Cornering the market on vintage skis

Shaun Guyton likes both the historical and craftsmanship side of vintage skis. Photo by David...
Shaun Guyton likes both the historical and craftsmanship side of vintage skis. Photo by David Williams.
When Shaun Guyton hits the slopes on his vintage skis, he makes something of a statement.

''I'm the guy that's taking a long time to go around any corner,'' laughed the Queenstown man, who has a penchant for both the historical aspect of skiing and craftsmanship.

Two years ago, Mr Guyton established Vintage Ski, a small business which supplies vintage ski equipment, mostly for home or lodge decor.

Vintage skis were ''quite hard to find'' and he sourced them internationally, from both Europe and Japan. He also made skis, selling them as far afield as Greece and Noumea.

While the ski industry was high fashion, it was nice to get into what was ''not just a little bit retro but truly retro'', he said.

''It's good fun. I really enjoy it. People seem to get into it as well. I enjoy history with a bit of craftsmanship,'' he said.

While selling skis for interior decor was the biggest part of his business, he also sold old anorak-style jackets, canvas backpacks, ski goggles, posters and prints, and coat racks made from skis.

He has a display at ski and snowboard rental business Snow Rental in Camp St in Queenstown and a workshop and display room at his home.

The skis were more like art than a piece of sporting equipment and it was nice to make beautiful things for people to enhance their homes, he said.

Mr Guyton preferred to use native hardwood to make his skis, which were bent in a steam chamber.

Pine tar was used on the bottom of the skis, which was then heated with a blow-torch, to provide water proofing. Each piece of wood was different so no two pairs of skis were the same, he said.

Mr Guyton, who has been skiing since he was a young child, said doing so with vintage skis was ''an art''.

At about 2.1m, the skis were much longer than their modern counterparts and it took a long time to go around corners.

The wood made a different noise on the snow, compared with that of modern, synthetic skis, and it was ''very cool''.

''Get the right conditions and it's a great way to spend the afternoon. But if it's icy, look out,'' he said.


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