So I came across this great collection of vinatge ski posters a while back, but unfortunately they were all watermarked. I really hate watermarks and try to avoid posting images containing them at all costs; but these were just too good to pass up so you’ll have to try and see past the giant “ORIGINAL SKI POSTERS” and enjoy the underlying greatness. Growing up in Sacramento I always had a thing for 70s ski culture — Tahoe was a short drive up the mountain and a lot of the style and imagery tricked down into the valley. A lot of these perfectly capture the spirit of those times for me.
So, as you may have guessed, these are all from the Original Ski Posters site, where you can purchase many of them. Sadly, these watermarked Jpegs are as close as most of us will ever get to these as they start at around £500 and go upwards of £3000. there is an open image directory here where you can grab all the images with a utility like Downthemall. A couple seem ripe for watermark removal and some of the resolutions are high enough to get a good print out of.
Via Original Ski Posters site
After watching the Winter Olympics I found this History of Ski Aerial Acrobatics pretty amusing. The whole thing is basically just a bloopers reel of guys eating it off of jumps. Towards the end they start nailing the landings though and the super-8 style film is pure vintage goodness. Check the awesome lens flare at 3:24.
Video Link | Via Bruno Aeberli
In part 2 of the Vintage Ski Ads Series I chose some that focused in on the skis themselves. When I see skis these days they either look like pop culture threw up all over them or they were designed by the same guy who makes the info graphics at the bottom of the ESPN screen. Looking at the examples above it’s plain to see they had a little more appreciation for subtlety and a sense for classic design back in the day. Either that or the printing methods were such that they were limited to simple shapes and colors and the designer in me is just picking up on that.
When I think about it, this could be the case with a lot of older stuff. I think we as designers often appreciate unintended aesthetic elements; things that were a function of necessity or limitation rather than deliberate design decisions. A good example would be vintage audio equipment. I think the Neve Sidecar is one of the most beautiful inanimate objects ever created. But when you really look at it you realize it was designed by engineers; pretty much every design decision was dictated by necessity and function. So I must be reinterpreting that as physical beauty creating a connection between the idea of an object’s functionality and it’s aesthetic beauty. In other words, maybe I only like how it looks because I appreciate how it works (or in this case, sounds). Then again, I have some gear around the studio that I love the sound and functionality of but is just downright ugly to look at.
Anyways, all those Rossi’s are incredible. This whole style needs to make a comeback, but it seems these days people need to be beaten over the head with design instead of left to appreciate its finer points on their own. I’m not saying there’s not a place for busy, crazy graphics on skis — I myself have designed several busy, crazy skis — I just wish there were more like these to choose from. I guess it’s a different industry, no longer do guys in mock turtlenecks with comb-overs get all scientific and wear collared dress shirts while developing new skis in the lab, now it’s just this guy and a Nintendo DS in a dark room.
I got my first couple days of skiing for the season in last week right after some nice snow up at Heavenly. Skiing always reminds me of being really young and going up with my parents, Sacramento is only an hour from the Sierras so we’d get up a few times a year. I loved all the design associated with ski equipment and I found that when I first started out in design I was always trying to emulate that style in my work.
My latest trip got me thinking about vintage ski graphics so I set out to track down some good examples. Most of what I found were from magazine ads, this first set focuses on racing imagery. I’ll be posting some more in the days to come, hope you enjoy this first batch.