As I work on my autobiography, I keep finding stories about movies that I produced.
Yesterday, I was thumbing through one of my give-away programs and ran across a full-page advertisement titled: “Own your own ski school movies. Just choose your technique.”
I would rent any of the eight different techniques for $10 each or $50 for the series. And you could have a different movie for eight of your ski club meetings. If you were hooked on an individual technique you could buy a copy in color with sound for $125, or silent with a typed script for $59.95.
Over the years, when I would visit and film at a ski resort, I would spend an afternoon with a famous ski school director and film. Of course each one of them was dramatically different. When you went to various resorts you learned from different techniques because each one of its directors had a different way to teach the same thing.
After many years of different techniques the hard heads of some of the skiers got permeated with the idea that the same physical forces caused the skis to change direction. With the sophistication of ski equipment each individual technique slowly merged into what is taught all over the world today.
The men who appear in these movies were from a generation or two ago and were skiing for my cameras in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
An example was Stein Eriksen. In this film, Stein demonstrates the technique that earned him his Olympic gold medals. It also demonstrated his forward flip with a full layout years before anyone else was doing one. I featured Stein in many of those movies and after watching him ski every night on the big screen I discovered that he turned one way with rotation and the other way with reverse shoulder. He was in my audience one night in Detroit and took exception to my analysis and we got together the next day in my hotel room with a projector. He said, “By gosh, you are right. I never knew that before and none of my coaches did either.” So, if Stein Eriksen can learn something from those ski technique movies, a lot of the people that rented them did too.
Another film was “The Techniques of Champions.” This was a slow-motion analysis of the technique of half of the medal winners from the Innsbruck Olympics in Austria.
The film “Powder Snow Technique” was a real winner because when I produced it the only people who could handle powder snow even a little bit were people who skied on flexible Head skis.
“Learn Ski Tricks” taught skiers how to do jump turns, step over Christies, Royal Christies, brushing up on your grandstand ability, tip drops and much, much more as demonstrated by Junior Bonous.
The modern Austrian technique, which then featured the revolutionary reverse shoulder turns and the new Othmar Schneider technique were also available.
In the 70s I was producing as many as 10 or 15 different films every year – and not only ski films. This was before videotape, so I could only shoot on 16mm film. I cranked them out for wine making, motor home travel, Micronesia, Hawaii, New Zealand, France, and Pan American Airlines. And I made some sailing films for the Ford Motor Company. I was one very busy person. I wish I had copies of some of those films. If anyone out there knows of any of them laying around in a garage somewhere I sure would appreciate getting them so I can transfer them to a DVD and put them in my library so when I don’t have anything to do for awhile I can reminisce about those good old days. In the 1970s, as my business grew, I had hired my first cameraman full time and my first editor, so I had to keep them busy.
Those were the hot summer days when, as the afternoon wind came up, I would hurry down to the marina and launch my Pacific Catamaran and sail until it was too dark to do it anymore. Then I would go back to the office. And if I came home late enough, I’d manage to get out of doing the dishes.
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