Walter Kofler Invents the Polyethylene Ski Base

Before P-tex, there was Kofix. It drove a revolution in ski racing.

By Seth Masia

When Alpine skis had wooden bases, it was common to waterproof them with celluloid lacquer, made by dissolving celluloid in ether, acetone or alcohol. Each factory had its own name for this stuff – Plasticite, Celloblitz and so on. It made a smooth glossy surface but soon wore thin. When the wood started to show through, skiers could paint on a lacquer sold in cans, under brand names like Faski and Blue Streak.

With the end of World War II, European ski factories resumed production, with a few new adhesives and plastics. Early in 1945, within months of Liberation, Dynamic began using a solid sheet of celluloid – not a lacquer – to improve glide speed. “Cellolix” repelled water, held wax and resisted rock damage, but as it aged it often cracked. Nonetheless, celluloid was a great solution for the first aluminum skis, and was used, in the form of a softer sticky-tape film, by TEY on their Alu-60 ski. Attenhofer coated the bottom of its metal ski with Araldite, an epoxy resin invented during the war in Switzerland, and called it Temporit...

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