Ford Sayre Ski Club
It’s All About the Skis (and never give up)
My first jumping skis were a pair of old Northlands, rented from the Ford Sayre program. As they had received no attention to the bottoms in many, many years they were taken to Omer LaCasse’s ski shop in Hanover, NH and were a coated with Ebonite, a speedy black compound better known for it’s use in bowling balls. Then off to Sample’s Hill in Norwich, VT where you were dropped off at the top of the in-run. The big kids could usually strap on their skis and jump, but us little guys had to walk down to the knoll and ride the landing hill first. When you could ride the landing hill and stand, you could go up and jump.
For the next two months, twice a week, I would ride the landing hill, get to the transition and pitch to the right on my face. Time and time again. Without fail. Toward the end of the season some kind soul noticed my plight. Further examination of the skis showed monstrous camber plus a warp in one ski. I was told to bring my alpine skis to the next practice and was able to run the landing with no problem and finally jump. I was hooked!
A few years later, another pair of Evil Northlands whose edge de-laminated on the table of the 40 meter hill at Maple Valley (near Brattleboro) and sent me face first into the crusty snow on the knoll. Then more Northlands, with blue bottoms, yellow bottoms, maybe even green bottoms. Whatever color they happened to have on hand at the plant. Flying Finns (rotten to the core),Kongsberg (red meatball on the tails), and Splitkeins.
In college it was Elan, whose tips could be straightened if placed in the oven at 350-400 degrees for an hour or so and then bent back into shape. Alpine and XC skiers always seemed to have plenty of new skis available.
Finally in my senior year at Middlebury College a new pair of beautiful orange Fischers, which the head coach (cross country skier) attempted to ruin by stenciling MIDD in GIANT BLUE LETTERS on the tips and tails. Paint thinner was handy and catastrophe averted!
Being close to Christmas, I am reminded that Omer LaCasse (of Omer & Bob’s Ski Shop in Hanover, NH) used to erect a huge trestle ski jump in his store window covered with artificial snow and tiny ski jumpers. What a sight!
|Tom ski jumping for Hanover High School in 1972 on Elans whose tips could be straightened by baking in an oven at 350-400 degrees.|