Monday, January 7, 2008

Making Skis

Happy Monday! The forecast looks strong this week for some night skiing and maybe a powder morning. Over the weekend Nils Larsen passed on a couple photos and words from his latest project. After traveling several times to the Altai region of China to document skiing’s oldest roots, he’s begun making a set of skis in the Altai tradition. Be sure to watch Nils’ Journey to the Source clip to see how the Altai build and use their skis. It’s a really cool project, and it will be fun to follow his progress in construction and use.

After 3 winter trips to the Altai and spending quite a bit of time on their skis, I have decided to make a pair using, as close as possible, their tools and methods. Why? In part because I like making things by hand, and because I like skiing – it’s a natural joining of interests. The more prominent reason is that I've acquired a taste for this type of skiing, and I'm nervous about breaking or damaging any of the skis I've brought back from the Altai. They all have personal stories and histories attached to them as well as being collector’s items.

The wood used in the Altai is spruce – light and relatively strong. Living in the interior of WA, I have quite a bit of Engleman Spruce around here, which I think is ideal for the job. In early December I went into the woods near my house and picked out a straight tree about eight inches in diameter, cut it and hauled it back to my place. The tree was growing in a shaded creek bottom so it was tall as well as straight, as you can see, and I got two good logs out of it.

More to come,

Two good logs to start.

Split and ready for the next step. Photos courtesy of Nils Larsen.

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1 comment:

Kaz said...

Pretty sick Nils...can't wait to see the finished product!