What’s In: Garage Sale Frank’s Archive

One of the three largest collections of ski gear resides in a Whistler basement

Les Anthony's Basement. PHOTO: REUBEN KRABBE

This story appeared in the September issue.

Words: Leslie Anthony

"Garage Sale" Frank Salter—a one-man episode of Hoarders—amasses ski bum memorabilia merely for posterity. He's purchased the items for $5 to $10 a pop at garage sales over the last two decades. Celebrated among Internet traders, Frank curates some 3,000 items, which international aficionados consider as one of the world's top-three collections. With every major watershed in the history of ski, boot, binding and pole evolution, the anthology focuses on the inglorious proliferation and hallucinogenic failures of the celebrated '70s freestyle era. The only thing you can utter when you first see this mess is, "holy shit…" And I ought to know: Frank stores this impressive ode to skiing's constant reinvention in my basement.

1. "I've only ever spent a couple of hours on the museum, throwing racks together one night with a friend and loosely arranging skis into favored categories and eras," says Frank.
2. The head mannequins are the first things you see turning on the basement light. The Jean-Claude Killy goggles flooded the market in the '70s and a ton of new in-the-box pairs are still floating around for cheap.
3. An all-aluminum 223cm Tey Industries ski from 1947. This failed experiment from the aerospace sector slid poorly, had zero flex, and cost a bundle. They didn't sell any of the 1,000 pairs they made. Most were melted down to make snowmaking equipment. Only four pairs still exist.
4. Rumored to have mercury in their red-ball tip, Frank has the entire Dynastar Course race series. Frank says the skis are, "long enough to get you into trouble and good enough to get you out."
5. The K2 Winter Heat, with a graphic made famous by Wayne Wong on his Bermuda Shorts freestyle ski.
6. "With no lettering, Bobbie Burns' The Ski had the best graphics of all time," says Frank.
7. The Raichle Flex Comp. "A modern cult classic," says Frank. "Just ask Seth."
8. Frank bought and skied used Hexcel Comps when he was bumming at Red Mountain, B.C., during the late '70s. "They were super lightweight, but the bindings tended to pull out of the aluminum honeycomb."
9. "I bought these Volant Spatulas from the Peruvian Lodge guys at Alta," says Frank. "Every March 26, I make a Shane McConkey tribute hike and run down Flute Mountain."
10. A rare and complete Nava Ski System. "The boots offer as much support as a pair of Sorrels, and the huge spring-loaded binding arm that encircles the back of the calf is a sight. I saw it in action a few years ago in Whistler. The guy swore by them. Burt bindings also belong with the Nava System category of 'nice try, going nowhere.'"
11. Frank has hundreds of posters. "My first was this one, a Christmas present in 1976. I eventually laminated it. Jack Taylor in the bumps, Alan 'The Puppet' Schoenberger on ballet, Mark Somebodyorother in the air."
12. Frank has 50 or so onesies. Everyone who tries them on says, "They're too tight in the butt."