Millions of skiers owe their knees and ligaments to Georges Salomon, native of Annecy, capital of the Haute-Savoie. Last night we learned that Mr Salomon had died at his home by the shores of Lake Annecy after an illness. He was aged 85.
Boivin and his Salomon Equipe SX91s on la Moine
Born on the 18th November 1925 George Salomon was an only child from a modest background. His father worked making saw blades. He hoped his son would become a teacher but in 1946 they opened a 50 sq meter workshop at Côte-Saint-Maurice in Annecy and in 1947 they started suppling ski edges into a fast expanding European market. Following night school to improve his engineering skills Georges developed an automated machine for producing edges. In conflict with his father, who didn’t understand the need to invest and expand, Georges took over the direction of the company.
In 1955 Salomon introduced one of the first releasable toe-pieces, the Skade and two years later perfected the cable binding heel in the form of le lift. In 1950s France there was something of an vogue for American sounding names. The technology behind the Skade evolved into the S505, the world’s first step in heel piece, introduced at the end of the 1960s. By 1972 Salomon was the world’s number 1 binding maker with more than a million units sold per annum, two thirds of production going to export.
At the end of the 1970s Salomon started manufacturing ski boots. It is the SX91 Equipe which debuted in 1984 that skiers remember. A two clip rear entry boot with variable forward flex control it has been described as the best ski boot ever made. Extreme ski legend Jean-Marc Boivin’s used them on his descent of la Moine along with 747 bindings. Boivin said the lack of clips was a safety advantage on slopes flirting with 60 degrees.
Retrospective on Salomon: http://pistehors.com/news/ski/comments/0773-salomon-60th-birthday/