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"Luke, I am your Father".. (Father of the shaped ski)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Although my title for this thread is a slight misquote from the Star Wars movie “The Empire Strikes Back”- lets just say; If you skied on these Head 320E’s forces would be with you!

 

When I spotted these skis in the back of a local church thrift shop 25+ years ago I am pretty sure I was paying the asking price at the cash register before I even took a close look; they were coming home with me! You see my first pair of old classic black Head standards disappeared from a

parking lot at Mt. Tremblant years before and I was always looking for another pair. (Out of 38 skiers on a 5 day ski trip, apparently I was the only one traveling with 2 pairs of skis. One morning our bus driver thought someone was

coming back for my Heads so he removed them from the lower storage and left them beside the parked bus for the day.. doh!)

 

Classic black Head skis. Iconic to me as when ski equipment began to have performance and because Ron Funk skied on long

black skis in the movie “Last of the Ski Bums”. I really had not paid close attention to how there were differences in the classic

black Head skis until I got my hands on this pair of 320E’s.

 

First thing that caught my attention about the 320E’s is their blue P-Tex bases; something modern going on here. Next I noticed

their aggressive sidecut and I have always thought they were ahead of their time. Today I understand their significance.

Say hello to the father of the modern shaped ski!

 

 

Thanks to Google books this image was located from SKIING magazine Spring 1970


Edited by da-cat - 8/18/15 at 6:13am
post #2 of 11


The Head 320 E was one of the early skies to use side cut to help the skier turn.  Of course the E stands for East and was designed to ski the east coast conditions.  They also made the 320 W designed for the west.  I remember seeing them on the slopes as well as the Head 360 the ski Head sold as an all around ski. 

post #3 of 11

Cool find, cool story. Been a long time since I've been on a grooved ski. Ned

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
An interesting detail of the grooves on this pair of skis is that they are very shallow and straight cut with a flat. This kind of shows the feature itself was heading toward elimination. Here again is an element that indicates the 320 was ahead of its time because many skis from 1970 still had the old style deeper round cut grooves.
Edited by da-cat - 8/20/15 at 6:24am
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle-A View Post
 

 I remember seeing them on the slopes as well as the Head 360 the ski Head sold as an all around ski. 

 

Ski Magazine Jan 1967 Head 360 Ski Test.

post #6 of 11

Paging @Seth Masia to the white courtesy phone. Seth wrote the following about the Olin "Albert".

 

Quote:

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.

 

 

Link: Skiinghistory.org

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Does a photo exist of the whacky asymmetric end product? I bet they look awesome!
post #8 of 11

Interesting.    I notice that '67 is exactly 17 years after Beerli's patent "Ski Having Concave Sides" was issued.   From Stockli's website:

 

Quote:
 Then there were other inventors who appeared to be way ahead of their time. The Engelberg ski manufacturer Louis Beerli was one of them. On November 1, 1946, he submitted a patent application for the construction of skis with “partially inward arched sides.” At that time nobody was talking about carving. In fact, though, Louis Beerli handed in a patent which actually described the geometry of today’s carving skis way ahead of anyone else. Josef Stöckli, the founder of Stöckli Swiss Sports Ltd., also belongs to those ski manufacturers who were continuously thinking about the further development of the skis and the associated components such as bind-ings, climbing aids, etc. 

http://www.stockli.com/files/75.pdf



Didn't Bob Lange have asymmetric skis for SL racing back in '67?

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by da-cat View Post

Does a photo exist of the whacky asymmetric end product? I bet they look awesome!

 

I thought I found one and posted it a few years ago, but it might just be the perspective...

 

 

If that ain't them there's gotta be a picture somewhere!

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

Ski Magazine Jan 1967 Head 360 Ski Test.
Those test and review articles are quite elaborate!
Sounds like they loved the 360.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post
 

 

If that ain't them there's gotta be a picture somewhere!

 

See if you can find something that looks more like this:

 

The risers should be pretty distinctive.

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