did some "weeding" of my wife's and my ski rack.
And hidden in a
far corner I found a pair of 1977
Lovett racing skis (see picture above). Surprisingly, these
skis were still un-mounted and in the plastic sleeves they came
in. Near-mint condition, 38 year old skis!
these skis triggered a few memories. Though I donít talk about
it much on this web site, because this is a backcountry cross
country skiing web site, a long time ago I used to xc ski race a
lot. When I was 19, I was on the United States Ski Team and was
sponsored for a season by Lovett skis. I used Lovett skis
on the domestic racing circuit, and for international racing at
the Jr. World Championships in Switzerland and at World Cup
races in Scandinavia.
were made back then by the Lovett family in Boulder, Colorado.
John Lovett founded the ski company and a number of USST
athletes raced on Lovett skis in the mid 70ís, until John sold
the company in 1978. Lovett was likely the first US producer of
fiberglass composite xc racing skis. Hexcel made fiberglass and
honeycomb xc racing skis for a year or two near when Lovett
started up. But I'm not sure which company was actually the
first US composite Nordic racing ski producer. K2 made xc
racing skis later in the 70ís. Since the early 80's, no one has
made xc racing skis in the United States.
line about being sponsored by Lovett skis, was that it was a
really cool experience. You got to go to the ski factory and
learn how to make skis, you got to be involved in how skis were
designed, you met the guys that would be building your skis, and
if you had an idea regarding ski design* Ė soon you would be
skiing on that idea. The skis were good, the support was good
and heck, the first pair of skis I got from Lovett had serial
number ďTK1Ē Ö so how can you not love a ski company that did
stuff like that!
that this was a pair of unique skis I had unearthed, and a
rarity because they had never been mounted, I posted a picture
of them on the web. More specifically, I posted a picture on a
Facebook group that Stacey Moon of Anchorage started: the
Vintage Nordic Skiing Gear Facebook group. This is a fun
group where folks, mostly old-timers like me, post pics of gear
from the glory days along with comments. The 70's and 80's
were really interesting times in Nordic skiing history, as there
were so many radical changes in ski equipment during that time. Iíve learned a bunch
of cool stuff from the members of this Facebook group.
posted the picture of my Lovett skis, Steve Soitsman from Homer
posted that my skis showed the nice work related to ďhis
neighbor Bill and my neighbor AndreĒ. I was confused by this
comment, so I asked him to explain. Come to find out, the
brother of John Lovett moved to Alaska. Now Bill Lovett lives
in Homer. Bill worked at the Lovett ski factory back in the
70's. And Andre Lovett, his son, now ski races at Alaska
Pacific University in Anchorage.
I felt a
little embarrassed for not knowing this. I guess I havenít been
paying very close attention to local ski racing the past dozen
years (as you can probably tell from this web site).
thought to myself: ďWhat the heck am I doing with these skis?
These skis are Lovett family heirlooms. The Lovetts should have
these skis, not me.Ē
So, I met
up with Andre Lovett and gave him my Lovett skis. It only took
about 15 seconds of talking to Andre before I realized he was a
likable guy. And that he was proud of his familyís ski making
history. Then I remembered, thatís about how long it took me to
like the crew at the Lovett family ski factory back in the day.
And they too took great pride in the skis they built.
There are good skis and there are magical
skis. Magical skis are good skis that are made by special
people. Lovetts were magical skis. And it was fun to
have a surprise re-connection to the days I ski raced on these