“We must always forge ahead. What fascinates me is what I am going to do tomorrow.” So said Georges Salomon, the man behind the brand often at the forefront of ski industry innovation. Salomon passed away in his sleep at his home in Annecy, France, on October 5.
Born in 1925, Salomon lived through the Nazi occupation of his hometown of Annecy in the French Alps. Post-war, in 1947 he went into business with his father, a saw blade manufacturer. He convinced the elder Salomon to switch to making ski edges and parts for the nascent post-war ski industry in Europe, and a lifetime of revolutionizing the ski industry was underway.
With today’s equipment it is hard to imagine the gear people skied on in the mid-20th century. It doesn’t sound quite that long ago, yet the industry Salomon stepped into was still using leather straps as ski bindings.
It didn’t take much time for the metalworker to focus on improving the dire biding situation. After several years of tinkering, he introduced a toe release system in 1955. Two years later, in 1957, Salomon developed a system that released at the heel and the toe, depending on the force exerted on it, and named it ‘le Lift.” With a mechanism that released before bones and joints, Salomon, with it and the modern ski industry, was on the rise.
Along the way, Salomon continued to improve bindings, ushered in the era of the rear-entry boot in late 1970’s and developed the iconic SX91 in the 1980s. The company began making their own skis a few years later. A recreational skier, Georges Salomon was always on the lookout for innovation opportunities.
When Salomon and his three sons sold the company to Adidas in 1997, his involvement with the company ended with the sale, but his ethic and aforementioned saying still drive the company, said Hal Thompson, creative director of Salomon global marketing. “The core values he established in terms of sport commitment, design innovation, and future minded break the rules progression remain very much the fundamental guiding principles of the company today,” Thompson said.