Rosemounts

The first generally available plastic boots were introduced in 1965.  There was the Lange boot, a familiar name today, but there was also a less familiar name: Rosemount!

The Rosemount company located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, was (and is) a high tech company that in the 50’s and 60’s specialized in making sensors for supersonic jet aircraft and missiles.  The company’s President in that era was Frank Werner who like many of us got hooked on skiing.  He was an inventor and recognized an opportunity for technology to produce a better ski boot.  Since the company was looking to diversify into more consumer-oriented products, Werner somehow was able to convince them to make a plastic ski boot.

Rosemount Boots
Rosemount Boots

The Rosemount was not like any other ski boot and it did not look like any other ski boot.  It incorporated some ideas that were ahead of their time: easy side entry, built-in cant adjustments, and flex adjustments.  Granted that last one literally involved elastic bands – there were different sets of elastic bands for soft, medium, or stiff forward flex. 

However the way you had to fit the boot to your foot perhaps wasn’t ahead of its time.  There were pockets inside the boot where you could place pillows filled with a secret flow material.  Once you got the pillows right, the fit was good, but getting them right was a trial-and-error process.  Oh, and rumor has it that you didn’t get enough of the pillows with the boot to guarantee a fit.  So the company sold a not-cheap fitting kit that included more pillows.

Rosemount Pockets and Pillows
Rosemount Pockets and Pillows

The Rosemount was not like any other ski boot and it did not look like any other ski boot.  It incorporated some ideas that were ahead of their time: easy side entry, built-in cant adjustments, and flex adjustments.  Granted that last one literally involved elastic bands – there were different sets of elastic bands for soft, medium, or stiff forward flex. 

However the way you had to fit the boot to your foot perhaps wasn’t ahead of its time.  There were pockets inside the boot where you could place pillows filled with a secret flow material.  Once you got the pillows right, the fit was good, but getting them right was a trial-and-error process.  Oh, and rumor has it that you didn’t get enough of the pillows with the boot to guarantee a fit.  So the company sold a not-cheap fitting kit that included more pillows.

Rosemount owners tended to have a love/hate relationship with their boots.  Benny Wax of Inner Bootworks remembers sitting beside a trail at Hunter Mountain with his Rosemount boots off and his sock-covered feet stuck in the snow because they hurt so much!  But he actually liked the boot once he got the fit correct. 

From a business perspective there was another problem with the Rosemount: the cost of making a pair of boots was twice the selling price!  This led to Rosemount selling its ski boot division to G. H. Bass in 1968.  The boot name stayed Rosemount, but was no longer part of the Rosemount Company.   Bass continued the line until about 1973.

Rosemount Ski Boot at Inner Bootworks, Stowe, VT
Rosemount Ski Boot at Inner Bootworks, Stowe, VT

You can see examples of Rosemount boots at the Vermont Ski Museum or at Inner Bootworks where Benny Wax has a pair on display (no, they aren’t the same pair he almost abandoned at Hunter Mountain).  

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10 Responses to Rosemounts

  1. Toni Cook says:

    I have a pair of boots identical to the ones in the picture above that says “Rosemount ski boot at Inner Bootworks, Stowe, VT”. I sell on ebay & was wanting to list them but don’t know much about them, any information about them & there value would be greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely Toni Cook
    435-724-2472

  2. Rick Rowell says:

    The worst purchase I ever made in my more than 40 years of alpine skiing – Rosemont boots. They were incredibly difficult to fit right. They were always ice cold inside. They were very heavy and bulky. They leaked especially on very cold days when the door seal and aluminum did not seal well. They were hell to walk in. They totally isolated you from the feel of the ski and snow. Limited binding selections due to the rear shape and small “heel.”

    Other than those problems, they were world class. The salesman who sold me on them was probably the greatest of all time. I gave them to my older brother before the end of the season.

  3. Marc W. Mauss says:

    I have 2 pairs of Rosemount boots. I bought the first ones (black) in 1968 from Emilio’s Ski Shop in Forest Hills, NY. They were fitted using the “pillows” mentioned above, but I was unaware of any limitation to the number of “pillows”, as the fitting was done in the shop. The process took a couple of hours, but resulted in the most comfortable boots I’ve EVER had. I skied in them for two or three days each week throughout the season (in downstate NY) as a ski patroller.

    The second pair I bought for my (then-)wife in about 1970. They were red and blue, as in the picture above. They were fitted by injecting (supposedly) the same conformable material that was in my “pillows”. IIRC, the fit was not quite as perfect as with the pillows, but took significantly less time.

  4. Steve Fralin says:

    Dr. Werner now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is a resident at the assisted living community I am the chef of. An avid skier myself I have enjoyed many great conversations with Frank and his inventions. He loves to talk about skiing and I love hearing about the birth of the sport in America. He was on the forefront of advancing technology for today’s equipment.
    I have also had the honor of getting to know Mel Dalebout the inventor of Dale Boots. These two gentlemen are amazing figures in the world of ski history. Regardless of how there boots actually felt on your feet (I’ve had many modern boots that are terrible) guys like this paved the way for what we know today!

  5. I purchased my 1st pair of Rosemount Boots about 1969, these were the black ones, then when the “Jet Sticks” and “Cheetahs” came out I bought the Red and Blue ones with the adjustable forward lean. With the Cheetahs to spread out the load on the back of your leg the combination allowed for some very fast skiing without to much pain. The “Summit at Snoqualmie” in Washington State had their 75th Anniversary this year and if you go to their website under 75th Anniversary and then Photo Booth, there is a photo of myself wearing the blue and red Rosemounts, the Cheetahs, and carrying a pair of the yellow Stein Eriksen L-21′s, all equipment I used back in the day.

    • John Behan says:

      I too had a pair of these Rosemount red and blue beauties in the 70s. And yes the Jet Stix were exactly what was needed to make the boots perform as well as any boots I’ve had since. Back in the day we were able to crush mobile runs get huge air and perform fantastic tricks on these babies. I still say their equipment is as good as the performance of any boots I’ve had since.

  6. Glenn Pauls says:

    I had a pair of the red and blue Rosemounts as a pre-teen. My Dad, Edward Pauls was one of the engineers that developed the boot and binding. He followed them to Bass Shoe (Bass Sports) and when they dropped the line Dad bought the remaining boxes of bindings. He went on to design the Burt bindings for Tool Products then did the Flip Ski for the handicapped and the Nordic Track ski exerciser at his own company.
    I only skied the boots for two years as they were only made to size 12. I used the bindings until the mid 80s as they were very safe. I even had a pair on a Mono-ski.

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