VSR: Archives: FAQ for Skiers/Riders

Q: Who should get the credit for advances in skier safety?

Subject: "The 25 Most Influential People" Skiing - (1/99 pg 97)
Answer: More than any other person the late Al Greenberg, former Editor-in-Chief of SKIING Magazine, set the agenda during the period of greatest improvement in skier safety. By encouraging research and the standards development process, Al made intelligent debate possible. Through hard-hitting editorials he focused the attention of both the public and the trade on the true issues. And through honest reporting and fair analysis he won the confidence of the diverse organizations, companies, and individuals whose support would be necessary to bring about change. I was fortunate to be among those influenced by his passion for the truth. His passing has left a great void in the personal and professional lives of those who worked with him. But the greater tragedy is the loss to the sport and the industry at large, for few have followed in his footsteps and none have filled his shoes. Should SKIING ever republish or update its list, I propose a simple substitution--Greenberg in for Ettlinger.

On a separate issue I would like to add a little history to the "Innovations" piece on page 117. Credit for the Teflon AFD (and the whole concept of binding testing) should go to Dr. John Outwater, my faculty advisor at the University of Vermont. I worked on his projects from '64 to '66 as an undergraduate. When I returned to UVM following military service in '68, the other graduate students warned me to hide my skis because "Outwater" was covering everything in sight with Teflon tape. In our first meeting he handed me a roll for my own use and instructed me to develop a method to study the effects of friction on the entire release system. Dr. Outwater and I published the results the following year, but the ski industry took little note of the development. When I couldn't find an engineering job following graduation in 1970, Outwater suggested I go into business making Teflon AFDs. I took his advice and later added the Vermont Release Calibrater, a ski binding test device which depended, in part, on a patent Outwater applied for in the early '60s, before any such device existed.--CFE