And Snow It Goes

Let's give thanks that this past holiday weekend, Denver International Airport proved that it could handle crowds. (And what, exactly, was the airport waiting for? An engraved invitation from Mary Peters?)

But for once, I was sorry that I wasn’t stuck in an endless line while waiting to go through security. Because there’s an exhibit on the skybridge leading towards the Concourse A security checkpoint that’s definitely worth some time. “Fashion. Form. Function -- Then and Now,” a joint project between the airport and the Vail-based Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, takes you through decades of uniquely Colorado history.

In dozens of display cases that stretch along both sides of the skybridge, the exhibit pairs vintage ski items – leather-strap bindings, 10th Mountain Division uniforms, the first snowboard, known as “The Snurfer” – with their modern equivalents. The fashions prove the adage that what goes round, comes round; the fabrics may change, but the shapes keep coming back. A bright, '60s jacket looks like the latest model; a '50s snowflake sweater would sell for hundreds of dollars in some boutique ski store.

But there’s no comparison with the equipment, since the sport has seen continual technological advancements. And you’ll see them here, in everything from the canoe-length wooden skis of a century ago to the first metal models to the aerodynamic boards of today; from early lace-up boots to the first buckle models to the sophisticated shells of today.

The exhibit offers just a quick trip through this state’s most popular pastime -- but as you look past a case filled with goggles old and new to the mountains where generations of skiers have used them, you get a true feeling for the powder and the glory of winter in Colorado. -- Patricia Calhoun.

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