What were your most memorable Skis?

What was the most memorable ski you ever owned?  And I mean “memorable” in a positive sense.  I’m hoping you’ll share your most memorable skis by posting a comment!

hart javelins

hart javelins

Let me start things off by sharing my most memorable ski: the hart Javelin.  That is the correct spelling using the lower case “h”!

Maybe it’s because the Javelins were my first really good skis.  I had always skied on wooden skis and not even good wooden skis.  As I have shared before, I had a propensity for breaking wooden skis except for a pair of Northland Commanders.  By the time I graduated from college the Commanders could have qualified as rocker skis since any camber was long gone.  They were also missing segments of the screwed-on steel edges!

In 1968 the hart Javelins were state-of-the-art and they improved my skiing amazingly.  When I’d go back to ski with my old buddies, they’d ask what the secret to my improvement was.  The answer was simple: hart Javelins!

Another factor that made them memorable was their price.  At $200 they were one of the most expensive skis available and I paid full price.  In the autumn of 1968 I had visited the Alpine Shop in South Burlington many times to drool over those beautiful white and black Javelins.  Yes, they were expensive, but I was out of college and had a good paying job.  Sometime in October I walked in, pointed to a pair of hart Javelin GS 205’s and said “I’ll take those!”  It may not have been the easiest sale Jann Perkins ever made, but it had to be one of the quickest!  And, by the way, that was the first and last time I ever paid full price for a pair of skis.

The price and improved skiing led to another reason the Javelins were memorable.  Skiing on Javelins meant you got noticed.  They were a status symbol.  Some people would find that a detractor, but I believe the pressure actually helped me ski better.

I was never disappointed by the ski.  The Javelins were good in all conditions and particularly liked powder.  For skis of that era their combination of metal and fiberglass held pretty well on ice.  Actually at that time I thought they were great on ice, but one of the big improvements in skis since the 1960s is their ability to hold on good old Eastern ice.

hart javelin slalom model

hart javelin slalom model

Eventually I got a pair of 207 Javelin Slaloms which were even better on ice and in the moguls although I still preferred the GS in powder.  The Slalom Javelins created a love affair with the slalom ski that is still with me today.

A few years back hart came out with an anniversary model of the Javelin that had the same cosmetics as the original.  I was so tempted!  I even thought about paying full price, but practicality won out over sentimentality.

In 1952 Harry Holmberg worked for the Gregg Ski Company in St Paul, Minnesota.  He knew that being able to produce a ski with a seamless, integrated metal edge would revolutionize the ski industry, but he also knew that it presented manufacturing challenges.  So he turned to his brother Hartvig Holmberg and a friend, Ed Bjork, who had extensive manufacturing experience outside the ski industry.  The three started their own ski company and called it “hart” after Hartvig’s nickname (which had also been their father’s nickname)!

Stowe Ski Instructor Bob DiMario correctly answered last week’s trivia question knowing that the hart name derived from Hartvig Holmberg’s nickname.

Hart produced their first ski in 1955 and reached their peak success with the Javelin.  The company subsequently changed hands many times over the years.  The skis maintained a following in the freestyle community highlighted in the 1990s by the success of Jonny Moseley.  In 2005 Bill Holmberg Jr. regained family control of the company and hart skis are once again made here in the U.S. with the company headquartered in Ogden, Utah.

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19 Responses to What were your most memorable Skis?

  1. Tasha Wallis says:

    The first pair of skis that I fell in love with were a pair of bright blue Yamaha skis with Cub Co bindings. I was in elementary school and it was my first year of racing, must have been around 1970. Maybe you can help me identify them. I don’t know what they were called but they were certainly very blue.

  2. Tim Cross says:

    Ah, The hart Javeline. One of the most beautiful skis ever produced. That was my idol ski. I was all of 10 years of age in Boulder, CO. 1966 and learned to ski at Lake El Dora ski area[we called it Lake El Rocko! for obvious reasons if you have ever skied there] I wanted a pair of those skis so bad that I could taste em. For Christmas, a couple of years later I got my first pair, sort of. My folks bought me a pair of genuine imitation Javelines made by Hanover. From a distance they were dead ringers and I skied them very proudly for years to come. I never did get the real thing sadly. Later, in 1972 my cousin bought a pair of the red and black XXL Javelines with Marker Eplodeamat Bindings! He looked so cool in his Billy The Kid Captain America sweater until he fell, and of course the binding exploded along with him because he had such a hard time putting the spring back in the heal. Ah the sweat memories of yesteryear, I can still picture the bright sunlit January afternoon. Now I must go because I have decided that before I die I must have a pair of both of these sweet sweet skis!

  3. dave dean says:

    rossi Haute Route.. skied the crap out of them and later mounted pins on them . lasted a long time and were great in the trees of colorado.

  4. Richard Stibolt says:

    Dear Mr. Morrill,

    I have had many nice pairs of skis. Some of them I have been able to remember and a subset of these are listed below. I can’t remember the order in which I owned them and I am sure I have left some out.

    K-2 Competitions
    Spaulding Siderals (I think this is how the spelling went) were a favorite pair. They were bright orange and the LOOK Nevada bindings were canted. I think one side may have had 6 degrees and cant. They were easy to roll on edge.
    Dynamic VRMs. These skis gave a Cadillac ride at speed and seemed to have massive amounts of fiberglass in them. They were very heavy. If one can have more than one favorite pair these skis would also have been a favorite.

    I had some Rossignol ST650s and a pair of ROC 550s if I remember the model names correctly.

    There were Fischer Alu-Steels in their somewhere whose tips I kept bending and maybe some other Fischers. I think I had some Atomics as well.

    Great skis I never owned but would have liked to have were Spaulding Formidables (which had a beautiful transparent lemony fluorescent yellow color) and Dynamic VR-17s.

    Thanks for your column.

    Sincerely,

    Richard Stibolt

    • Will Spalding says:

      Richard,

      The brand name for the skis (and all of the sporting goods – basketballs, baseballs, etc.) was and is spelled without the “U”. Check it out:
      > http://www.spalding.com
      I never owned a pair of Spalding skis, but I had friends who loved them. Aside from my current Stockli XXL skis (which are fabulous), my most memorable pair of skis were Dynastar S130, circa 1977. They also happened to be my first brand new pair, and on them I was able to carve a turn for the very first time!

      Will (no close relation to the sporting goods company) Spalding

  5. philip "buster" marin says:

    Was working at Hunter Mtn. in 80/81 and purchased a pair of Spalding 450 Squaudra-Corses,201cm in slalom flex on a pro-form.Paired w/Marker MRR’S,they turned out to be the best pair of boards I ever skiied.Turned a lot of heads when brought back to Maine,as they were quite rare in these parts.Wish i still had them.

  6. Kevin says:

    Someone mentioned Dynamic skis giving “a cadillac ride at speed” well, I had a pair of 1968 Kneissl White Stars that were really the cadillacs of that era! 215 cm, naturally, I still have them!!!

  7. David Minton says:

    Oh, please! My Head Comp GS’s circa 1960 (nevada toe and turntable) were sublime. Traded my Lionel Trains back to my dad for them, and bless his heart he held me to the deal.

  8. David Minton says:

    Of course, coming back to the sport after a 10 year layoff (didn’t set foot on a mountain from 68 to 78) my first pair of Dynastars were like driving a Lotus (the Head Comps were like a Corvette big block).

  9. eric klein says:

    Rossignol 3-G all the olympians had them then they came out with the Teal ones, loved them

  10. Lander Bowker says:

    Hart Javelin’s with Nevada step in bindings did the trick for me from the powder in the back bowls of Vail to MaryJane before it was a Ski Resort. Great powder ski and the few times I needed to turn they did the trick!

  11. Joe R. says:

    I really enjoyed my hart Javelins, I got a pair in 1969 and they always made me happy with their performance. Unfortunately, they were stolen later that season. My parents’ homeowners policy paid for replacing them. Being 17 years old at the time, I thought ‘upgrading’ to Kneissl White Star, was a good idea. Well…I liked the prestigious White Stars, but they weren’t as lively as the Javelin. I should’ve replaced the harts. Oh well…

  12. edward says:

    my first pair of skii’s were fischer quick super’s, with solomon 444 binding’s.
    they were a smooth ski and nice for longer downhill runs they were fast too, kinda thick and a bit heavy.
    but stable. cut good. never had any problems with them at all.

  13. David Landman says:

    Wow, what a great question. Some of my favorites from the 70s, racing on the VARA circuit:
    Dynamic VR17, prob a 203 or 207cm.
    Rossignol Strato with A3 serial number (special World Cup racing stock). 200cm.
    Head XR-1 (bright orange one piece vaccum molded). 203 or 205 cm.
    Rossi ST-650 and ROC -550. 207 and 210.
    Dnyastar MV2 , 210 cm.
    Hexcel Comp, 205cm.

    These were all insanely too long for me at 5’9″.
    I usually paired them up with a Look toe and a Marker Rotomat heel. Again, insane.

    • harry lauber says:

      absolutely right………….
      VR 17, strato, ST 650, HEXCEL
      earlier than that you forgot:
      HEAD Comp HEAD Master
      Hart Javelin, Kneissl White and Red Star, Kästle forgot the name, cost swiss francs 1000.– 1972, which was a fortune
      all the SPALDINGS, Lamborghini, right there was a LAMBO ski…………

  14. Broderick B says:

    Absolute favorite two skis were the Spalding Squadra Corse GS, 210 cm and the Dynamic VR-27 SL, 207 cm. Marker MR bindings for both were an unbeatable combination. Yes that is MR not MRR. For my purposes they were more than adequate bindings. I still have both of them and plan on taking them out for many runs this next season. Too cheap to lay out a bunch of $$$$ for new equipment when these work fine and I have fun!

    An interesting story about the Spalding S. C. was that the year before they were a solid model on the market there were three of us from Dave Cook Sporting Goods main store that went to the retailer trade fair at Copper Mountain where we got to ski everything we wanted that was coming out the next year. We normally skied together but didn’t get to at that years trade fair. Upon returning we each ordered a pair of skis but didn’t talk about it. A few weeks later the Spalding order came in and all three of us had ordered the same skis: Spalding Squadra Corse GS, 210′s. We enjoyed a lot of skiing together on those great boards over the next few years.

  15. Carlos says:

    I have some Spalding old school skis but would love to know if they woth something :( ca you please help me out? if youcan mail me, i’m camarapvm@hotmail.com thank you! And no scams here! just a kid with very nice skis

  16. Ray Allard says:

    I’ve owned many fine skis, having been in the snowsports business my entire life. But the pair I remember most were the Head X-R 1′s. Super light, lots of rebound, great edge grip, and sexy red/orange graphics. They were hard to come by; I got mine because I was the ski school director at Gore Mt. and we were a “Headway” GLM school, a program headed up by Karl Pfiffer.

  17. Matt Broze says:

    Having broken about 30 pair of skis in my life, a lot of skis were memorable. As a teenager my dads’ spare pair of 7’2″ Friedl Pheifers got me started skiing really fast. They replaced a pair of severely warped wood skis. They had a severe twist in them, both the same way so you didn’t notice it when you put them together with a block of wood between them, but the twist explained why my mother wondered why I had such a different technique when turning to the right or to the left. After breaking three skis out of two identical pairs of the the 7’2″ skis. I rented some Head Standards for a college ski weekend. They were so squirrelly I didn’t dare get going too fast. The ski shop sold me some 215mm Head Giant Slaloms. I chose Heads for their especially long (two year) guarantee (good thing too). Once competing in what became freestyle I used 215 Head 720′s (the only skis I owned at the time) in my first contest in 1972 in Sun Valley and tied for 4th place in the ballet. Later I tried out a pair of 210 Hart Comps. They were the first ski I like better on my first run than what I had been skiing on and comfortable with. The Harts broke easily but I was sponsored (free skis and matching prize money) by then. After I broke all the free Harts I had I bought most of my skis at thrift stores and garage sales. That delayed me from discovering shaped skis for about ten years (after all I could carve straight skis quite well and had heard that shaped skis were squirrelly). Then I found a pair of K2 threes for $25 at a garage sale. I found my rather unorthodox technique was ready made for shaped skis. Once I learn to not land a jump on edge with them I was good to go. Imagine landing a jump and doing a 360 spin in a full squat. I was so glad to have pulled that off and not crashed that I was doing the Nixon victory V as I stood back up. Lesson learned though. My skis are much shorter now (quicker turns) and I’m very picky about what I buy used. Narrow waist, lots of flair, especially at the tails (helps carving and tracking when pressuring the tails-but watch out in powder if the tails are too wide). Until I kinked them (an interesting lesson for me resulted) a pair of $10 thrift store 165mm Blizzard Carvers were my favorites. I even paid $450 for a little used pair of 160mm Volkl Race Tiger’s because they had nearly the same shape (and a guarantee I could return them if I didn’t like them). Great skis on ice and in racing ruts but way too springy for moguls, but I’m glad I kept them. My favorite skis of all time are 158 Elan SCX’s (about a 60mm midsection–quicker edge changes and less effort to keep on edge when under a lot of pressure, but they need high off the ski bindings to prevent boot-out during high edge angle carved turns). I’ve had to glue about 18″ of edge back in one of them several times so far, but I’ve kept them going for several seasons now. I’ve picked up a few other pair of SCX’s that might, hopefully, replace them when they finally give up the ghost into unrepairability. I have also collected a quiver of similarly shaped thrift store skis, that ski pretty well, as back ups.

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