HISTORY OF SKI POLES

10,000 years ago     

Earliest known stick (of wood, probably a ski stick with a shovel-type top) found from Star Carin Yorkshire, England.

 

6000 years ago

Representations of a skier with a stick in a cave painting in Bola, Norway and ~ 5700 years ago, a ski stick found in Sweden.

 

Up to the 1900’s                    

Most skiers used a single stick of hardwood, f. ex. hazelnut or bamboo,1.8-2.5 m long, usually with a steel tip and without a grip;

no basket but often what was called a “braking disk”, latter of full wood, metal or hard rubber. Some sticks had on top decorations

such as a spoon, a spear head, a shovel, an ice axe, etc. The sticks served for balancing, braking and turning. However, there is

already an illustration of two poles in the “English Atlas of Moses Pitt 1680-83” and in 1843 a young Finn won a cross-country ski

race in Norway most likely as he used two sticks.

 

1900-1914

One or two poles (in the UK called sticks), 120-150 cm long, of hazelnut, hickory, bamboo, cane or Tonkin (latter two are kinds of

bamboo, Tonkin being strongest), with or without grips, with or without grips nor narrow rawhide or larger leather straps; with or

without baskets (located about 10 cm above the tips), 15-20 cm diameter; basket rings of one or double rattan or metal, attached

to leather or leather straps hold to stick. Also rawhide basket (made of untanned cattle hide).

 

1914-1945                    

Two matching poles made of hazelnut, bamboo or Tonkin, 120-150 cm long, with leather grip and strap; metal ferrule from tip to

above basket, latter of 15-20 cm diameter with one or double rattan rings attached to 4 leather straps, occasionally with 4 extra

leather lacing. Some poles featured easy dismantling of the baskets for adapting the size of latter to the snow condition.

1930-1945

Bamboo, cane or Tonkin shafts, reinforced with linen or tape; also with celluloid coating.

1931

Poles by Russer of Switzerland (patent CH150336): Baskets without requiring a hole in the shaft besides easily exchangeable grips.

1932                             

Poles by Reuge of Switzerland (patent CH165184): Adjustable shafts in lengths. Poles by Amstutz (patent CH164871): Linen reinforced

and adjustable grips.

1933

John B. Dickson patented shafts of steel

1934                             

Shafts of aluminum alloy such as Duralumin, cylindrical, extruded; baskets 15-20 cm diameter of rattan reinforced by a metal

ring attached to 4 leather straps.

1936

Poles by Müro of Switzerland: adjustable shafts in length. Shafts of hickory wood with hexagonal cross-section.

1938

Shafts of conical steel.

1939

White Steel shafts (for military).

 

1947

Poles by Kandahar of Switzerland: Shafts adjustable in length.

 

1948

Poles by Labor of Switzerland: Baskets equipped with springs (instead of leather straps) so that baskets are automatically relocated in

the horizontal position.

 

1958

Tapered aluminum shafts (Scott)

 

1960

Poles by Borda of Switzerland: Could be used as avalanche probe after one grip and the baskets were removed and both shafts joined

together. Colored shafts, later with inscriptions; basket of hard rubber or plastic with or without outer of aluminum-ring.

 

1968

Glass fiber shafts for cross country

 

1970

Round double molded plastic nylon baskets: Ring in one material and the cross in another (by Liljedahl). Grips and baskets

(without ring) made of plastic or hard rubber; strap of leather or fabric; first curved shafts (for downhill racing)

 

1971

Tele pole: Variable tips for different type of snow

 

1972

Triangular nylon baskets (for cross country by Liljedahl). Bent tip below baskets for easier removal out of snow (for cross

country by Liljedahl)

 

1974

Shafts of Zicral (zinc aluminum alloy); spherical "basket" (for downhill racing)

 

1975

Plastic grips with hand protection (for slalom) Shafts of carbon fiber (lighter and stronger than steel) were patented by Exel

Composites Co. and initially used by cross-county ski racers

 

1980

Basket made of plastic or rubber, round or star-shaped of approx. 3” diameter; cone shaped "basket" (for downhill racing)

 

1982

Carbon boron shafts (for cross country by Swix)

 

1989

T shaped double molded grips for cross-country (by Swix - used in biathlon with German Sven Fischer)

 

1990

X-Light carbon shafts (by Komperdell)

 

1994

Bent poles (reducing drag at high speed) with IPM technology (Internal Pressure Molding) – downhill gold medal Olympics 1994

with Lasse Kjus

 

2006

Carbon shafts with grip integrated in carbon (for cross country by Force Swix)

 

2009

Carbon shafts with triangular section (for cross country - by Triac Swix) Interchangeable basket system (for cross-country without

use of glue - by Triac Swix)

 

2015

Poles for “4-seaons”, very easily and quickly adjustable via a button on the grip (best new gear award of the year – “Stiletto”

by Kompersell)

© 2017 by Pierre Schneider

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