The Evolution of Skis

Skis have been around for thousands of years, but it’s only in the last 100 or so that they’ve been used for fun and thrills on the snowy slopes for an actual ski holiday.

But back in 1978 when we sent our first guests on a Neilson ski holiday, our skis were very different. Fibreglass was a new technology in sport and twin tips were decades away! So we thought we'd take a look at how they’ve evolved from a couple of wooden planks into the sophisticated and versatile planks we know today.

Evolution of Skis Infographic

We spoke to our friends at Salomon about the evolution of skis and what that means for professionals and newbies alike.

Cyril Espalieu from Salomon, muses the below:

“Skis have come a long way in the past 40 years in three key dimensions: shape, length and construction. The shape is the most visible one for sure, with 2 main innovations in the cornerstone decade of the 90s.”

“On one side parabolic skis, narrower at the binding than at the ends, have allowed for easier carved turns. On the other, twin-tipped skis created a new discipline - freestyle - with a new generation of tricks where skiers could land and ride backwards.”

“Salomon has been instrumental in this sport evolution, with the creation of the first twin-tipped ski: the iconic Teneighty. These innovations in shape reduced the length of skis commonly used, from 210 cms down to 170 cms, with increased stability and maneuverability.”

“As for construction, a major breakthrough from the traditional sandwich technique happened in the late 1980s, with the monocoque construction, patented by Salomon, that has upped the level of performance in terms of edge grip and predictability.”

“Accessibility to skiing has been vastly improved thanks to these shorter and more responsive skis, but the importance of boots and bindings should not be underestimated, as comfort and safety are paramount for the practice of our sport!”

“Wood and composite are the two key materials in a ski construction. New variations of wood are always sought to build the core of the ski, which is its backbone and most of its weight. From poplar to ash to karuba, the latest cores balance power and weight in unprecedented manners.”

“When it comes to composite, we have switched from regular fiberglass to sophisticated weavings of high-end materials such as carbon and koroyd. Salomon’s latest piece of material science is called CFX or Carbon-Flax, which is a great example of weaving between composite and natural fibres to deliver precision and dampening in a lightweight package for all-mountain skiers.”

Read more on the evolution of sports

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