Remember Lange’s “Soft Inside”?

Now this ad turned a few heads back in 1969. Credit: Lange

I get it. It’s not easy to sell skis. With so many advances in ski design, there are tons of great skis out there. So how does a brand differentiate their products from others? Just like they always have, advertising and marketing. This means slogans, endorsements, performance claims, use of exotic materials and “systems” and of course, transference (associating the product with being sexy, unique, rugged…See Lange boot ad above.)

Sprinkled in among the gibberish is useful information such as amount of rocker, turning radius, profile, and such. But most of it is nonsensical, indecipherable, and unintentionally amusing.

Back in the 1970s, some Fischer skis had wooden cores “made up of finely-cut laminations of lightweight African Okoume”. Rossignol skis were touted as “the greatest moment-makers that ever smoked the slopes”. Regarding one of their skis, Hart stated, “If you’re a swinger who skis for the sheer fun of it, Jubilee is your baby”.

Hexcel had a honeycomb metal core. Credit: Pugski

In the 1980s, Hexcel skis had an “aerospace-proven honeycomb/prepeg technology”. Atomic advertised that their skis had a new “Hy-Vitronic System” and Dynastar skis had a “metal ‘omega’ rib for torsional stiffness”. Not to be outdone, Molnar skis had a “unique Prismatic construction consisting of two channeled fiberglass blanks mated along the ski’s neutral axis”.

In the 1990s, Tyrolia urged buyers to go with Tyrolia skis because you’ll be with a “fast and smooth crowd.” Rossignol asserted that their skis are “limited only by your courage”. Meanwhile K2 had a ski with “TRIXIAL SYSTEM 3” which “balances flex, torsion and lateral deflection”.

In the 2000s, Salomon skis had “hard elastomer transmitters”.  Atomic had skis that had “the reviewers drooling, so if you want a pair, you’d better jump”, and Rossingnol had the “Powerpulson System”.

In the 2010s, Head race skis only began “to work at speeds that would get your ticket pulled.” Volkl hawked a ski that was “just a little piece of heaven in the big scheme of things, but heaven nonetheless”. Atomic promoted a ski with “double-deck construction”. The two decks were “joined by rubbery fasteners.”

And, nowadays, little has changed. Some Volkl skis have “Multi Layer reinforced wood core, powered by titanium and UVO (Ultimate Vibration Object)”, and high-end Head skis have KERS. This “technology works like a turbo charger that provides additional power and acceleration by stiffening the tail of the ski in out turns. The effect: a boost, catapulting the rider into the next turn. Just like when Formula 1 pilots push a button for that extra notch of speed.”

Kers, whatever that is. Credit: Don Burch

I have a pair of Head skis with KERS, and I love them. Of course, I have no idea whether KERS has anything to do with my liking the skis, but I’m hoping next year they’ll have a button I can push for that speed boost!

12 Comments

  1. what a great article

  2. Good show, Don! Now that’s what SeniorsSkiing is all about. A historical hike with a keen observational slant

  3. Avatar Jack Murray says:

    It’s the same with golf clubs.

  4. It’s the same today but even more so! I’m stunned from a week of researching a new carving ski. The message generally means, “ your skiing will improve with our ski” and it works because we all want to believe that.

  5. Don –
    Nice article. However, I’m thinking your Lange girl may be an “imposter”. I have the original, and the girl in your poster is not that woman. Also, in that era, I’m pretty sure Lange wasn’t making anything but Black boots, which is the color of the boots on the “original” soft inside poster. It would be nice to see more articles like this one. Keep those tips up! (Anybody have that one?) Thanks!
    Bob Fuge

    • Avatar Michael Maginn says:

      I think you might have a point. Something about the Lange girl was not quite right. Curious, eh? An imposter.

    • Avatar John Caspers says:

      Hi Bob,
      Remember me? (Hint: MMSC Racing)
      I do indeed have a copy of the “Keep those tips up!” poster. I had that poster up in my old apartment for years 🙂 (before I got married).
      It’s a beauty!
      John Caspers

  6. No speed limit on my Nordicas except me !!

  7. Now I realize why I bought those Lange boots in 1974. And they only lasted for 34 years of regular skiing. I had to retire them to my attic a few years ago when the second metal buckle broke. The plastic was always in good shape and still is.

  8. Phil and Steve designed their K2s with stiff tails. I tried to follow Phil once, but with every turn, he accelerated off the tails. I couldn’t keep up. Imagine that!

  9. Hi John
    Yes, I do remember you ! Those MMSC race days were great memories!
    Those were the good old days! I’ll have to dig out that poster again., and put it up. (In my basement, of course!) Lange had it figured out, how to sell ski boots.
    Bob Fuge

  10. Avatar Jon Weisberg says:

    My fave was K2’s evolution graphic showing our human ascent. Terrific article, Don. Thank you!

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