Skiing and boarding equipment have come a long way through the decades. The days of going down the mountain on wooden skis are long gone. "Skiing on the old skis, even though we all learned how to do it, is very, very difficult," said Rob Apple.
Apple knows how far we've come. He's the treasurer of the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, a treasure trove of historic winter sports memorabilia. "You can walk into this museum and you can get an appreciation for how the sport of downhill skiing has evolved in Vermont," he said.
This year the focus is on nordic skiing at the museum in Stowe. "There's a 1952 cross country ski. You don't see many of those," Apple said. "You can see the evolution. Wood, wood, wood, fiberglass, fiberglass."
The materials that make up both nordic and alpine skis have become much more sophisticated through the years. While the shape of nordic skis remains pretty much the same, alpine skis are now shaped to make turning easier than ever before. Snowboards have made similar advances. "Some of the original snowboards that Jake and Donna Carpenter put together when they were starting the Burton company," Apple said.
Our means of getting up the mountain has also undergone big changes. The museum houses one of the original single chairs used on Mount Mansfield from about 1940. "I remember coming to ski at Mount Mansfield with my father, who was an avid skier, and getting on one of those with big blankets," Apple said.
Look up in the museum and you'll also see an original Gondola from Sugarbush, a T-bar, J-bar, poma lift and the more modern triple and quad chairs. A ski and board museum wouldn't be complete without a nod towards the 10th Mountain Division, a volunteer group of mountain fighting soldiers from World War II. "Some of the early downhill skiers who went to President Roosevelt and said we think there ought to be a Mountain Division. There are Germans fighting in the mountains so we need a division," Apple said.
Some of their skis, tents, uniforms, snowshoes, climbing equipment and climbing ropes --among other items -- are all on display. "Many of the veterans of the 10th Mountain Division who made it back, went and formed ski areas," Apple said. Ski areas like Stowe and Mad River Glen -- places where skiers are enjoying all those advances in equipment technology.
And we're not done advancing yet. "It's evolving continually," Apple said.
Admission to the museum is $5 for individuals, or $10 for the family.
Friday, March 7 2014 7:28 PM EST2014-03-08 00:28:44 GMT
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