consciousness after a long day on the slopes, however that is still with all the trappings of modern technology.

Next time you are feeling nostalgic, embrace a traditional cheese fondue or gear up in a retro onesie, but never wish away the technology that makes the sport so enjoyable.
Image Credit: Patrick

3 chalets in Vallandry/Les Arcs:
1 chalet in Flight Only :
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