Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Query from Maurice Woehrle

Maurice Woehrle, who was a top design engineer at Rossignol for several decades, wrote to ask about some old skis:

As regards Kästle slalom skis, I had no answer from Kidd. I suppose that he does not remember if there was fiberglass in his skis. Another question about winning skis of the 64 Olympics: the downhill was won by Egon Zimmerman with Alu Steel from Fischer. As far as I remember, the edges of these skis were not bonded by glue but fixed by screws. Have you some idea about it? 

The question matters because Head had purchased the Chris Hoerhle patent on the continuous bonded edge, and was defending it aggressively. Thus a factory like Kneissl that refused to pay a royalty to Head had to use screws to hold on the edges, even if they were covered by the base plastic. Some 30 years ago I asked Joe Fischer about the Alu Steel. He had no access to the flexible contact cement used by Head to glue the steel to the aluminum. Instead he put rubber strips -- neoprene -- above the steel as shear layers, He believes he was the first to do this. So the answer, I believe, was no screws in the Alu Steel, and I don't know if Fischer paid royalties to Head.

Concerning the Kastle Slalom of 1964, I wrote an article about it for Skiing Heritage, because it was the last great wooden race ski and was used by all three medalists in slalom at the Innsbruck Olympics that year. The ski was of laminated ash top and bottom with a light core of okoume, and a decorative red plastic top skin -- but no fiberglass. Read the article here:


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