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Turning was hard, injuries were easy

Kira Horvath/Vail DailyDavid Rose of West Vail has a collection of over 300 skis, many of which decorate the walls of his home. He began collecting over 20 years ago and has skis dating from the 1850s.
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VAIL ” Dave Rose has 300 pairs of old skis, some of them dating back to the late 1800s.

That doesn’t mean he would want to ski on them. When he describes his collection, his most frequently used phrase is “Guaranteed to break your ankle.”

Some of the skis just have leather straps for bindings. Others have more modern ” but nonreleaseable ” bindings. Steering would be downright impossible with some of the long, wooden skis.



“They had no direction,” he said describing one pair that was almost a century old. “You just went down and hit a tree and stopped.”

Rose, a part-time Vail resident, has been collecting skis for 20 years. He finds his skis all over the country, even overseas. He buys them in thrift shops, antique shops and through the Internet.



“I’ve paid anywhere from 50 cents to hundreds of dollars,” Rose said.

He’ll even offer money for antique skis he sees on Vail Mountain, where Rose has been a ski instructor for 23 years.

“I pay them right on the hill,” he said. “I say, ‘Here’s my card. I’ll see you at the end of the day.’ They’re happy, and I’m happy.”



He has 80 pairs of skis displayed on the walls throughout his Vail home. The rest of his collection is in Iowa, where Rose also lives.

He started collecting skis because he was interested in the drastic changes that happened with ski equipment over a short period of time, he said.

Rose grew up skiing at Chestnut Mountain in Galena, Ill. His collection includes his first pair of skis.

He has lots of tall, straight skis. Many of the longest, most unwieldy skis in his collection were only used once, he noted, whereas shorter skis usually have a lot more wear.

Rose has some of the first Head models that used the revolutionary “sandwich construction.”

He has a 9-foot-tall pair of cross-country skis that were made to hunt game. They have identical tips on the front and back ” supposedly so the game warden wouldn’t know if the hunter was coming or going based on the tracks.

He has military skis, from vintage 10th Mountain Division skis to modern Army skis to Swiss Army skis.

With the old, clumsy equipment, it’s a wonder that people stuck with skiing long enough for shaped, short, computer-tested skis to come around, Rose said.

“If we had stayed with this old stuff, no one would be skiing today,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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