Wooden Ski Brands and Manufacturers
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R. Amundsen & Co. ski factory was located in Oslo, Norway. Roald Amundsen was a famous polar explorer who ventured to the North Pole and had his skis for that expedition made by L. H. Hagen company of Oslo. Hagen made 20 pair of hickory skis for Amundsen. L. H. Hagen was not only a ski maker, but a wooden wheel maker.
German-born Heinrich Beck met Reidar Amundsen, while working in Germany. They discussed exporting Norwegian skis to Germany. They saw a huge potential market in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Poland, Italy and France. In January of 1922, Reidar Amundsen formed the company R. Amundsen A / S. Immediately, the company had name recognition because people thought that the ski company was named for Roald Amundsen. Reidar was a broker and sold skis manufactured in various ski factories in Norway to other countries in Europe.
In May 1925 Reidar decided to open his own ski factory, so R. Amundsen A / S Ski Fabrikk opened in Vålerengen, Norway with 47 - year-old Einar Olsen as foreman. The original wheel-maker Olsen had worked over fifteen years, first at L.H. Hagen ski factory, followed by Johansen and Nielsen ski factory. Five men worked at the R. Amundsen ski factory in 1927. Amundsen explored selling his skis in Canada and the United States at that time. Due to a slow market and low sales, the R. Amundsen A / S ski factory sold its assets in 1932 to Thorleif Haug, of Drammen, Norway for 500 kroners. Thorleif Haug was the winner of all three Nordic skiing events (18 km, 50 km and Nordic combination) at the 1st Olympic Winter Games in 1924
Source: Skimakerne. 1997. Thor Gotaas
In Seattle, Washington, Jørgen Aaland experimented with making a laminated ski, a ski made up of multiple layers of wood glued together. Recognizing the complexity involved in manufacturing such a ski, Aaland approached Ray Anderson who was a skier and President of a furniture manufacturing company. In 1933 Anderson joined with Ben Thompson to start the Anderson & Thompson Ski Company, later known as the A&T Ski Company. They implemented Aaland’s ideas and began manufacturing laminated skis. Despite the fact that the lamination approach was Aaland’s idea, the U.S. patent was issued to Ray Anderson in 1936.
Henry Simonson bought the Anderson and Thompson Ski Co. with John Woodward in 1955 and sold it in 1975. A&T made skis until 1958, then purchased skis, boots, bindings from around the world and became a distributor.
In 1961, A & T Ski Company helped Bill Kirschner, a partner in the family business Kirschner Manufacturing, get started with his new ski manufacturing company. In 1964, Kirschner produced his first batch of 250 pairs of skis. In 1967, Kirschner separated his business from Kirschner Manufacturing and changed the name to K2
Source: A & T Catalogue
Alexis Andreef was born in Russia in 1910. He started manufacturing sporting goods in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Andreef not only made skis, but tennis rackets, chairs, and other wooden products. Andreef received a patent for a variation of laminated ski in 1945.
In 1940, Canadian ABC was founded by Heinz Kuch as an importer and distributor of skis. This company was associated to the ABC Company from Sweden. In the mid-1940s, ABC acquired the assets of the Andreef ski plant, and became a laminate ski manufacturer.
Made in the Czech Republic
"Arvid's Style of Norway" Company, was based in Detroit, and was an importer and marketer of cross- country skis, boots, poles and bindings, as well as a line of accessories complementing the cross-country skiing equipment.
The Kellwood Company from St. Louis, MO acquired "Arvid's Style of Norway" in 1972. "Arvids" was a trademark of the Kellwood Company, and was registered in 1973. Kellwood Company is now a leading international private label and brand label manufacturer, marketer, and merchandiser of apparel, home furnishings, and recreational products.
Skis were manufactured for Kellwood by one of the major ski producers in Norway at the time.
ASKJEM and ELITE
Ole Askjem, started Askjem ski factory in Andebu, Norway in 1936 after learning ski production, while working at the Gravdal Ski Factory in Andebu. The following year Askjem Ski Factory was moved to Stokke. Kjell Erik Askjem says that they began to experiment with fiberglass skis in 1965 and that the factory was the first mass-produced fiberglass ski. He learned a lot about the way fiberglass skis were made from the Bonna Ski Factory in Lommedalen, Norway.
Gradually foreign ski manufacturers began to threaten the existence of Norwegian ski factories. Askjem ski factory eventually merged with Kongsberg ski factory, but in 1975 it was over. Askjem ski factory shut its doors in 1975.
Elite skis were manfactured by Askjem for distribution in the United States.
Erling Askjem (from left), Ole Askjem and Kjell Erik
Askjem in Askjem ski factory in Stokke, 1967.
Åsnes Turski ca. 1970 ***
Images by woodenskis.com
Åsnes Ski Factory started the first commercial manufacturing
of Åsnes skis back in 1922 when the four Åsnes brothers
began the ski production on a small scale. Arne Åsnes, the eldest
in a Christian family of nine, got a job at LC Hagens ski factory in
Oslo in 1910. After a short time, he was joined by three brothers and
in 1922 they started up the Åsnes Ski Factory.
Åsnes delivered his last wooden skis to the military in 1987 and later went bankrupt in 1998.
Åsnes manufactured various other brands to be sold in the United States during the 1970s, including Janoy, Telemark, Holmenkollen, Sigmund Ruud, Norge Ski, and Trysil Knut. Customers in Norway and abroad knew little about Åsnes' profusion of models, only that they were Norwegian.
The skis shipped to the United States in all of the different brands also had different colors, such as brown, teal, and red. Skiers in Norway were happy buying Åsnes skis, but skiers in the United States were attracted to the other brands made by Åsnes, due to the brands' myths and cult-status.
Åsnes skis were imported from Norway to the United States by Haugen Nordic Products, a division of Dartmouth Outdoor Sports, Hanover, NH.
The four brothers who started Åsnes Ski Factory at work. On the left, Kristian, in the middle of the image Kolbjørn, further to the right Jonas and Leif. In the background to the right of Kristian sons Jonas, Lars (with cutter) and Jon at work.
From Åsnes's image collection.
Founded in 1893 by Louis Bamberger as L. Bamberger & Company in Newark, New Jersey, in 1912 the company built its landmark flagship store designed by Jarvis Hunt at 131 Market Street (Hunt would also design the Newark Museum following a gift from Bamberger). In 1929, Bamberger's was purchased by R.H. Macy Co., which allowed Bamberger to keep their name.
In the mid-1930s Bamberger's was one of the sponsors that brought winter snow trains from Newark and the surrounding area to High Pointe State Park in Sussex. They also ran snow trains to the Poconos and Hazelton, PA.
In 1937 L. Bamberger Company built a small ski slope inside of their store, so that customers could try out ski equipment. It was about 60 ft. long and 12 ft. wide. It was carpeted and borax soap crystals were installed to give it the look and feel of real snow. Two ski instructors in the store gave free ski lessons.
In the 1930s and 1940s Bambergers would hold winter sports shows and carnivals inside of their store.
These skis were made by one of the ski manufacturing companies in the United States.
Source: Skiing in New Jersey. Elizabeth Holste. 2005
Beconta, Inc., of New York, imported skis and accessories from Norway and Europe to the USA. Beconta was one of the largest ski importers in the United States. Their brands included Völkl, Nordica and Look. Beconta was incorporated in 1959 and in 1971, Beconta was the exclusive distributor in the United States of a brand of skis manufactured in Germany by the Volkl Company. Beconta, Inc. was dissolved in 1993.
Images by woodenskis.com
Ivar Halvorsen worked for many years as a cabinet maker and an apprentice in his uncle's ski factory in Kruttverkveien, Norway. He decided to open his own cabinet and ski shop in 1952. He called it "Ivar Halvorsen's Ski Factory".
Most of the skis made during that time were dark brown and utilitarian. Friend and fellow coach Gunnar Finstad returned from the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy and mentioned to Ivar that the winning skis at the Olympics were colored. Both thought that it would be a good idea to color Ivar's skis in his factory, so Ivar used traditional Norwegian blue paint to color skis the next day. The results were amazing. The skis were no faster, they just looked like they were. He painted five more pair of skis and gave them to local ski racers. The racers placed high in the standings in local races, while other skiers remembered that they had used blue skis. Halvorsen decided to make more blue-colored skis and in the 1956-57 season he produced 400 pair. All were sold before he made them. Blue skis became popular and the name BLÅ SKIA stuck.
16 year old Odd Martinsen was given a pair of Blå Skia skis in 1958 from his coach Ivar Halvorsen. The popularity of Blå Skia skis contuned and by the mid-1960s Halvorsen had 9 employees in his ski factory. Nordic ski racers Odd Martinsen, Ivar Formo, and Jan Istad took Olympic and World Championship medals on Blå Skia skis. Requests for the skis came from all over as skiers went to visit the factory to see Halvorsen.
Odd Martinsen used a pair of wooden Blå Skias in the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France to win a silver medal in the 30K and a gold medal in the relay. Martinsen's 215cm skis weighed a mere 1300 grams (2.86 lbs.). Weight alone was not the only factor; Blå Skias were some of the first skis to have purposely built camber for specific snow conditions. Halvorsen used birch, beech, fir, hickory, and balsa in special combinations for his skis. After the success of Blå Skia skis in the 1968 Winter Olympics, Halvorsen was strained to keep up with demand in his 8,000 pair capacity factory in Nittedal, Norway.
When Thomas Magnusson won the 30K Winter Olympic race on fiberglass skis in 1974, Halvorsen knew the days of wooden skis were limited. Halvorsen kept his wooden ski factory open until 1984 when he retired.
Odd Martinson is the father of Olympic champion Bente Skare, who won medals for cross country skiing in 1998 and 2002.
Bonna Nor Turski
Bonna Snow Stars - Wooden ski with synthetic base and fiberglass top
Bonna Fjellski ca. 1958 ***
Bonna Konkorranse ca. 1960 ***
Bonna Fjellski ca. 1965 ***
Bonna ca. 1968 ***
Bonna Grenader LS wooden racing ski
Bonna was a brand of the Lommedalen Ski Factory in Lommedalen, Norway. Ski Jumper Narve Bonna started the Lommedalen Ski Factory in 1939 with Captain Earl Willoch. Bonna, who won a silver medal in ski jumping in the Winter Olympics in 1924, had previously worked for three years at Splitkein Ski Factory, where he developed his own patents. Bonna not only liked to ski jump, but he worked on building skis.
Bonna experimented with gluing laminations in a ski in Dalarna in Sweden in 1921. The skis were three meters long, with a birch sole and mahogany overlay, which made for skiing ease over the marshes and frozen water. The experience made him intent on making a shorter glued ski, more adapted to Norwegian ski touring.
Earl Willock (1896-1955) partnered with the innovative Bonna, who had ski-building experience from Splitkein. Willock raised funds from people and asked them to sign share certificates, while Bonna provided professional ski-building knowledge at the Lommedalen ski factory.
Bonna and Sverre Brodahl took out patents on skis that they made at their own factory. Both made many skis and of good quality. They bought technology that was tested by Bjørn Ullevoldsæter, pioneer of glued laminations for skis. Ullevoldsæter sold his glueing patent to Peter Østbye, maker of Splitkein skis.
Bonna-brand skis were introduced in about 1959 and produced by the Lommedalen Ski Factory. Models were wooden until fiberglass skis became popular in the mid to late 1970s. The Bonna brand name disappeared in the 1980s.
Lommedalen Ski Factory also made ski brands Eiger, Holmenkollen, and Sigmund Ruud.
"Bonna models included the 1700, 1800, 2000 and 2400. "My best experience has been with Bonnas, because they were so well constructed. The 1700 model warps easily in the tail, and is to be avoided. There are some excellent 1800s on the market, but the tails have often delaminated at the lignostone edges. I have a 25% success rate in buying 1800s in excellent condition. The 2000 model is more reliable - I have a 75% success rate with it. The 2400 is rarely on the market, and one has to pay attention which 2400 is listed. There is an extra wide and heavy 2400 with metal edges (I am 2 for 2 in buying terrific-shape 220 cm models), and there is a 2400 which is the same width and weight as the 2000. Perhaps this latter 2400 is an early version of the 2000. All of these models have lignostone edges. I have come across a 2200 - which is a larger 2400 without lignostone or steel edges. It is a beautiful ski, but it needs to avoid rocks because of the soft edges.".....Jim Pugh, Andover, MA.
Bonna Ski Information from a 1979 Advertisement
1600 Bonna - Top flight performance in light touring. High performance for the discriminating skier.
1800 Bonna - The grand daddy - best in wood
2000 Bonna - America's favorite top performance touring ski. Light, strong, and responsive for even the most demanding skier.
2200 Bonna - The recreational ski with Norwegian "know-how" and dependability.
2400 Bonna - The backcountry workhorse for the backcountry experience.
Bonna skis were imported to the United States from Norway by Norfell, Inc. of Chelmsford, MA
W. H. Brine Co.
Brine is the successor to the original W.H. Brine Company founded in 1922. Brine started as a small athletic equipment and uniform company, selling to private schools and regional camps and quickly grew into a major manufacturer of lacrosse and soccer products. Today, Brine manufactures lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and field hockey equipment and has become one of the most respected privately-owned sporting goods manufacturers in the world.
In the 1950's the focus of the Brine business was in lacrosse. At that time, all lacrosse sticks were wooden and the only producer was Chisholm Lacrosse located on the St. Regis Reservation, Cornwall Island, Canada. With the encouragement and assistance from A. MacDonald Murphy of Governor Dummer Academy, Ferris Thomsen, coach of Penn and Princeton and Mort LaPointe of Bowdoin College, the Brine family began to explore the possibilities of manufacturing lacrosse sticks.
Henry and Edward Bredenberg started manufacturing skis in Champlain, NY in the early 1900s. Their parents immigrated to the United States from Sweden. Broadmount was a brand of Bredenberg Brothers, Inc. The Bredenberg brothers started making skis in 1911 and created the Broadmount brand in 1937. In a December, 1912 Boys Life Magazine, Bredenberg advertised a pair of 7 ft. skees [sic] and a pair of poles to any scout for a price of $5.00.
A fire in the ski factory of Bredenberg Brothers caused $3000 damage in 1924.
and Farmers' Journal, Baldwinsville, NY - March 13, 1924. ancestry.com,
1926 Stationary Letterhead
© 2011 Image by Richard Sheaff. Used with permission
Canada Ski Company
Canada Ski Company was established in the late 1920s. A lawyer operated this venture supposedly from funds pilfered from one of his clients of whose estate he was executor.
The rights to produce the Bluenose ski were aquired by Canada Ski Company from the Liverpool Woodworking Company. 4,000 to 5,000 pair of Bluenose skis were produced each year. Hickory came by carloads from Southern states for the manufacture of these skis.
The company failed in the late 1930s and the ski-making equipment was taken over by the Harvey E. Dodds Company in 1938 and the operation moved to Montreal.
Source: Trade Directory of N.S., N.S. Department of Agriculture, Halifax, 1932. 2. Nova Scotia Trade Directory. 1932, 1937.
Dartmouth Cooperative Society
Fred Harris, Class of 1911, founded the Dartmouth Outing Club in the winter of 1909–10. Harris was a native of Brattleboro, Vermont, and by his own account had “skeeing on the brain”. This pleasant affliction had him making skis (the typical size was eight feet long, ash or hickory) and using them on the local hills and farm fields.
In 1919, John Piane, Sr., owner of the Dartmouth Cooperative Society began selling skis made by the Gregg Ski Company of St. Paul, MN. The first Dartmouth Ski Catalogue was published in 1937 and not only carried Gregg-made skis but Kandahar bindings.
Source: Journal of the New England Ski Museum, Fall 2011
"With the rapid rise in the popularity of skiing, sporting goods dealers throughout the country began searching for a source of supply for ski equipment. Naturally, their attention turned toward the cradle of the sport in this country; Dartmouth College. Here they found the Dartmough Cooperative Society supplying ski equipment to Dartmough students. The desire of these dealers to purchase similar equipment on a wholesale basis led to the founding of the Wholesale Divison of the Darmought Cooperative Society. The response to this venture was so favorable that it has been found necessary to form this Wholesale Division into a separate company. Thus, the season fo 1940-41 sees America's finest ski equpment repsented under the name of Dartmouth Skis Inc."
Source: 1940-41 Dartmouth Ski Catalogue
Harvey E. Dodds Ltd.
Harvey Dodds invented a ski binding in 1934 and received a patent. Harvey E Dodds Limited was a Canadian manufacturer of sporting goods, based in Montreal in the first half of the twentieth century. Known as "The Ski People," the company sold a large quantity of skis which were widely renowned for their finely crafted skis. The company reached its peak sales in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Dominion Ski Limited
Edsbyn is a town, and the seat of Ovanåker Municipality, in Gävleborg County, Sweden. The story begins in 1899, when the craftsman Lars Fredrik Pettersson started a small joinery shop. He made furniture, doors and windows to new buildings in the rapidly growing Edsbyn. Lars Pettersson's son Ivar took over in 1928 and began a new era. Ivar had studied Henry Ford and his assembly line. The new concept of a production line was used to make furniture.
In 1934 Edsbyns Ski Factory was created, which was another milestone for Ivar. Edsbyn skis would become classic for generations of Swedes.
Ski production ended in 1984, while today Edsbyn makes furniture. Wood was and still is the common thread running through the company. The story tells us about how the company has, in a peculiar way, managed to adapt to social changes. Edsbyverken has over the years been involved in various operations but furniture has always been the main product. Many still associate Edsbyn with skis. This is understandable since Edsbyn was one of the world's largest ski producers in the mid 70s.
Edsbyn was the largest Swedish manufacturer of skis in the 1970s with 400,000 produced.
The Eggen skis are named after Gjermund Eggen (born 1941). He became a national hero in Norway in 1966 after winning three gold medals in Nordic skiing (15 km, 50 km and relay).
In 1968, he helped establish Engerdal ski factory (Eggen-ski from 1974). Here he worked as a sales representative, marketing manager and finally manager, while he also competed in national and world cross country ski competitions. Eggen was considered the world's best skier in 1969. Eggen skis were first imported to the USA in 1976 and were unique with their honeycomb core, which reduced weight for racing.
The factory was closed in 1983 due to foreign competition. In this time period Engerdal Ski Factory was the largest employer in Rindal with 26 employees.
Gjermund Eggen works now as a sheep farmer and a builder of log cabins.
Eiger was a brand of the Lommedalen Ski Factory, which also made Bonna skis.
Fahlin Manufacturing was started by Olie Fahlin from Scandinavia. Fahlin manufactured archery bows, airplane propellers, and wooden skis. Fahlin Manufacturing went bankrupt in approximately 1950.
Flexible Flyer -
S. L. Allen
Samuel Leeds Allen, the inventor of the Flexible Flyer sled, came from a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family. In the 1860s, he established the S. L. Allen Co. to manufacture farm equipment, including some items of his own invention. In order to diversify his product line and provide work during the winter months, Allen, himself a "coasting" enthusiast since boyhood, set about inventing a sled; the Flexible Flyer sled that many of you grew up with as children. As a further diversification, S. L. Allen Company made wooden skis, especially during World War II.
In the 1930s after Splitkein developed the laminated ski, S. L. Allen used its Flexible Flyer name to team up with Splitkein to make wooden skis. Splitkein skis were made by many different ski companies under contract with strict construction specifications. Mercury was a low-priced, hickory ridge-top ski brand of Flexible Flyer.
Flexible Flyer wooden skis faded from the market place when metal skis became popular in the mid to late 1950s.
In 1966, Hans transferred ownership of the factory to his son Einar and Einar's son Hans Ragnar. The factory burned again on February 2, 1981 and that was the end of the Gravdal Ski Factory.
Andebu, Norway was also the home to Askjem
Henry S. Gregg was president in 1906 of the Minneapolis Iron Store Company, which owned Park Manufacturing and Gregg Manufacturing companies. Park and Gregg started out making wooden farm implements. Gregg began making wooden skis for the Dartmouth Cooperative Society in Hanover, NH in 1919. Henry Gregg's son John Gregg became vice-president of Gregg Manufacturing in about 1926. Demand grew into the 1930s and Gregg Skis was one of the three major suppliers of skis for the 10th Mtn. Div. during WW2. Gregg also made toboggans.
In 1953, when the Northland/Lund Ski factory burned to the ground in North St. Paul, MN, Christian Lund promptly bought Gregg Ski Manufacturing, so that he could continue to make skis. Within three weeks from his own factory burning, he started making skis again in the existing Gregg factory in St. Paul. As of 1954, Gregg Manufacturing was no longer in business.
Harry Holmberg worked as a ski engineer and designer for Gregg skis in St. Paul. Harry's brother, Hartvig “Hart” Holmberg, opened a carpentry shop in St. Paul, MN in 1943. Harry called upon Hartvig’s manufacturing skills and together they began working on a prototype, metal-edged ski. After three years of creating and refining, Hartvig, Harry and friend Ed Bjork were ready. In 1955 the first "Hart" metal-edged ski was introduced.
Source: http://www.hartskis.com/history.html and MN Secretary of State
Park Manufacturing Company became Gregg Manufacturing
Company in the mid-1920s
1950s Gresshoppa natural color skis
Gresshoppa literally means “Grasshopper” in Norwegian. Gresshoppa was a brand of AS Kolbjørn Knutsen & Co (KK) from Kristiana (Oslo) Norway. Founded in 1906, Kolbjørn Knutsen was a manufacturer of sporting and leather goods. In the 1930s, Kolbjørn Knutsen was one of the largest ski pole manufcturers in Norway. Ski poles were made from tonkin bamboo, called such because it came from the Gulf of Tonkin in China. Knutsen provided ski poles for the Fritjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen's expeditions. In 1934, T. Mamem Company from Montreal was the sole agent of the AS Kolbjørn Knutsen & Co, selling Gresshoppa skis, bindings, and poles to skiers in Canada and the United States.
By 1937, Kolbjørn Knutsen (Gresshoppa) was the leading manufacturer of ski bindings in the world. Kolbjørn Knutsen manufactured many skis and poles for use during World War II. Sometime in the 1960s, Kolbjørn Knutsen split off a company called Gresshoppa Sport A/S, which currently sells sporting goods in Norway.
Source: Skimakerne. 1997. Thor Gotaas
The ski logos shown at the left are from a ca. 1926 pair of wooden skis. Aksel Gresvig was a racing cyclist, and founded A Gresvig at Rosenkrantzgate 1 in Kristianna (Oslo) in 1901. His vision was take sporting activity to the people. A Gresvig acquired the Huitfeldt Ski Factory and Sports Shop in 1923, and A Gresvig eventually exported skis to the rest of Europe and North America. The initial “A” was removed from the company name in 1927, and it was subsequently called Gresvig.
Knut Gresvig joined the company in 1936. The ski and bicycle
factories moved to Alnabru outside Oslo in 1939, when the premises at
Stenersgate 4 were built. Gresvig developed a safety ski binding in
1955. This Kandahar brand was the most popular binding for cross-country
skis in the 1950s and 1960s. Aksel Gresvig took over from Knut Gresvig
The ski and bicycle plant at Alnabru burnt to the ground in 1976, and the central warehouse was built at Askim south of Oslo in 1978. All the shares are sold to a company controlled by Norwegian businessman Kjell Inge Røkke in 1991. The company received a stock market listing in 1994. Røkke sold out of the company in 1996, and Gresvig became owned by financial investors.
In 1997, Gresvig ASA acquired Sport Holding AS and the Intersport chain in Norway. The latter was the country’s second largest sports equipment chain. Gresvig ASA became a holding company, and its assets included two equal but competing chains – G-Sport and Intersport. G-Sport Norge Detalj (later Gresvig Detalj AS) was established.
Thor Groswold grew up in Norway on skis and is perhaps best known as the manufacturer of Groswold Skis in Denver, Colorado, from late 1932 until the spring of 1952. But he did much more than make skis. He spent his life selling skiing. And he sold it anywhere to anyone who was willing to listen.
Thor was encouraged by friends and associates to begin to manufacture skis. He formed the Thor Groswold Ski Company in 1932 and started making skis at 38th and Walnut in Denver. The company was later incorporated as The Groswold Ski Co., Inc., and in 1934 was relocated to 1205 Shoshone St. where it operated until 1952 when the plant was closed. The company was literally started from scratch and as the business grew Thor developed ski making techniques by trial and error and from the little knowledge he had brought from the old country.
L. H. Hagen
L. H. Hagen and Company was a sporting goods, wheel maker, and ski manufacturing company that supplied skis and sledges to the Nansen, Amundsen, and Byrd expeditions. Hagen was involved with Fritz Huitfeldt and the development of his ski binding around the turn of the century.
In 1891, Captain Christof Iselin from Glaris, Switzerland experimented with home-made skis with his buddies. He went to Christiana, Norway in 1892 and ordered a complete set of skis to be make by the L. H. Hagen Company. This was the first year that Hagen made skis.
Aksel Holter from Ashland, WI ordered seven pair of wooden skis in 1900 from L. H. Hagen company in Christiana, so that he could use them as models for his ski-making business in Ashland. Holter wanted to captalize on the popularity of skiing in Ishpeming, MI. Aksel compared ski-making notes with Martin Strand who also made skis in Minneapolis, MN.
The ski manufacturing business eventually went bankrupt in the late 1920s. Hagen continued in the sports business, selling Åsnes skis. Hagen operated the sporting goods business from 1851–1991.
Source: Skimakerne. 1997. Thor Gotaas
HARJU FINN SKI
Harju skis are generally light-weight, have birch bottoms, and are made in Finland. Harju means "ridge" in Finnish and is a region in Muurame, Finland. Harju skis started being made in 1937 and were popularized by ski champion Valkonen.
A U.S. company, HEAD imported cross country skis from Norway in the 1970's. Head purchased the Kongsberg Ski Factory in Norway in 1972.
Hedlund Manufacturing Company
From article printed in 1956: In July, 1948, Swan Hedlund
met Ed Ruppert and Ray McCurdy at a reunion at a lake in Augusta, Wisconsin,
and during the course of conversation Mr. Hedlund expressed a desire
to go into business and stated that he was interested in establishing
a wood-working plant, having had a number of years experience in this
line of work in Minnesota. The Nokomisans advised that Nokomis was looking
for a new industry and hoped that the town might be considered for a
A building was completed in late 1948, and the building was sold to the Hedlund Manufacturing Company who opened for business in January, 1949, with eight plant employees and one office employee. Principal items manufactured at that time were toboggans and snow skis. Late in that year the manufacture of water skis was started on a small scale but during the past few years the popularity of water skiing has advanced so rapidly that water skis have now become the main item manufactured.
The plant was originally started with 10,000 sq. ft. of floor space;
facilities have been expanded extensively during the past years so that
at the present time another addition is being made to the plant which,
when completed, will give approximately 30,000 sq. ft. of space in all.
Five years ago the manufacture of water skis averaged about 1500 pairs
for the year, three years ago 10,000 pairs, and this year it is estimated
that production will be well over 40,000 pairs besides
The Hedlund Manufacturing Company is grateful to the people of Nokomis for their support and proud to have been a part of the town's progress.
John O. Herrem & Son
John East and Archie Steele designed a building in 1913 in Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada for the manufacture of not only boxes, but also millwork such as mouldings, cabinets, window and door frames. However the market at that time didn't produce enough demand and the business went broke very soon. John East then took over as sole owner.
John Herrem worked as a shopman for John East until one cold morning in 1922 when he had a serious accident and lost all the fingers on his right hand on a jointer. John East operated the millwork plant successfully until the demand for millwork deteriorated and he was forced into receivership.
In 1938, John Herrem in partnership with his son, Harold, bought the property and commenced manufacturing Norway Pine Skis in lengths from 3 1/2 feet to 7 1/2 feet. John Herrem invented a machine that would turn out 500 pairs ready for steaming and bending to shape in an 8 hour day. In the summer of 1946 a total of 27,000 pairs were manufactured and sold.
Over the years a total of 175,000 pairs were produced and shipped by C.N.R. to destinations all across Canada from Vancouver B.C. to Moncton N.B. The ski business was ideal for providing jobs for students and over a period of 23 years more than 300 lads had work there.
In 1946 a two storey addition was built which resulted in a total of 7,000 square feet of manufacturing space. In addition to skis, the plant made windows, screen and combination doors, beehives, clothes horses, cabinets, sleighs, Swede saw frames, water skis, doll furniture and toy building blocks with the copyrighted name 'Tulla'.
The business was incorporated in 1948 under the name of Herrem Woodworkers, Ltd. John Herrem retired in 1950 and Harold took over. He had plenty of work for his wife, Irene, and his son Peter and daughter Paula.
In 1977, the company was sold to Tom Kiddle who had been the foreman
for many years. In 1987, Tom sold it to Jim Armstrong. Unfortunately
the building was totally destroyed by fire in the early morning of August
27, 1988. Now the property contains two modern apartment buildings.
Holmenkollen skis are named after the famous ski area and ski festival in Oslo, Norway.
Holmenkollen skis were manufactured by the Åsnes Ski Factory in Norway for US distribution during the 1960-70s.
Horace Partridge was born in 1822 and spent his youth doing farm work and blacksmithing. He eventually found work as a traveling salesman of dry goods and groceries. He was very successful and decided to join his brother's retail store in Boston. A year later in 1848, Horace open his own establishment, H. Partridge Fancy Goods. He sold china, dolls, toys, musical instruments and games. He moved and expanded his business several times in the Boston area.
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Alfred Hovde started making skis in Vikersund, Norway in 1897 in a small workshop. He first made about five pair of skis and not many people bought skis from him, because they thought that he was a rookie in ski making. After a few years, his reputation became more favorable due to good results and in 1912, Hovde started making skis in a factory with machine production. Many small workshops became ski factories in the early 1900s.
Alfred's son, Kristian Hovde took over the ski factory in 1938. Kristian
was a good ski jumper, but an even better cross country skier. From
the middle of the 1920s until the 1950s, many ski jumpers selected Hovde
skis. The ski factory burned down in 1960.
Source: Skimakerne. 1997. Thor Gotaas
Janoy skis were made in Norway by Åsnes for distribution in the United States. Jan E. Haug started the company manufactured with his company name on them, "Janoy". His name was Jan (he was from Norway) E. Haug. His business partner who knew nothing about the ski industry or the sport, was Floyd Hedding. They put their names together to form "Janoy" back in the early 1970's.
Floyd provided financial backing for the business venture, but retained his full time job at an electrical manufacturing plant in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA, while Jan quit his job at the same company to follow his dreams. Skiing was Haug's passion, and he did everything possible to promote xc skiing here in the U.S. He did not get rich by eating, living, and breathing XC skiing. But he sure got a lot of people hooked on it, as the folks at Finn Sisu will tell you. Finn sisu was one of his best local customers.
Karen Haug Osen from Minneapolis remembers some details from her father, Jan. "I remember him spending a lot of time promoting ski trails in county parks. He helped establish French Park in Plymouth. He even made tracks in the snow with a primitive wood block he built and dragged behind him on a rope, with us kids following along behind".
After Janoy went out of business, Jan went on to sell Edsbyn skis (his middle name was Edward).
Jan died suddenly at the age of 56 of an enlarged heart, in 1988 (just when L.L. Bean signed a contract to purchase Edsbyn skis). None of Jan's children knew enough about his business to take it over. Two years later, the four surviving children helped their mother move from her four bedroom house in Plymouth, Minnesota, to a town home. The youngest sibling was 20 by then. In doing so, multiple garage sales were held and at least a dozen pairs of skis were sold.
"We didn't realize how much we'd miss Janoy skis, especially to feel connected to our dad in his absence" said Karen.
Järvinen skis were manufactured in Lahti, Finland. The last wooden skis were produced in the fall of 1974 and the company went bankrupt in 1991. The 1970-built building is now demolished. Esko Järvinen's son has resumed a small-scale forest ski production under the Järvinen name.
Esko Järvinen was a Finnish nordic combined skier who competed in the late 1920's and early 1930's. He won an individual bronze at the 1929 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Zakopane.
Note: Jukka Järvinen is NOT related to Esko Järvinen, neither is the Nanogrip/Optigrip ski inventor Matti Järvinen.
J. C. Higgins
"John Higgins" the employee became "J.C. Higgins" the brand name during a discussion in 1908 among Sears' executives of possible names for a new line of sporting goods. At this point, the story gets a bit murky, but Higgins' name was suggested and John Higgins consented to Sears use his name. Since he did not have a middle initial, Sears added the "C."
In 1908, the Western Sporting Goods Company in Chicago began putting J.C. Higgins on baseballs and baseball gloves sold in Sears catalogs. By 1910, the J.C. Higgins trademark was extended to cover footballs and basketballs. Later, the popularity of the Higgins brand—combined with the wider participation of American youth in sports—led Sears to place tennis equipment, soccer balls, volleyballs, boxing equipment and baseball uniforms in the J.C. Higgins line.
By the 1940s, J.C. Higgins represented all Sears fishing, boating and camping equipment. After the Second World War, Sears consolidated all sporting goods under the J.C. Higgins brand name and added it to a line of luggage.
J.C. Higgins skis were exclusively made by the Gregg Manufacturing Company from St. Paul, MN
The J.C. Higgins brand disappeared shortly after Sears introduced the Ted Williams brand of sporting and recreation goods in 1961.
Johansen & Nilsen
Several of the first ski makers in Norway were wheel makers. Ski making was natural for them because they had the proper tools and they knew how to work with wood.
Hagen Johansen began to learn how to make skis and sold his first pair of skis in 1898. He and companion Bernt Nilsson started Johansen and Nielsen, which was one of Norway's largest and longest running ski factories.
Johansen and Nilsen worked closely with the firm A / S Norway Ski, founded by exiled Russian Helge König and Thorleif Aas in 1926 in terms of exports of Norwegian ski equipment. Madshus and Johansen and Nilsen were the two top ski factories in Norway in 1930, selling 6,000 pairs.
In 1948, Sverre Bævre from Johnsen and Nilsen visited Canada and the US. His visit generated ski orders totalling about $60,000.
A fire in the ski factory forced Johansen and Nilsen out of business in 1957.
Source: Skimakerne, Thor Gotaas
Emil Lampinen started a ski factory in Finland in 1901. On May 6, 1916, Arno Hohenthal and Karl Stokmannas bought Lampinen's ski factory and called the new company Oy Urheilutarpeita – Sportartiklar AB. In 1920 the name of the company was changed to Karhu and in addition to skis, they manufactured spears, discs, spikes and running shoes.
Olympian runner Paavo Nurmi helped to popularize the Karhu name, enabling the company to sell their products worldwide. After World War II, Karhu continued its sporting business and in 1966, the name of the company was changed to Oy Urheilu Karhu Sport AB. In 1972, the company named was changed to Karhu-Titan Oy.
In 2008, Karhu purchased Exel, which had cross-country
ski, alpine ski, Nordic walking, hiking, rollerblading, and fishing
Ken-Wel was a sporting good company that was founded in 1919 by the Kennedy brothers (Allen, Dr. Morris, Bert, Phillip, Nelson and Jack) in Gloversville, NY. The Ken-Wel name had come from the Kennedy's last name and a partner named Wells. Wells pulled out of the venture before the company was started but the Kennedy brothers liked the name and kept it.
In 1960 Kennedy Sporting Goods shut its doors.
Kongsberg (literally "The King's Mountain") is a municipality and town at the southern end of the Numedal valley, in the county of Buskerud, Norway. The town is known for many great ski jumpers. Birger Ruud and his two brothers, as well as many other townsmen, such as Petter Hugsted, won numerous medals in Winter Olympics and other international championships in the 1930s and 40s.
"Kongsberg" ski factory started in 1939, although it operated under a different name for 10 years prior. Ski jumper Sigurd Hoff had managed the Brødrene Hoff ski factory in Rollag, Norway for ten years. When Sigurd moved the business to Kongsberg, it was natural to change the name of the ski brand. He thought that Kongsberg sounded better, The name was good for advertising and had a kind of seal of approval because ski jumpers from there dominated the national and international ski scene.
Kongsberg Ski Factory was bought by American ski company "Head" in 1972.
Shown here are the various logos of Kuusisto Ski Company from Finland. Erä means forest ski.
The ski factory of Laasanen (official
name Laasasen Suksi or Laasasen Suksitehdas) was located in Veteli,
An importer from Kenosha, WI, named Wilho Knutti, imported the skis into the United States. Most of the skis were sold to people living in Wisconsin and Michigan. He was raised in Finland, and in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan.
12.13.09 - "Wilho is still around, and living in Neenah, WI. Definitely in his 70's by now, but a real promoter of x-c, and xc racing. He dragged me from So. Wisconsin up to Calumet, Houghton, and Copper Harbor on many a late Friday night in the early 70's, to race at Swedetown, MTU Trails, or over Brockway Mountain. His father, who fought the Russians on skis in the late 30's, lived many years in Baraga, MI, never learned to speak English, but brought Wilho over from Finland when he was a kid."......Tony Hartman, Madison, WI
A small amount of Laasanen skis are preserved in Lahti Ski Museum.
Landsem ca. 1970 ***
Landsem ca. 1966 ***
In 1918, Ole Jonsen Haltli started manufacturing wooden skis in Rindal, Noway. Even Landsem took over production of wooden skis in 1946, naming his brand "Landsem". The first year of production, over 100,000 pairs were made.
Landsem ski factory was taken over by Madshus in 1987. At the time, Landsem skis were the premiere cross country ski in the world until the factory was sold to K2 in 1989.
Based in Rindal, Norway, Landsem used wood and wooden materials for cross country skis long after other manufacturers switched to plastics. They still hold the record for Olympic medals won --all of the champion skiers used Landsem skis through the 70s. In the skiing museum in Oslo there are pictures of everyone from Norway's many gold medal skiers to Norway's King Olaf using Landsem skis.
Norsprint skis were manufactured by Landsem in Norway for U.S. distribution.
Lampinen L-10 Kilpa (competition) ca. 1965 ***
Lampinen is the English version of the Finnish name Lampisen. The names are synonymous relating to skis.
Emil Lampinen ski factory was founded in Porvoo in the village of Kerkkoo, Finland in 1901 by Emil Lampinen (1883-1961). It was sold to a Helsinki sports company (Oy Urheilutarpeita) in 1916. Emil Lampinen then set up a new ski factory in 1922 and continued producing skis for over 50 years.
Lampinen used modified laminated wooden ski technology acquired from Lindex since 1946. The Lampinen factory became unprofittable, therefore, the factory closed in 1986.
The Limex Ski Factory is located at AB Tobo Mill in Sweden and manufactures the world famous Kneissl and Limex-skis.
Birger Svensson (1883-1944) started the Monarch Bicycle
Factory and expanded the business to many other areas. In 1938, he bought
a ski factory and started producing skis called Limex in 1943.
Walter Linton started making skis in Denver in the late 1930s and had the name trademarked in 1939. According to Phil Clark of Georgetown, Colorado, "Linton manufactured skis on the site now occupied by the art museum in Denver. Linton sold his skis only through his own retail store".
In the mid-1950s, he ceased manufacturing skis and continued to sell skis through his retail store at 14th and Broadway. We believe that Head aluminum skis started to become popular by the mid-1950s, and Linton saw the hand writing on the wall for the demise of wooden skis. Hart metal skis started being made in 1955.
When Linton retired, he moved to Switzerland. We believe that his retail store in Denver was called "Linton's Swiss Chalet".
L. L. Bean
In 1911, an avid outdoorsman named Leon Leonwood ("L.L.") Bean returned from a hunting trip with cold, damp feet and a revolutionary idea. L.L. enlisted a local cobbler to stitch leather uppers to workmen's rubber boots, creating a comfortable, functional boot for exploring the Maine woods. This innovative boot – the Maine Hunting Shoe® – changed outdoor footwear forever and began one of the most successful family-run businesses in the country.
L.L. began his business by working out of the basement of his brother's apparel shop. In 1912, he obtained a mailing list of nonresident Maine hunting license holders and prepared a three-page flyer that boldly proclaimed, "You cannot expect success hunting deer or moose if your feet are not properly dressed. The Maine Hunting Shoe is designed by a hunter who has tramped the Maine woods for the last 18 years. We guarantee them to give perfect satisfaction in every way." The public could not resist the commonsense logic and genuine enthusiasm of his appeal.
L.L.Bean, Inc., quickly established itself as a trusted source for reliable outdoor equipment and expert advice. The small company grew. Steady growth continued. By 1934, the company had increased its factory size to over 13,000 square feet. The simple flyer evolved into a 52-page catalog. The company generated over 70% of the volume for the Freeport post office. By 1937, sales surpassed the $1 million mark. Leon Gorman noted decades later, "The most important legacy of L.L.'s genius was the power of his personality. It transcended the buying and selling of products. His personal charisma based on down-home honesty, a true love for the outdoors and a genuine enthusiasm for people, inspired all who worked for him and attracted a fanatic loyalty among his customers."
L.L. never missed an opportunity to improve service. While the bulk of sales were generated by the catalog, hunters and visitors frequently dropped by Freeport. A night bell allowed the late-night visitor to call a watchman or even L.L. himself. In 1951, L.L. opened the store 365 days a year, 24 hours a day proclaiming, "We have thrown away the keys to the place." To this day, there are no locks on the doors of the flagship store in Freeport.
L. L. Bean has been selling skis for many years.
C. A. Lund Company
Norwegian born Christian A. Lund had been doing business under the name of C. A. Lund Company since 1927 in Hastings, MN manufacturing wooden skis, hockey sticks, and toboggans. Lund skis were a less expensive brand of Northland Ski Manufacturing Company of St. Paul, MN. Lund also sold wholesale to department stores and ski clubs with their own ski labels. Lund opened a second ski manufacturing plant in Laconia, NH in 1938.
Lund Ski Manufacturing and Northland Ski Manfacturing Companies were owned and managed by Christian A. Lund. Northland Ski Company was formed in 1912 in St. Paul, MN.
A massive fire, which destroyed the C. A. Lund ski building in Hastings, MN in 1945 forced Lund to move to an existing building in North Saint Paul, MN, which was about 20 miles away. He continued to make skis and snowshoes and eight years later in 1953, another fire totally engulfed the North St. Paul location killing the night watchman. C. A. Lund promptly went to St. Paul and purchased the Gregg Ski Manufacturing Company and continued to make skis for many years.
Lumber for the skis was imported from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana. Gross sales in 1936 were $332,000, of which 7% was sold in the home state of Minnesota.
Source: Lund Ski Catalogue and newspaper articles
Lyte was a ski brand/trademark created by Sportco, Inc. of Wilton, ME. Sportco also marketed Pacer brand ski bindings and Fels ski boots.
The famous Macy's Department Store in New York City sold wooden skis in the 1930-40s. Macy skis were made by various companies, including the Groswold Ski Company from Denver, CO and the Harvey Dodds Ski Company. Later, Macy imported skis from abroad.
Martin Madshus worked for four years with organ builder Peter Berntzen. During this time, he honed his woodworking skills. He decided to start a ski factory and did so in a barn in 1906 in Vardal, Norway.
The first Madshus skis were made from single pieces of wood, trimmed, carved and finished with hand tools. Some of the tools used in this traditional production are still found on display at the present Madshus factory in the town of Biri.
Even in the earliest days of Madshus skis, with little distinction between Nordic and Alpine styles of skiing, Madshus was a leader in innovation.
Major advances in construction came in the form of glued laminate skis in 1934. This multiple- layer construction gave more strength, lighter weight and more mobility to skis. Madshus moved the factory to Lillehammer in 1936.
Laminated skis allowed Madshus to produce more specialized skis, for alpine skiing, for the mountains, for trails, and eventually for specialized track skiing and racing. Cross country skiing became the backbone of the growing Winter Olympic Games movement, and skiing of all types spread around the world,.
The Madshus factory flourished in the heart of Norway, where people know and love the benefit of fine skis. Madshus combined the traditional art of ski-making with continuing technological advances, new designs and materials.
At Madshus, there was an inherent understanding of what
a good ski should feel like.
In the 1950s there became more distinction between Nordic and Alpine skis, while Madshus continued Alpine ski production until 1964. Becoming a specialist after 1964, Madshus built a leadership role in the many types of cross country skiing.
Popularity of cross country worldwide grew spectacularly in the 1970s, and the wood Madshus Birkebeiner ski, a beautiful and multifunctional touring ski, became a favorite symbol of the boom. Madshus created the Skilom brand name in the early 1970s, and together with Norwegian boot, binding, pole and xc clothing manufacturers under the Skilom name, carried Nordic skiing to an unprecedented number of countries worldwide. Skilom skis were imported to the US by Anderson/Thompson of Seattle, WA.
In 1968 and 1972 Magnar Solberg of Norway - with Madshus skis -- won Gold Medals in Biathlon at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck and Sapporo, the only athlete to repeat as Olympic Biathlon Champion.
Fibreglass skis created a revolution in Nordic ski production in 1974, the same year Madshus began fibreglass production in its new factory, opened in Biri in 1972.
It is many years of ski manufacturing knowledge, Olympic medals from such great athletes like, Simon Slåttvik (1952), Håkon Brusveen (1960) and Thomas Alsgaard (1994, 1998, 2002) and Katerina Neumannova (2002) that has made Madshus the second largest ski manufacture in the world. Madshus looks forward to success at the Torino Olympics, and will present the Nordic world with its best ski, boot and binding program ever. Madshus - “The Cross Country Ski Company since 1906!”
Daniel Mathis was a wood-working firm in Giswil, about 50 miles southwest of Zurich, Switzerland, on the road to Brienz.
Nordic Sport comes from the northern part of Sweden, called Norrland. The company is considered one of the world's leading suppliers of athletic equipment. The head office is located in Skellefteå and the company has branches in Stockholm and Arvidsjaur and a sister company in Tallin, Estonia.
Nordic Sport was founded as early as 1972 by Börje Österberg. A true entrepreneur, who started his career as a businessman at the age of 11. He put on his skis and started skiing to the neighbors in a small hamlet in the north of Sweden, selling weekly magazines and since he has continued on that course. He built a javelin factory in Arvidsjaur, then he opened a sales office in Skellefteå and finally he went out to sell his products to the biggest events he could find in the world. Börje Österberg has managed to position the company and its products in the largest arenas, and built a fantastic network around the world of athletics, and the story continues. By now the company is well established on all markets.
Thorleif Aas, skier and ski maker, and exiled Russian Helge Kønig formed the Norge-Ski company in 1926. Thorleif had experience making skis at his own factory in Oslo and in his younger years, lived in Germany, where he was also involved with skiing. In the 1930s, Norge-Ski imported metal ski edges, invented by Rudolf Lettner from Austria.
Johansen and Nilsen ski company worked closely with A/S Norge-Ski Company. Norge-Ski had salesmen in the United States selling Norge-Skis, which were actually made by the Johansen and Nielsen Company. Madshus and Johansen and Nilsen were the two top ski factories in Norway in 1930, selling 6,000 pairs..
In the fall of 1943, ski making became hard to do because of supplies needed by the war effort. Large manufacturers like Norge-Ski were allowed to continue doing business during WW II. Norge-Ski re-manufactured decommissioned jumping skis into Nordic skis.
Norge-Ski continued to sell skis through the 1970s.
Source: Skimakerne. 1997. Thor Gotaas
Normark - Troll
Troll was formed when an independent ski making company located in Rindal, Norway lost their licensing rights from ski maker Landsem. Experienced ski maker Ingolf Røen and ex-production manager for Madshus Lief Løseth started Troll in 1972. The company was located in the town of Rindal, Norway where the brand of Landsem skis was also made. The likenes of Troll and Madshus Birkebeiners was the result of Mr. Løseth and his experience with Madshus Birkebeiners. Nordic Ski Imports, from St. Paul, Minnesota USA was the original importer of Troll skis and it was finally acquired by Normark in the mid seventies. Troll skis went bankrupt in 1983.
Ron Weber from Duluth, MN was an avid fisherman and venture capitalist. Ron contacted the Finnish Consulate and requested to be the sole International representative of Rapala fishing lures. Ron formed a partnership with his customer, Ray Ostrom, in 1959 and founded Normark Corporation as President and CEO. Through Normark, Ron helped to introduce cross country skiing to the United States. Weber sold Normark in 1990.
Northern Ski Company
Toivo Pajala and his brother lived in the Sudbury, Ontario area. Toivo and his brother took over the Northern Ski Factory on Edna Street, which was established by Emil Pernu in 1925. They ran it until 1945. C. Fielding bought the factory in 1947 and at that time the factory was proclaimed as "Canada's Largest Ski Factory".
Pajala later established another ski factory, named Pajala Ski Company, which was sold to interests in the United States in 1951.
Northland Ski Manufacturing
Northland Ski Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1912 by Ole S. Ellevold, former foreman of the Strand Ski Company. In 1913, Norwegian born Christian A. Lund became associated with the business through purchase of stock. In 1916, Christian Lund owned most of the stock of the company and Ellevold was forced out. In the 1920s and early 1930s Northland published some of the first U.S. how-to-ski pamphlets printed in the U.S. Northland skis soon gained a widespread reputation for unsurpassed quality making Northland the largest manufacturer of skis in the world. A series of factory fires caused Northland to move to different locations over the years.
In 1938, Northland opened a factory in Laconia, New Hampshire to capitalize on Eastern ski demand. The factory in Laconia was managed by Christian Lund's son Carl. A complete line of skis, skiing accesories, hockey sticks, and toboggans were manufactured in Laconia. Abercrombie & Fitch Department Store sold skis made by Northland.
Northland was forced to adopt fiberglass in the late 1960s, and became just another ski company—its product was pedestrian. And, unlike Rossignol, Kastle and Kneissl, Northland couldn’t afford to support athletes on the U.S. team, although they did sign Stein Eriksen.
In October 1966, Northland was bought by Larson Industries, which built Larson and Glaspar fiberglass boats. Larson expanded rapidly into snowmobiles and other sports, and then went bankrupt. Most Larson stock was acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods in 1970 and the Larson conglomerate closed.
Source: http://skiinghistory.org & http://www.nlrb.gov, newspaper articles, and personal research
Monarch appeared in approximately 1942 and was a brand of the Northland Ski Company.
It all started, in 1861, when Henry Morton married Lucilla Forbes and the young couple started making sleds in their home. Henry constructed the sleds by hand and his wife decorated them. Their son, Will, an accomplished artist, distinguished himself as a sled painter, specializing in water scenes and scrolls. Hand-decorated sleds today are much sought after by collectors, but the originals were probably meant to ensure that each sled would be a child’s prized possession.
During the early 1900s, when each sled was made by hand, the company employed close to 300 workers. It continued in operation as a family business, still employing 200 workers, until the family gave up ownership in 1970s and sold to Gladding Corporation.
Finnish immigrants inspired the Paris Manufacturing Company to enter the ski business in 1900. At the time Paris was a large woodworking firm that specialized in sleds and other children's toys, and skis were a natural extension of their core business.
Paris Manufacturing Co. (the forerunner to Paricon) supplied the sledges for both the Admiral Peary Expedition to the North Pole and a follow-up expedition by Donald MacMillan in 1914.
Source: http://www.skimuseumofmaine.org and http://www.pariconsleds.com
Photo from Ski
Museum of Maine
These skis were made in Finland just before fiberglass skis came out in the mid-1970s. Established in 1945 by Toivo Peltonen, Peltonen is one of the leading manufacturers of cross-country skis, with over 60 years continuous history of ski manufacturing in Hartola, 170 kilometers north of Helsinki, Finland.
Peltonen filed for bankrupcy in 2002, then restarted and is now owned
by Normark/Rapala consortium. The factory was relocated to Heinola,
Finland in 2011. Peltonen makes high tech XC racing skis and sells cheaper
OEM skis under it's brandname.
Peterborough skis and toboggans were made in a division of Peterborough Canoe Company from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
October 5, 1892 work began on a new factory at the corner of Water and King Streets in Peterborough, Ontario. It opened on February 15, 1893 under the name of the Peterborough Canoe Company, and employed 50 skilled workers.
Peterborough Canoe Company also manufactured camping goods, furniture and office fittings and gradually diversified its product line to include rocking verandah chairs, hand painted decoys, skis, and sun stop shades.
During World War Two, the Peterborough Canoe Co. produced a number of products for the war effort, including pontoons for building bridges, assault boats, RCAF crash boats, naval tenders, bomb loading dinghies and shell boxes. In early 1940, the entire production of new snow skis was shipped via Northern Quebec to Finland to help resist an invasion by the Soviet Union.
Peterborough skis were sold through Canada's T. Eaton Department Stores through their catalogs.
Wooden ski production continued until the 1950s, when fiberglass and metal skis infiltrated the market. Peterborough struggled through the transition and eventually filed for bankrupcy in 1962.
Paul Rønning started the ski factory in 1936 in Skotterud, Norway in the Eidskog commune, which is furthest south in the Hedmark region. Paul's education was as a furniture carpenter. He learned to make skis with wood when he worked with the Madshus ski factory in Gjøvik, Norway, before he moved to Skotterud to start his own factory.
Rønning Treski is Norway's one and only wooden ski factory. Here wood products have been produced since the turn of the century and wooden skis have been manufactured continuously since 1936. In those days only solid wood skis were available, but during World War II, the first laminated skis were developed at the Rønning factory. In 1965, Paul's son Ulf Rønning took over operation of the ski business.
Ulf manufactures several types of skis including Cross Country, Big Mountain, Mountain, Child Skis, and Telemark skis. Development has proceeded gradually in the direction of several laminates. In fact, some of the skis have up to 50 laminates. This is such to achieve a more stable quality and greater resistance to breakage and wear and tear. Well laminated wooden skis provide a very special ski pleasure and the wooden sole has unique properties in the snow.
In 1907, Abel Rossignol (1882-1954) operated a manufacturing plant in Voiron, Isère (France). Products included cans, textiles, and wooden items--including skis. Carpenter Abel Rossignol, a very committed skier, made his first skis out of solid wood in 1907. Rossignol wooden skis glided better than others, and in 1909 won first prize in the national competition held in Chamonix by the Touring Club of France. In 1911, Rossignol opened a factory specific to ski manufacturing. Rossignol participated in the first Winter Olympics with success in 1928.
In 1937, Emile Allais became world champion on Rossignol skis. With Rossignol Olympic 41 skis, Henri Oreiller became the first French Olympic champion in history, in 1948. The Rossignol saga was already a legend. In 1956, Laurent Boix-Vives bought the company and started to sell Rossignol skis all over the world.
Ruko of Canada, LTD started business in 1956 selling outdoor sporting goods. They are an importer and distributor of sporting and gift related products serving the retail and wholesale trade. Products include: sporting, hunting and tactical knives, swords, replicas, compasses, medieval armour and shields.
In the 1970s, Ruko got into selling skis, ski boots, and poles. Ruko skis were imported from Sweden and made by one of the three Swedish ski-makers at that time: Sandströms, Edsbyn, and Sundins. A series of events caused Ruko to get out of the ski business.
Rustad Ski Factory was the first ski manufacturing facility in Norway.
In 1872 Rustad Ski Factory was established on Rustad farm and later moved to Fåberg, Norway in 1906. Fåberg was a farming village. There was of course a number of small industries in the district, including a number of sawmill operations. But generally speaking, Fåberg industrial center was in and around Lillehammer. Lillehammer Ski Klubb was founded in 1883 and is Norway's largest "pure" Ski Club.
Most of Fåberg industrial workers worked in Lillehammer industry. And some of the industry that usually linked to Lillehammer, was actually in Fåberg. However, there was one industrial company that did not fit into this picture. It was Rustad ski factory.
Simen Rustad was the company's founder. He was born on the farm Rustad in 1858. As a 14-year-old, he started in 1872 to create a ski on the farm. Ski was now in its infancy and Simen got deposition on his skis. In 1880 he got hold of an old house, which became his ski shop. Water power provided energy to the machines and thus change its name to Workshop Brooks. When the water flow in the creek became low, Simen got hold of a gasoline engine. It was a far-sighted procurement at this time. Eventually, he invested in several machines: circular saws, milling machines, etc. By the turn of the century, the ski factory became a solid small company that also exported skis to Sweden, Germany and Russia.
Snow skis made of solid wood
At first he used pine, but later ash, imported from Denmark and Germany. The skis were made of solid wood, as glued skis were not common until the 1930s (Splitkein). In 1900 a new and hard wood came to the industry: hickory. The same year, Simen Rustad made the first pair of hickory skis. This pair was expensive. It cost three times the price of other ski pairs. Average earnings for a manufacturing worker in Lillehammer was 500 kroner per year.
Moving to Fåberg station in 1906
Production increased and Simen came up with an average production of 1300 skis per year. The farm workshop was too small and too cumbersome for ski transportation. In 1906 he therefore move into new premises at the new settlement at Fåberg station. In 1916 the company significantly expanded and 3-4 men were employed.
Simen Rustad died in 1925. His widow, Petra, and the young son John took over ski manufacturing, but the economic crisis caused by World War I made it difficult to survive. The international postwar recession beginning in autumn 1920, hit Norway more severely than most other countries. In 1921 GDP per capita fell by eleven percent, which was only exceeded by the United Kingdom. Average annual production was in the 1920s down to 300 pairs of skis. Most Norwegian ski factories, however, did well through the occupation years, so too did Rustad ski factory, by creating plenty of skis for the Germans.
After the war
After World War II, the market for skis was a good for the Norwegian ski factories. Rustad ski factory expanded greatly with a large new building in 1962. Then the company produced 10,000 pairs of skis a year and went at once to more specialized production (mainly cross country and mountaineering skis). More and more production was exported and eventually the United States and Canada became the major markets
The End of Wooden Ski Production
In 1980, Rustad Ski Factory closed its doors like so many other Norwegian ski factories at the time. There were two reasons for this: First, there was a great overproduction of skis in the world, which lowered consumer prices. Second came the fiberglass revolution. This was seriously visible at the World Championships in Falun in 1974. Norwegian wooden ski factories could not compete with fiberglass ski companies situated in cheaper economic areas of Europe.
When Rustad stopped its production plant in 1980, it had produced 327,412 pairs of skis over the years.
Source: http://www.lillehammerbryggeri.no/index.php?id=7 and http://www.byavis.no
Bröderna Sandströms Skidfabrik was started at Tunnelgatan 14 in Stockholm in 1910 by Alfred Sandström along with his brother. Three years later they built a larger factory at Skanstull. It had large orders from the Swedish army. Due to transportation issues, brothers Sandströms decided to just move closer to wood suppliers and in 1941 built a modern ski factory in Lindesberg.
In 1966, Sandströms Ski Factory AB, in Lindesberg, Sweden became a subsidiary to Jofa AB from Malung, Sweden. Jofa's sports equipment factory burned down on February 1, 1966, producing a need for a replacement factory.
Sandströms not only manufactured skis but also bandy and hockey sticks. Of the approximately 60 employees at the factory, 40 were involved with ski production. Skis were produced during the winter months, while other sporting equipment was produced in the non-winter months.
In 1971, Sandströms Ski Factory AB produced about 50,000 pairs of skis with about 20% of them exported. There were three ski factories in Sweden in 1971 (Sandströms, Edsbyn, and Sundins) compared to 13 in 1946.
Jofa bought Volvo in 1974 and years later closed down production in Lindesberg.
Sigmund Ruud ca. 1973 ***
Sigmund Ruud (December 30, 1907 - Apr 7, 1994) was Norwegian ski jumper born in Kongsberg, Norway, Sigmund Ruud, with his brothers Birger and Asbjørn, dominated ski jumping in the 1920's and 1930's.
Sigmund Ruud worked for two years in a sport shop in Prague, eighteen years in Zurich and joined Gresvig Ski Company in Oslo by winter of 1931. Later, he opened his own ski making company in Oslo
Sigmund Ruud skis were manufactured by the Åsnes ski company for distribution in the United States in the 1970s.
Bjorn Kjellstrom was born in Sweden and became a national champion there in ski orienteering. The low-cost sport involved the use of a map and a compass to move quickly over unknown forest terrain on skis from one control point to another. Competition was on foot in warmer weather, on skis in the winter.
In 1932, he, his brothers Alvar and Alvid, and Gunnar Tillander invented the Silva System (Silva is the Latin word for forest). It combined a compass with a protractor built into the base. Silva Company made both compases and skis.
Silva was a Swedish company with a United States division. Silva Company was a division of Johnson Diversified, Inc. (aka Johnson Wax Associates) of Laporte, Indiana. Silva Huski skis had a cherry wood top with layers of fiberglass to strengthen the skis. Huski skis were one of a few skis in the mid-1970s that were made in North America. Johnson Wax Associates (aka Johnson Outdoors, Inc.) purchased Silva Company USA's operation in 1973.
In the 1990s litigation occured between Johnson Wax Associates, US distribtor of Silva products, and the Swedish arm of the company Silva Sweden AB. Silva skis ceased to be made in the late 1970s.
Skilom ski brand created by the Madshus company in 1971. This was an effort by Europeans to dominate the US market by creating a special brand for the United States. Skilom offered total ski packages, which included bindings, boots, and poles. Skilom skis were imported to the United States by Anderson and Thompson Ski Company.
These beautiful, natural finish skis are made in Canada
Splitkein means "split cane" literally in Norwegian, refering to the laminations of the ski. The truly complex laminated skis didn’t hit the market until 1939, when chemists invented a glue strong enough to hold the various laminations together permanently. These skis were constructed with thin layers of wood that were glued together in narrow strips called “cane” throughout the entire length of the ski.
Splitkein ski factory was established by Peter Østby in 1935 and taken over by Laila Schou Nilsen in 1947. In 1950, Splitkein moved the factory to Hønefoss. In addition to skiing, the factory produced garden furniture, camping equipment and yachts.
From 1950 to the 1960's, Splitkein skis were a dominant force in Norwegian skiing, but like other Norwegian producers of wooden skis, Splitkein faced competition with imported glassfiberski skis and had to cease operations in the 1970s.
Splitkein skis were manufactured by different ski manufacturers in North America under contract with strict specifications.
W. L. Stadig
Walter L. Stadig was a mechanical engineer and lived in Soldier Pond, Maine. Born in 1889, Stadig was the grandson of ski maker Lars Stadig, who immigrated from Sweden. Being one having a mechanical mind, Stadig invented an early version of the modern snow blower. His version, called the “Stadig Rotary Snowplow,” earned a total of five patents, one of which is still used by Catepillar in their modern snowplows.
In the 1930s, Stadig turned his attention to making skis, using the knowledge gained from his grandfather Lars. Stadig's skis were known as "Swedish Rift Skis", which means tha they were made from straight grained wood with the bark side down. Stadig tried to sell some of his skis to the US Government and even though they performed better than other government skis, the US declined to purchase then, becuase Stadig's skis were made of birch. Hickory was the US Governement's wood of choice for skis.
In 1936 and 1937 Stadig participated in the 176-mile Bangor to Caribou Ski Marathon. Stadig was one of five finishers in the 1936 race with a time of 43 hours and 23 minutes.
Stadig's other inventions included one of the first ski lifts in the state of Maine. Stadig died in 1953 of a heart attack.
Source: Ski Museum of Maine, www.ancestry.com, Bangor Daily News,
Stöckli is the only ski manufacturer in Switzerland.The company manufactures in its new ski factory and not only distributes some 50,000 pairs of skis per year but also has seven of its own ski shops across Switzerland.
Stöckli Ski has been crafting for 71 years, making it one of the oldest ski makers in the world. In the middle of the 1930s, Josef Stöckli was producing wooden skis for his own use and also for his colleagues. As the demand became even greater, he decided to open the Stöckli AG ski works in 1936. Joseph Stöckli made his first pair of wood skis out of Ash in 1936. At this time, in Switzerland alone, about 30 ski producing factories had been founded. A few other larger ski factories such as Schwendener, Attenhofer and Authier flourished.
In 1946 he set up his factory in Wolhusen, where he crafted laminated wood skis made of Hickory and other woods. In 1957 he made his first metal ski, and in 1965, the first composite-plastic ski was introduced to the market.
Stöckli went on to continue to make skis for the European and United States' markets.
Source: http://www.californiaskicompany.com/stockli.html - http://en.stoeckli.ch/main/company/stoeckli_story/
The first large United States commercial ski factory emerged in St. Paul, Minnesota. Martin A. Strand, the company’s founder, began manufacturing skis believing he could capitalize on the new ski clubs that were beginning to form in Red Wing, Minnesota and Ishpeming, Michigan. He modeled his skis after the popular Norwegian Telemark ski, as did most ski manufacturing companies of the period.
Martin Strand started making skis in the basement of his home in Minneapolis, MN in 1896. He continued to make skis, while he worked as a surveyor and insurance salesman. In 1904, he partnered with business associate Frederick Youngquist and they formed the Strand-Youngquist Manufacturing Company, at which, they made skis, boat oars, and toboggans. Their business partnership disolved in about 1907, but Strand continued to make skis.
Strand Ski Manufacturing company was victim to two devastating fires in 1910 in Minneapolis, MN, forcing Strand to find a new location. In July of 1911, Strand started manufacturing skis again in New Richmond, WI. He supplied skis to Army troops during World War II, but demand dropped after the war and Strand Ski Manufacturing was bankrupt by 1948.
The success of the Strand Ski Company established St. Paul, Minnesota as the center for American ski manufacturing, a reputation that was enhanced by the arrival of the Northland Ski Manufacturing Company and the Gregg Ski Manufacturing Company.
Source: Newspaper articles, personal research
Stride skis were made in Norway and imported to Canada in the 1970s. Stride skis were produced for eight years by A/S Gjovik Skiifabrikk, Gjovik, Norway. There were four models of Stride skis:
Explorer - Blue - Touring width
These skis were the first ones out of Scandinavia that had "modern marketing graphics" - the attempt to brand a complete line of STRIDE product - skis, poles, boots, bindings, socks and clothing was a great success with well over 2 million individual items sold under the brand in a ten year period including about 23,000 pairs of skis branded STRIDE.
The brand STRIDE was registered by Christopher Goodfellow in 1972. Christopher had graduated from Cornell Business School with an MBA in 1970 at the age of 22!. He went to ski and train in the winter of 1971-2 in Finland at the National training center up in the interior of Finland with a group of Canadian skiers. Goodfellow had the pleasure of skiing many long distances with the famous Finn Olympian Eero Mantyranta. He soon recognized the commercial possibilities of the sport and visited factories in Finland, Sweden and Norway getting all sorts of samples and a complete product line to brand STRIDE.
Goodfellow gave up racing to promote the commercial side of the sport! He soon had customers coast to coast in Canada and through an associate firm Dovre Ski Binding in West Concord Mass they distributed many thousands of skis, boots, poles and bindings across America as well.
Christopher Goodfellow in 1979 in Quebec with daughter
Eric Sundins Ski Factory was started by Eric Sundins in 1925 in Hudiksvall, Sweden. Production continued until 1989 when the factory was closed.
Hudiksvall is a leading center for the hydraulic industry. In order to produce laminated skis with the right features Eric designed Sundin hydraulic presses. In order to facilitate the loading of hours ago he designed hydraulic cranes for trucks, which led to a Hiab (Hydraulic Industri) founded in 1944. Two years later, Hiab developed a crane operated by the truck's own engine. Ski Production ceased in 1989 but hydraulic manufacturing continued with the company Hiab which manufactures hydraulic cranes and Sunfab, which makes hydraulic pumps and motors.
Swedish Canadian Ski Company
Skis were custom made and repaired for customers in and around Montreal, Quebec.
Telemark was a brand name of the Åsnes ski company for ski sales in the United States
Telmark Ski Manufacturing
After many hours of research, there was no record found of the Telmark Manufacturing Company in Duluth or Minnesota. Our speculation, is that Telmark was a brand of another ski maker, such as the Strand Ski Company.
Toppen was a brand of ski made by the Gjøvik Ski Factory in Gjøvik, Norway. Olaf Hoff Bakken worked at the Madshus Ski Factory from 1935-1938. After Madshus Ski Factory at Gjøvik burned in 1936, the company moved to Lillehammer, Norway. Bakken started the Gjøvik Ski Factory in 1938 and employed ten former Madshus employees. Toppen was the most popular brand of ski produced at the Gjøvik Ski Factory.
In the 1970s, Toppen skis were imported from Norway to the United States by Haugen Nordic Products, a division of Dartmouth Outdoor Sports, Hanover, NH.
Toko started making these wooden skis in Europe in 1971 and made them from 71'-74. When fiberglass skis hit the Nordic scene in 1974, Toko switched to making fiberglass skis. The wooden skis were made in Sweden and not imported into the North American Market.
Trønder Ski Factory was located in Trondheim, Norway. Nordic Combined champion Olav Lian, who had experience from working at Splitkein, managed the factory for many years. Trønder Ski Factory was owned by sports equipment company Axel Brunn, and produced skis from 1938-1975. Trønder Ski got a good foothold in Trondheim, but was never big in the national-scale and the company did not focus on promoting it.The factory was moved from Trondheim to Czeckoslovakia towards the end of Trønder's era. **
Trysil Knut ca. 1968 ***
Trysil is a municipality in the county of Hedmark, Norway and home to the world’s first official ski competition held in 1855. The Trysilgutten ski club, founded in 1861, is the world’s oldest ski club.
Trysil Knud (Knut) was a name associated with not any one person, but rather a synthesis of the young men of the town Trysil and its surrounding farms, known afar for their skiing skills. As was then the custom, Knud is said to have jumped in military dress uniform, firing a musket while in flight, and to have skied so skillfully downhill in untracked snow that he could speed dangerously close past a tree and snatch a jacket hanging on it.
Today, Trysil Knut (the modern spelling) lives on, in the names of skiing events, gear and apparel.
Trysil Knut was a brand name of the Åsnes ski company for ski sales in the United States and was popularized by Norwegian-American Alf Engen.
W. F. Tubbs Company
Made in Norway, Maine, Tubbs skis were a major manufacturer of skis in the 1920s.
The company was founded by Walter Tubbs in Norway, Maine, in 1906 to manufacture ash snowshoes, skis, sleds and furniture. Snowshoeing enjoyed a mild popularity in the 1920s and '30s when laced wooden shoes cost about $20 a pair. The company's original heyday occurred in the 1940s when Tubbs manufactured close to 100,000 pairs of wooden snowshoes per year, many of which were used by Allied troops in World War II. "Snowshoeing was as, or more, popular than cross country skiing at that time," Kiniry says.
The company moved to Vermont in the '40s, eventually settling in Brandon.
Another company called 'Vermont Tubbs' still exists there, manufacturing
U. S. Propeller
J. C. "Chris" Schwarzenbach, an American from Long Island, had gone to school in Switzerland's Engadine Valley. He raced for the United States in the 1938 Alpine World Championships in Engelberg. He returned to the United States in 1940 and bought the U. S. Propeller Company in Los Angeles, CA. They manufactured wooden propellers for small planes.
Around 1942, Schwarzenbach's company started making skis and bindings for the U. S. Army's Tenth Mountain Division under the label of U. S. Propeller.
Source: Skiing Heritage Journal, June 2007
Viking Skis and Snowshoes were made in Cadillac, MI in the early 1900s.
Vimpeli Ski Factory
The Vimpeli Ski Factory started during World War I and supplied skis to the Russian army. During World War II, there were ten ski factories in Vimpeli and they made about 50 % of the Finnish army skis. Locals in Vimpeli claim that the Finnish-Russian war was won on Vimpeli skis when about 200 workers were employed in the factories. The factory ceased operation in 1985.
Early ski production in Pärnu, Estonia began with
airplane skis in 1939. In 1944 ski production by Pärnu Ski and
Furniture factory was started and employed 22 people who made 10,000
skis that year.
Source: Ilkka Y., Suomi
Warner Hardware from Minneapolis, MN sold skis manufactured by the Gregg Ski Manufacturing Company.
Montgomer Ward-brand skis were made by one of the major ski manufacturers during the 1940s and 50s. Ward also sold the "Ski Rider" brand through its catalogs.
Western Flyer was a brand name of the Western Auto Supply Company. Western Auto used the Western Flyer brand name, not only for skis, but for bicycles.
Winner Boats, Inc. was originally located in West Trenton, NJ and began building wooden boats, skis, and related sports equipment in the early 1930s. Winner eventually changed to fiberglass boat production in the late 1940s, making wooden skis obsolete in their manufacturing process.
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