Just as we Brits like to offload our junk or bag a bargain at car boot sales, the French are busy emptying their lofts. These ‘Vide Grenier’ in the mountains are a happy hunting ground for any vintage fan, but especially a vintage ski fan. Amongst the abandoned cuddly toys, old record players and assorted chipped crockery, very occasionally there will be a little piece of ski history.
This time it was quite a big piece. Though clearly some way from any definition of antique, I feel it deserves showcasing for it’s daring upcycling of some racy red Dynastars. Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to fix what amounts to a deckchair to a pair of skis. But is it a sporty piece of garden furniture – or something much more sinister? A sly shove and one minute you’re enjoying your grande biere, the next you’re halfway down the black run about to embrace a large fir. I suspect those eye-bolts affixed to the front of the chair may be the giveaway. Add a couple of reins and a small pony, or big dog, or your pet of choice – and suddenly popping out for your baguette is starting to look like a lot of fun - but possibly not for your pet…
So this got me thinking about recycling. Sadly, most skis and boards simply get chucked when they reach the end of their lifespan. It appears to be too difficult - that is, too expensive and not without some environmental cost - to extract, separate and process all the different materials used to make them. Although that isn’t stopping Snowsports Industries America having a go and good luck to them. But skis and boards are still pretty sturdy things and the challenge of creating an alternative use for them seems to have inspired one or two folks. Digging around the interweb turned up some interesting examples.
In a similar vein to the deckchair sledge, I found what appears to be a bath sledge. A cunning plan I reckon – no need for Mum to call the kids in for their bath – they’re already in it! It’s my favourite project of many on the fun Built byKids website.
But for true re-purposing, the way to go is furniture and a bench is the obvious choice. If skis sometimes feel like a couple of planks strapped to your feet then that’s the clue to some creative upcycling. This is possibly one of the most comfortable versions around - found on scraphacker.com.
The most ubiquitous furniture design, however, is the Adirondack and scraphacker obligingly provides a couple of links to tutorials, if you fancy having a crack at making your own.
So, as you’re sipping a beer and soaking up a few rays on your ski lounger, it’s nice to have a bit of privacy. Wooden fencing doesn’t come cheap these days – but retired skis need saving from landfill. Round up enough and you can create your own little corral. Joal posted this great pic on Epicski.
Now this is a sweet idea for old ski sticks - though it’s not going to work too well with the old bamboo versions. No need to get the saw out however, just order them from Forest Furniture in the US.
They even do a cute binding bottle opener for $20. Perfect for your apres ski beer on the balcony.
And here’s an idea for wine drinkers. There are quite a few of these online from US companies - here are some examples from Uncommon Goods and Ascension Woodcraft - but I failed to find a UK supplier. Thank goodness then, for Cindy & Eric from Home Wizards who show us how it’s done in ‘Nice Rack!‘
More handy home helps in the form of hangers…. I found these at Orvis.
And not forgetting some super shelves - here’s the venerable New York Times showing us how to do it this time…
But for all these great ideas and many more, I can’t help but love the simple thing of just sticking them up on the wall to admire them. Robert & Cortney Novogratz have nailed it (natch!) with this stunning display featured in their book Home by Novogratz. I think there may be a few more Vide Grenier on the horizon for this vintage ski fan…