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Frank Elkins - World Ski Book

"Ski Tracks Across Time and Space" by Nils Lid

p. 1: This article describes ancient skis discovered in various finds around the world. The author says the skis can be grouped into three types. The northern, Arctic type is short and broad, with the undersurface generally covered with hide. It is primarily a hunting ski. The southern type has a hollow cutout for the foot. In this ski type, ropes for steering and for dragging are fastened through holes in the tip of the ski. The central type has two skis of unequal length: a long left ski and a short right one (the andor). The left ski has a narrow groove underneath to facilitate steering. The right ski is generally covered with fur on the underside. The author also discusses strap versus osier bindings.

"U.S. Skiing and How It Grew" by Harold Grinden

p. 9: This article discusses the spread of skis throughout the U.S. since the 1700s. The author believes that the Vikings led by Leif Ericson probably brought skis to America in the year 1000. It is a matter of record that skis were introduced into Greenland as early as 1722 by Scandinavians. Gold-rush miners brought skis to California in the 1850s. The article mentions Snowshoe Thompson and the La Porte races and includes photos of racers ready to start and posing in a deep crouch.

p. 13: Norwegian champion Mikkel Hemmestvedt introduced ski jumping to the Midwest on February 8, 1887, with a jump of 37 feet. According to the author, Mikkel and his brother Torjus had given exhibitions of technique with Sondre Norheim. The National Ski Association (NSA) adopted its first constitution in 1905. The Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA) was formed in 1930.

"Skis, Bindings, Boots" by John Le Sourd

p. 15: Equipment in 1949. The following article, "Ski Clothes Do Something For You," discusses ski fashion.

"The Arlberg Technique" by Hannes Schneider

p. 26: On December 7, 1907 the Hannes Schnieder Ski School opened in St. Anton am Arlberg with the author as sole instructor. The author describes his development of the stem turn and stem christie. In 1910, he entered the slalom in the Swiss championships at Grindelwald. He won by several seconds. Except for the Swiss champion, Ed Capite, all competitors used telemarks. Schneider won again the following year at St. Moritz and the "skiing revolution" began to spread. In 1914 Austria went to war and he taught skiing to mountain soldiers.

In 1920, Dr. Arnold Fanck started production on a ski movie in Germany. He asked Schneider to ski for the film. During the next two years they made Wunder des Schneeschuhs, Fox Hunt in the Engadine, and The White Art. The worldwide distribution of these films spread the Arlberg style of skiing and made Schneider the best known ski instructor in the world. Fanck and Schneider wrote a book entitled Wunder des Schneeschuhs, illustrated with strips from the film. It sold over a million copies throughout the world.

The author writes that the Arlberg Technique is based on four essential principles: control, safety, form and speed. He discusses each in turn.

"The Swiss School" by Christian Rubi

p. 36: According to the author, the Swiss don't get too excited about debates on skiing technique. "We try to refrain from increasing the tendency to standardize skiing technique. It seems to us important to develop each skier's individual abilities, and not to stifle natural skiing talents by forcing them into a rigid pattern."

He offers a few highlights of the Swiss program, with drawings. Interestingly, the stem is not shown, but the telemark is. Regarding the telemark, he writes: "Long a tradition with the Swiss Ski School, this graceful turn has all but disappeared and is only used on rare occasions. However, we would not be too surprised if the telemark were to reappear some day as an 'entirely new and revolutionary method of skiing.'"

"The French Method" by Emile Allais

p. 40: The French method rejects the stem as part of the teaching method. It focuses on increased forward lean, sideslip and rotation to create pure parallel turns. The author demonstrates his famous "ruade."

"The Norwegian Way" by Einar Bergsland

p. 47: The Norwegian school of skiing places touring and cross-country skiing first. The author also discusses the christiania for downhill and slalom skiing.

The book also includes chapters on ski jumping (by Sigmund Ruud), cross-country racing (by Gosta Olander), downhill racing (by Walter Prager), slalom (by Friedl Pfeifer), avalanches (by Paul Gut, M.D.), skiing for women (by Gretchen Fraser), and skiing for kids (by Frank Elkins).

"Skiing the Skyline" by Arnold Lunn

p. 78: The author reminisces about ski mountaineering in his youth, in particular his six-day traverse of the Oberland glaciers in January 1909. He laments the loss of interest in ski mountaineering by most skiers, due in part to his own contributions to ski racing. There are some nice passages:

"On the smooth unchanging gradients of a gentle glacier you lose the sense of personal movement. You feel as if you were stationary and as if it were your surroundings that are moving. Your skis seem like a narrow skiff anchored in midstream, a slender boat that sways gently as the river sweeps round the bows. The illusion is reinforced in late spring when you reach the wrinkled limit of the snows, and where your skis float over the ground swell of snow waves. As the speed relaxes, the hills move to a sedater measure. The foreground that had rushed up to meet you slows down... Suddenly the world gives a little jerk. The mountains stop moving and the world of fancy gives way to the world of sober fact."

"High-speed skiing is a fine sport, but it is only a sport. Ski mountaineering is not only a sport, it is a culture. Any occupation or sport that forces a man to make an exacting study of nature in one of her many modes has a definite cultural value. It is not easy to explain the cultural or even the spiritual influence that the mountains or the sea exercise on those who submit to their discipline, who accept the risks which that discipline demands, and who seek to master the language in which nature reveals some of her secrets, but it is not difficult to trace the cultural and spiritual impoverishment of a civilization that loses contact with nature, and that drains its peasants into the cities."

"The decadence of alpine skiing began with the boycott of the telemark..."

"The Arlberg became famous through the elimination of the telemark. The French decided to go one better and eliminated the stem. The Arnold Lunn school, which I shall launch next winter, is based on the elimination of the ski, the one sure way of avoiding nasty falls."

"The World Ski Guide"

p. 132: This section is intended as a ski guide for the entire world. It includes travelling directions, a summary of facilities, and nearby hotels. In Washington, the following ski areas are listed:

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Last Updated: Sun Sep 12 22:03:23 PST 2004