vintage ski

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A friend with a shared passion for skiing recently discovered a January 1948 Ski issue of Town & Country magazine in perfect condition in her grandmother’s attic. This delicious edition shares many of the same attributes of today’s magazine, large format pages, beautiful fashion photography, advertisements for luxury fashion, jewelry and destinations, and articles focused on the rich and famous.

The issue is rich with articles about skiing. A many-paged article by Elizabeth Woolsey, a former national ski champion, is devoted to the U.S. Women’s Ski Team  a.k.a. “The Belles of St. Moritz” and their chances for winning Olympic fame in St. Moritz later that winter.

The most exclusive North American ski areas are listed with information about vertical drop, number of trails and lifts, ticket prices etc.

An article devoted on how to get in shape for skiing suggests classes at the New School of Exercise in New York City. Tips on how to avoid injury, which salons offer the best beneficial massages, and how to prevent chapping ones hands and face.

The issue is packed with advertising – including apparel and hard goods brands and ski lodges and even a two-page spread of a painting depicting skiers arcing through untracked snow promoting Chrysler motors. The ads allow us a peak at how glamorous and exciting the sport was sixty odd years ago.

A fashion and gear guide highlights the newest innovations and there is a lovely spread of illustrated après ski styles. I will be sharing this nostalgic skiing gold mine in the weeks to come. Below is a little taste of what’s to follow. I thought it particularly appropriate timing to post these as the the skiwear and ski equipment brands will all be unveiling the latest and greatest for next winter at the  Outdoor Retailer, the SnowSports Industries America and ISPO trade shows within the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll see you there!

An ad for Marjorie Benedikter’s ski fashions in the January 1948 issue of Town & Country

“Designed for action, the well-tailored three-piece suit on the left is of water-repellent Forstman wool gabardine in gray, by Irving of Montreal. An added accessory is a smart belt and belt-bag made of pony. Bally Boots. At Saks Fifth Avenue Ski Shop. Marjorie Benedikter, an accomplished skier herself, designs with an eye for the practical. Right: her becoming parka of white Byrd cloth may be worn in or out, and has a convenient drawstring around the face. Navy wool gabardine pants are essentially functional with front fullness achieved by trouser pleats. Dayton Co., Minneapolis; Frederick & Nelson, Seattle”

Saks Fifth Avenue had it’s own ski shop in 1948.

For more vintage ski inspiration click here.

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I spent a lovely and long day yesterday – 8:00 am ‘til 5:30 pm – tramping around the acres and acres of antiques, junque, architiques and vintage stuff at the Brimfield Antique Show. Billed as “the largest outdoor antique show in the world” it has 6,000 vendors and a festive flea market vibe. It is virtually impossible to see the entire thing in one day.

This was my first Brimfield experience so I hooked up with a fellow designer friend who knows the ropes. The show is divided into multiple sections, each having their own flavor and days of operation. We chose to go mid-week, even though all the shows weren’t yet open thinking it would be less crowded. Being a week day we called it “inspiration work”.

It was fascinating to see what people were selling (piles of rusty old faucet handles, vintage vending machines, plastic toys from the ‘70’s, old industrial lighting) and to see what people were happily toting away (taxidermy creatures, fixtures from old factories, wooden packing crates, chairs without seats). Regardless of how lowly, all this stuff had value to the buyers and the sellers. We never made it to the area selling Chippendale furniture and Chinese export porcelain, if there even was one.

There was so much stuff to look at we decided early on to focus our attention on textiles, paper, and ski related objects allowing ourselves the occasional sidetrack to check out free standing signage letters from old gas stations and super market signage. Here’s a sampling of the fruits our treasure hunting.

If you want to see it all for yourself, the show is open through Sunday.

Ribbon with skiers

Vintage silk scarf

3/4″ sterling snowflake skier pin

Lampshade made from vintage barkcloth from Lake’s Lampshades. My favorite find!

Detail from embroidered hankie

Silk scarf from the 70′s

Sweet Tyrolean themed ribbon

Vintage postcards from Snoqualmie Pass, Magic Mountain and Aspen

And here are some things that we passed on…

Vintage skis

In hindsight I should have bought this exquisite wooden flask covered in animal fur and decorated with tooled and braided leather and embroidery. The dealer had no idea of its origin or intended use. Do you? I’d love to know.

And am I crazy to have passed on an original of Lou Hechenberger’s New Hampshire ski poster for $1,200? Unfortunately the crispness of the design and clarity of color is lost in this image. It was a beauty.

An assortment of wooden skis and ski boots – various eras

Plastique. Antique?

More skis

This guy bought his Tyrolean hat for a steal minutes before we met him – darn! It was covered with beautiful souvenir pins from all over the the alps and is in mint condition.

Enjoy your weekend! (And Thank you A.N. for sharing your pix.)


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I’ve wanted to write about my all time favorite dinner plates for a while. They are souvenir plates from the ‘40’s with ski scenes in the middle. Each one highlights a different Canadian ski destination stretching from Quebec City’s Hotel Frontenac through the Laurentian Mountains and west to the highest peaks around Banff. To me, part of their charm is the old-timey lack of ski lifts; all skiers are “earning their turns”. It’s complete supposition on my part that the plates were in some way connected to the railroads that shuttled skiers east and west. I haven’t been able to find anything out their origins. I’d welcome any insight.

Last Easter as I was taking the dishes down from the top shelf in my pantry I watched in horror as the entire stack of ten slipped from my grasp and smashed on the floor! I felt physically ill as I picked up the shards.

Within minutes I called a friend who shares a passion for collecting the same plates (in both blue and red) and told her my tale of woe. She gamely agreed to sell me a few of her extras, which raised my spirits considerably. I then went about re-building my collection.

In less than a year I piece-mealed together an entire new set, plus one. I acquired a few from my friend, and a couple on ebay. The best score of all however was an almost complete set I found in an antique shop in Maine while I was travelling by motorcycle. (I had to have them shipped home.) Because of this experience I’ve realized that hunting for the dishes was just as much fun as it is to actually own and use them. I loved the challenge of the hunt and the thrill of discovery. So really there’s no reason for me to cry over broken dishes ever again!


For more vintage skiing on my blog click here. Or on Pinterest click here.

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Besides thinking it’s a little scary looking, and that it might be hard to breathe while wearing it, I’m at a loss for words regarding the aesthetic of this 1962 ski mask by Emellio Pucci. What do you think about it?

Enjoy your weekend!

For More vintage ski inspiration click here.

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Bromley, “the sun mountain”, founded by brewery mogul Fred Pabst, turns 75 years old this winter. I love this mountain because I grew up skiing there.

These postcards were old when I got them as a kid. I wasn’t born yet when they were taken, but Bromley was enough the same when I was young that they make me nostalgic. They must be from around WWII as a skier on the Sun Deck in the top postcard is in uniform.

“Flags of Skiing Nations – The flags of the United States, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and other skiing nations make a colorful display on the Sun Deck at Bromley’s Wild Boar Restaurant. Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, the Manchester, Vermont ski resort is only 197 miles from New York City and 143 miles from Boston.

Most ski areas at the time hired instructors from Austria or Switzerland, many who stayed on and enriched the fabric of our communities.

When I was a kid the Wild Board lodge was jammed with taxidermy antlered beasts hung on pine paneled walls and above the stone fireplace. There was an old wooden telephone booth in the back corner where everyone ate their bagged lunches.

In this postcard season passes were $75 and a week ticket was $21. Sig Buchmayer’s Sportshop is beneath the deck. Wooden ski patrol toboggans are lined up along the front of the building. The lodge has undergone some change but it remains red, if not quite that fire engine shade.

“The Lord’s Prayer at Bromley – This popular novice slope at Bromley, Manchester, Vermont attracts thousands of skiers every winter.”

You could park your car right along rte. 11 and walk to the lift.  Metal J-bars and a surface Poma lift moved skiers uphill in those days. By the time I started skiing at Bromley, “Number 1″ chairlift had been installed at the bottom of The Lord’s Prayer slope to haul skiers to the top . Each chair was painted a different color.  Old Number 1 and all the J-bars, except the Lord’s Prayer J, have been replaced with newer chairlifts. I’ll never forget being hollered at by the lifties for bouncing on the J-bars.

Notice the sunbathers sprawled on the red adirondack chairs along then side of the lodge building. Bromley skiers always have a tan because the slopes face south.

A special exhibit of professionally enlarged black and white vintage photos from the 1950′s and 60′s are on display in the Bromley base lodge this winter. If you can’t stop in to see the show, you can view a slideshow  here . The photographers and skiers are mostly unidentified. If you know either, drop a note to the aforementioned website.

This wonderful video splices together clips of 1960′s vintage Bromley skiing antics and nightlife made by Bromley skier Bob Ellis. Does anyone recognize these swinging skiers?

For more vintage skiing inspiration click here or follow my Vintage Winter boards on Pinterest




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These photos are  jet-setty in a kind of 60′s way! I’m just as fascinated by the compositions, and the play between light and shadow as I am by the skiwear and equipment. Now, wasn’t that James Bond I saw jump out of a helicopter and schuss away?







Photographs by Eugene Vernier via Trunk Archive

For more vintage skiing inspiration click here.


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Piles of wooden skis and plaid suitcases waiting on the platform for the departure of Snowball Limited from Union Station in L.A. to Sun Valley in the early 1960’s.

Have a great weekend!

Ski Train

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This prefabricated A-frame, sold by a company called Stanmar, Inc. from Boston, was built in 1960 at Mad River in Vermont for an assembled cost of $3,900. Does anyone recognize it?

Have a great Weekend!


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Original, creative, bold, athletic and gracious, Ann Bonfoey Taylor (1909-2007) was a recognized American tastemaker and accomplished sportswoman. Regularly featured in publications such as Vogue, Town and Country and Harper’s Bazaar, Taylor was known for her beauty, love of adventure and theatrical dash. Taylor’s impressive collection features works by some of the most masterful fashion designers of the 1950s and 60s including Charles James, Madame Grès, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Fortuny.



Taylor’s passion for sports and adventure began at an early age. At six years old her father took her flying in his open, two-seater biplane and later taught her to fly it. When World War II broke out, she became a flight instructor for Army and Navy pilots. Married in 1928, she and her husband, James Cooke, settled in Stowe, Vermont. Ann Cooke learned to ski well enough to be named an alternate to the Olympic Ski Team in 1939. She also played tennis well enough to compete at Wimbledon. Complimented for her stylish look on the ski slopes, she started her own line of innovative skiwear which appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1946 and was sold at Lord and Taylor.


In 1947, she married Vernon Taylor, Jr. and they established residence in Denver, Colorado, where they raised a family. With her love of the outdoors, Taylor developed a passion for horses and annually fox hunted in Virginia and England. The Taylor’s also built one of the first ski chalets in Vail, Colorado and maintained a cattle ranch in Montana.



Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor features more than 60 full ensembles and accessories many designed by Taylor herself. The clothes demonstrate a refined personal style reflective of her outdoor savvy and gracious indoor elegance.

At the Phoenix Art Museum through May 22, 2011

Thanks Valerie for the tip!


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Nostalgic graphics of mountains and flowers and quality stitching on these vintage ski patches from Swiss ski resorts are great for design inspiration. The embroidered backing found on new ski patches are scratchy and stiff, while the backing on these are soft and felt-like.



Zermatt Ski School





And one from Germany…


To see more vintage ski stuff click here.

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The 1970′s skiwear styles in these  photos, taken at a fashion shoot at Snowbird, Utah,  are both nostalgic and fresh at the same time.  There are a few pieces I’d like to have in my closet today! Sadly, only a few of the brands featured still survive.


Circa 1972,  Bibs and jacket, both by Henke for Saska Sport Industries. Image © Condé Nast Archive

1972 ©Conde Nast Archive

(Above, left) Circa 1972,  Jacket and bibs, both by Globe of New Hampshire, skis and poles by Hart Ski Company. Image by © Condé Nast Archive

(Above, right) Circa 1972,  Ski jacket and ski pants, both by Bogner, Olympic Timer by Lafayette Watch, and a Glentex cap. Image by © Condé Nast Archive

conde NAst

Circa 1972,  Ski jacket  paired with ski pants and matching cap, all by White Stag; he wears a White Stag striped sweater and sunglasses by Bausch and Lomb. Image by © Condé Nast Archive

1972 ©Conde Nast Archive

(Above, left) Circa 1972,  Ski jacket over warm-up pants, both by Roffe, turtle and crewneck sweaters by Demetre and gloves by Bonnie Cashin for Crescendoe/ Superb gloves,  hat by Brosseau, shoulder bag by La Bagagerie. Image by © Condé Nast Archive

(Above, right) Circa 1972,  Cross-country ski outfit consists of a pullover and matching knickers from Ramah by Bass, Eiger mountain knicker socks, a Pennaco turtleneck, Mohawk ski gloves, and Acme Siren necklace by Donald Stannard.  Image by © Condé Nast Archive

1972 ©Conde Nast Archive

Moon Boots by Technica

Photos via The Selvedge Yard

For more vintage ski fashions click here.


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I am particularly fond of this vintage French ski postcard. Not so much because of the disorganized nutty mademoiselle, but because of her Standard Poodle. We’ve had a sixty-year succession of Standard Poodles in my family. My parents were introduced by the first, my mother’s “Fleur”. As the story goes, Fleur used to hang around the bottom of the chairlift at Aspen while my mom skied. One day as she slid into the liftline she discovered a tall handsome man feeding Fleur hotdogs. The rest, as they say, is history.

The loose translation on the card reads “Even when I do sport I still Swing“. (If anyone has a better translation please let me know!)

ski poodle

For more vintage ski postcards click here.


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I’ve learned that one should never underestimate the power of ski wax in a relationship.

A number of years ago, my then un-be-known-to-me future husband offered to prepare my Nordic skis for the infamous Stowe Derby. The race starts near the top of the alpine ski area on Mt. Mansfield, VT, twists and turns down the Toll Road before entering a portion of hilly woods, then drops onto level fields and ends 12.5 miles later behind the church in the center of the village.

“The Derby” is a particularly challenging event to wax for, especially if you “classic” ski as I was that year. Skis need to be fast for the descent and enough layers of wax need to be applied to their bases to survive the abrasive high speed downhill run, and still have enough grip to get you up and over the series of steep little hills that follow. Temperature fluctuations from the top of the course  at 3,292’ and the lower elevations  around 690’, need to be considered as each temperature range requires a different wax. And they all need to be layered sequentially! A good wax job means not having to stop midway through the race to re-wax. Needless to say I happily agreed to his offer and my skis were perfect that day!

Eventually our friendship evolved into romance, and one autumn day, quite unexpectedly, he asked me to marry him. Surprised, I must have taken a few too many seconds to respond, so to sweeten the deal he quickly offered to “wax my skis for life”.

Snapped out of my disbelief I said, “Yes!” He has been good to his word and has waxed my skis perfectly for eleven years to the day! Happy Anniversary to my favorite waxer and here’s to a long partnership filled with many more skiing adventures! And wishing fast wax to all Derby participants tomorrow!



Bottom copy

Vintage Swedish Swix ski wax from when waxing was simple: pre fluorinated base waxes, hot boxes and binders! To see more vintage ski stuff click here.


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I am smitten with this vintage Frosty Treat ice cream cup on ebay. But I just can’t stomach bidding above the current high bid of $9.99 for a paper cup, even if it is unused. So if you’re inclined to make an offer, click here. I’m sure that by next week I’ll be sorry that I didn’t go for it when I had the chance!

frosty treat

To see more vintage ski stuff click here.


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I just spent a few days at the Winter Outdoor Retailer trade show last week. The state-of-the-art backcountry and telemark ski gear that will be available next fall makes my head spin!

It’s nice to think back on a time when ski boots were simpler, resembled hiking boots and skied like slippers. However, I won’t be trading my buckles for laces anytime soon!

Bally Boot

To see more vintage ski fashions click here.

To become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.


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