Monday, November 13, 2006

BEST SKI BOOKS #4 Nine Thousand Years of Skis: Norwegian Wood to French Plastic


So first off, thanks to the people who made comments on the last couple of books. Being the un-tech savvy guy that I am, I am not sure how to reply to the comments straight off the blog site so if you want me to reply leave your email address. In any case I did want to reply to Poppy and say I had the same thought about those three guys skiing together at this point. Higgins, Alan and Ned. I was fortunate to have met all three of those guys at one point, but really spent a bunch of time with Higgins and I think of him often, so it is a warm feeling to think of them cruising along in heaven on a fast pair of trad skis, the kick wax just right......
So anyway book number four. So where the heck do I get terms like the Hvam Saf-ski binding? Or The Marcus Ericksen Laminated ski? OR better yet the Berger "Satan" edge? I get them from this really esoteric, geeky book called Nine Thousand Years of Skis. By Ted Bays. It is an older book, written in 1980 but is really the a book that lays down the technical foundation of skis, their history in ancient times and also their history in fabrication from wood to modern techniques. Interestingly it is published by the National Ski Hall of Fame Press in Ispeming, MI. A cool place to visit if you ever happen to find yourself in the UP.
If you are really, really interested in why your swanky new pair of K2's has such a sweet flex this is the place to start. It goes through it all from materials to constructions to ski style and why those flex patterns emerged, to bindings to ethnic reasons for certain bindings or where historical skis were found. It is endless, but keep in mind it is very, very dry if you are not truly interested in the tech of skis and skiing. It is very different than say The Cook Book and ski book in that realm in the fact that the cook book and ski book is good at explaining why a ski works and then stops there, this book goes into tangents, co-efficients and densities. Read this book and I guarantee that you will no more that most ski designers that I have worked with over the years! You can still buy it from the National Ski Hall of Fame.
Of special note is chapter 7 "Making your Own Wooden Skis" It makes it look easy!

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hi there - I am looking at getting this book. Have you read "Two Planks and a Passion: The Dramatic History of Skiing" by Roland Huntford? Both look very interesting. Would you suggest one over the other? I am mainly interested in traditional wooden skis and learning more about them. I built a pair of Cross Country skis this winter with Traditional bindings and am working on more right now.

http://thewoodwright.blogspot.com/