For the past couple of posts I’ve been writing about leather ski boots. Saturday, January 8th, I was on the Perry Merrill trail when I spied a pair, well actually two pairs, of leather boots! I chased the couple down and met Tom and Irene Light. They were skiing in leather Alpina Telemark boots. To use those in an Alpine set-up Tom had employed old Look Nevada toe pieces (50’s vintage with the short wings) that would handle the square boot toes combined with some 80’s vintage Salomon step-in heel pieces.
Tom tried plastic boots in the 1960’s when they first came out, but found he had to change his technique to use them. He proceeded to demonstrate a wedeln series of turns with his feet locked together. He said he didn’t feel an equipment change should force him to learn a whole new way of skiing!
Hmmmmmm? Interesting. I guess I always accepted those technique adjustments as progress. I definitely ski a whole lot different today than I did in the 1960′s and a lot of the differences relate to equipment! Shaped skis finally forced me to keep my skis apart – well, at least further apart than I used to have them! Now my new boots have less forward lean so I’m making that adjustment.
Tom Light holds a patent on a plastic device that would go over the sole of a leather boot to make it compatible with modern DIN release bindings. You can check details of his patent here.
He says he did not have the funding to pursue his idea as a product, but believes there would be a market for it. He thinks that even new skiers would appreciate the comfort and flexibility leather offers.
When I suggested Tom was a true RetroSkier, he replied that he might actually be an avant-garde skier, ahead of his time! With that Tom and his wife Irene wedeled their way down the Perry Merrill.