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Shaped Ski Era

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

When did shaped skis first appear on the slopes in USA and in Europe? Specifacally what was the status for 1991-92 ski season?

post #2 of 7

That is near the dawn for shaped skis, but pretty sure they were on the US market then, if very small minority of skiers had them.  I bought my last new pair of "skinny" skis (Blizzard) in 1993.  At that time shaped "parabolic" skis were in the mass market, but still considered experimental enough that I did not trust them and declined to buy them.

In 1997 I finally demo'd a pair of shaped Elan skis (at Sugarloaf, ME).  By that point they were being pushed very heavily by ski manufacturers and fast becoming the standard.


Others here, more gear oriented than I, can better answer your question.

post #3 of 7
Originally Posted by jbharstad View Post

When did shaped skis first appear on the slopes in USA and in Europe? Specifacally what was the status for 1991-92 ski season?

Seth Masia did a nice article about "shape' evolution...




that Elan SCX was an awesome ski...

post #4 of 7

In 1991-2, I happened to have a pair of K2 Velocity's (see Seth Masia's history).  I was skiing at Stratton when I rode the chairlift with these two guys who were testing "cartoon" skis -- the first SCX's.  They were giggling and making fun of themselves and the look of the skis -- but they also told me that these skis were going to revolutionize equipment.  I'll never forget them; I saw them later carving absolutely pure lines in the spring snow. 

When the Velocities began to delaminate after two years, K2 sent me the first set of K2 Fours the ski shop had seen.  I almost turned them down, but then I remembered the two guys at Stratton.

post #5 of 7

Shaped skis...


The rocker of the 90's.


post #6 of 7

That Evolution of Ski Shape article is really fascinating. This is one of the more interesting bits...


Albert goes wild

In 1984, an executive at Olin Corp. had been having trouble learning to ski. He asked Frank Meatto, an engineer at the company’s ski division, why the factory couldn’t build a sort of Prince tennis racquet for skiers – something that would make the learning process a lot easier. Meatto, along with Ed Pilpel, had been working on designs for a better race ski, and had an idea that the key to a great teaching ski would be a deep sidecut. According to Pilpel, Meatto came up with “Albert,” which ski industry insiders consider the first of the modern shaped skis. Albert, named after a plastic toy belonging to Meatto’s dog – had a very fat tip and ridiculously narrow waist: according to Pilpel, the dimensions were 128-40-79mm. The prototype would have had a sidecut depth of 31mm and a radius of 8 meters. The swollen tip wouldn’t fit in Olin’s presses, so Meatto had to figure out how to make it narrower without sacrificing the deep sidecut. At the time, racers skied a very one-footed technique, leaping from inside edge to inside edge. Meatto wondered if they even needed an outside edge. He sliced Albert almost in half and prototyped an asymmetric 150cm ski, with a ruler-straight outside edge and a radical sidecut on the inside edge with a 10 meter radius. The waist wasn’t wide enough to accommodate a ski boot, so Meatto engineered an elevated Delrin platform to carry the bindings. He took out a patent covering the deep sidecut and the leverage advantage of the platform, specifying that the ski edge ran close to the centerline of the bootsole, like an ice skate. Olin produced a run of 150 pairs for introduction at the 1986 SIA Trade Show. Instructors who tested it thought Albert was a fabulous idea, but retailers thought the asymmetric hourglass shape far too cartoonishly weird and declined to buy it. Albert slid into obscurity, but the patent drawings lived on in Olin’s corporate legacy, to surface in other offices.

Ha. Just Google'ing around, searching for a pic of Olin Alberts, (didn't find one), but I did find my way right back here to Epic...


Too bad Weems never got around to sharing more.

Edited by jc-ski - 3/5/12 at 1:52pm
post #7 of 7

Hey, those outside edges look pretty straight. Are these Olin Alberts?




Anyone know who the skier is?

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