John Fry's column in the new September 2010 issue SKI Magazine recounts the modern history of the breakaway slalom pole. But he reports that he missed an earlier development. John writes:
In John Jerome's book The Man on the Medal, when Dick Durrance was racing as a teenager in Bavaria in 1932 he recalled, "A friend of mine named Hannes Totenhaupt and I devised slalom flags that would stay put when they were hit. We'd take an old bedspring, wind it around a steel spike on one end, and stick a dowel on the other end to hold the flag. I guess we sort of invented precursors to the breakaway poles they use nowadays."