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Show off your Vintage Skis


DangerBoy
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I hope that those of you who own some cool old vintage skis will show them off to us in this thread. I have a small collection of vintage skis at my cabin that I intend to show off here and I hope that some of you may enjoy seeing them. Where appropriate, I'll point out some of the interesting things about the ski(s) and their history.

 

Today, I'll start off with part of my small but nice collection of vintage 1970s inlaid mahogany Connelly slalom skis. Here's part of the collection displayed together on the wall of my cabin as an "objet d' art".

 

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Here's a closeup of the cluster. The top and bottom skis have had some restoration work done on them. They came to me with a few dents and dings so I had my friend the master craftsman woodoworker do some work on them and he did a terrific job. I decided to leave the bindings off of them to show off more of the amazing inlay work on the skis.

 

The ski in the middle, however, is a different story. It came to me in mint original condition. It's virtually flawless and has had no work done to it whatsover so it's completely original in every way. If it was ever used, it must've only been once or twice and very carefully at that. There aren't even any scratches on the base. I just took it out of the bag, wiped some fingerprints off of it and put it up on the wall. For a ski that old, it's pretty rare (and lucky) to find one in unused condition.

 

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Below is a picture of the base of that middle ski. As you can see, it's in perfect condition. It also has a very unusual inlay pattern on the underside of the tip. I've been watching every auction on these skis that comes up on eBay for the last few years and I'm yet to see another ski that has an inlay pattern like that under the tip. Usually it's just a stripe or two of yellow cedar on the underside of the tip. The pointy rounded tip is also a lot less common than the blunt tipped skis Connelly mostly made during that era.

 

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Anyways, I feel pretty fortunate to have found that ski and to own it. It's a beautiful relic of a bygone era.

 

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Don't really have any vintage skis to show, except perhaps the ubiquitous Dick Pope Jr slalom ski that I think pretty much every ski enthusiast on the planet has. (not mine - "stock" photo)

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Although I dont consider it vintage (it was just a few years ago, right) I am sure the younger crowd here would think my early 80's HO Mach 1 is vintage. Skis I would like to have on the wall but dont are my original wood Northland Custom Slalom, long ago lost, my first (and a lot of other folks too, I would imagine) "real" ski, the

silver blue and green Obrien world team. I never owned the next step up, the pretty black with white spray Obrien competitor. im50txlyhn7u.jpg

 

For me, back in the day, that was my wish list ski. I also have no connection with, but like the looks of the red blue and silver Obrien Mach 1.

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Here's the pride and joy of my Connelly collection. This one came to me with some damage on one side along the top edge somewhere near the tip or just a little ways back. Again, my friend the master craftsman wood worker did a fantastic job of repairing and restoring the ski. You can't even tell where the damage was! He does high-end custom inlayed hardwood floors for a living so doing this sort of exacting meticulous woodwork is easy for him. I trade him time at my cabin for his work. Fortunately for me, he loves it at my cabin!

 

Again, I chose to leave the bindings off to show of more of the unbelievably intricate inlay work on this ski. IMO this inlay pattern was the most stunning and beautiful that Connelly ever produced. I think if I had owned this ski when it was new I wouldn't have wanted to ski on it for fear of damaging what I consider to be more of a work of art than a waterski.

 

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Here are a couple more that are in my collection.

 

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The pair to the left are shown below. I'm pretty sure they are circa 1960 or 61. They are Penn Craft Whirlaways and they're solid mahogany. Their bottoms are quite rockered and they have no fins. The idea being you could spin around on them and go backwards or sideways or whatever as implied by the tip graphics. I just look at them and see a million ways to tear yourself apart doing the splits and whatnot. The funny thing is they're in absolute original mint condition. If they were ever used it couldn't have been more than once or twice. They were advertised on eBay as an "estate sale boathouse find". My theory is that the original owner bought them thinking they'd be heaps of fun and then either injured or scared themselves so badly on the first run or two they were immediately relagated to the boathouse rafters and never saw the light of day again for 55 years until being sold with a bunch of other old stuff in an estate sale. Now they adorn the walls of the TV room in my cabin and make me smile. :)

 

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The pair to the right above the TV are from either the 50s or 60s. Maybe someone can chime in here and help me narrow it down a bit? They are Elgins, made for Simpsons Sears and Simpsons. They hark back to the time when outboards were in their heyday and many major department stores (e.g. Simpson Sears, Montgomery Ward, etc.) had their own in-house brands of outboard motors. Simpson-Sears outboards were Elgins and these skis were sold under the same brand name.

 

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These skis were certainly used but are are in very nice condition. The graphics are great, I just love them. I removed the fins for easier mounting and display.

 

 

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Here's another part of my collection. These are in a kids bedroom that I call the "rocket room" because of the rocket themed waterskis displayed in them. I think these pairs are from the late 50s or very early 60s but maybe someone here can help me fix the date with more certainty. Anyone?

 

The skis in both of these pairs are heavy and about 7 feet long. The red rocket Sea Gliders pair make me chuckle. The bindings are set quite far back and the rear pocket on the slalom ski is set way far back; almost at the tail of the ski. The fin on the slalom ski was huge. It was thick metal about 6" deep and weighed a ton. With all this weight so far back on the ski, the skier had to be doing a wheelie the whole time. I can't imagine what it would've been like to try and slalom on that thing. It had to have been very tricky.

 

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Canbar Clippers

 

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Sea Gliders

 

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@75Tique I always wanted that O'Brien Competitor as well. Apparently the image on it is not spray, it's actually the trees and shoreline on Herb O'Briens favorite lake (Radr Lake?). One of the members here told me that when I made the same comment about the spray. Had to settle for a World Team Comp as the Competitor was out of my price range at the time.
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If anyone is interested I have CNC'd graphics into old skis. Unlike my skis once the graphics are cut they may have to be painted. My skis have a contrasting second layer of wood that makes the graphics pop. Some of the old skis do have a lighter inside which looks pretty good.
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I've only cut a few vintage skis and they were not mine so they are at the owners. They look just like my skis but as I said the lettering and graphics are painted. I attached one of the first skis I ever did with painted graphics. This was before I devised the two layer method to form contrasting graphics.otr3r3j1wfnj.jpg

 

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I guess you could consider these chairs as part of my vintage waterski collection. I collected skis for quite awhile to get enough to make these two chairs. I'm now working on getting enough to make at least one more. They were made for me by the same master craftsman woodworker that did the restorations on a number of my inlaid mahogany Connelly Hooks and Comp 2s you can see in my first post.

 

I came up with the original design of these chairs taking the best elements out of several different designs I saw on the Internet. We also copied the ergonomics off the most comfortable Adirondack chair I had ever sat in to make sure these chairs would be ultra-comfortable. We succeeded in that aspiration. They're really comfortable.

 

I had only planned for the back rests to be made from three whole ski tips with the two side ones angled in a bit to approximate curvature for the back. It was my friend's idea to spend a great deal of time and effort on his tablesaw making high precision cuts on those ski tips so we could get real curvature on the backrest. I think it looks pretty good done that way and it sure helped make the chairs comfortable.

 

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You might notice that I didn't have quite enough skis to finish the second chair so my friend contributed some solid mahogany from his stash for the seat slats and front legs. Mahogany has excellent weather resistance so it'll hold up well on the deck.

 

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283eu64dd9qe.jpeg

 

I picked these up this summer to play around on, as well as to save my Kidder from being used by friends.

Amazing how such similar shapes feel so different. The EP is twitchy and loves to dive into turns, while the O'Brien is pretty mild mannered actually.

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