Elan turns 70 in 2015!

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Elan. Conceived of by Rudi Finžgar in Slovenia in 1945, Elan has grown over the past seven decades from its beginnings as a small ski producing workshop into a specialty manufacturing company that is the pride of it’s homeland and is highly regarded around the world. Since its early days, Elan has been known as a pioneer of innovation that pushes the boundaries of expectation in its chosen fields. Today, the belief that the development of progressive design and advanced technologies provides the surest path to the creation of superior products remains our core principle. Although we started out building skis, our Begunje facility additionally now manufactures snowboards, sailboats, and sports equipment, as well as wind turbines for the production of clean electrical energy.

Rudi Finžgar was a skier, inventor, pioneer, extraordinary craftsman, and, above all a daring and determined visionary. He began daydreaming about making skis at the age of eighteen during his apprenticeship in his father’s woodworking shop in the village of Kropa. He had ideas for the perfect ski shape based on his experience as an accomplished ski jumper. During the Second World War, Rudi Finžgar made skis for partisan fighters. After the war he was brimming with new ideas and plans that resulted, in September of 1945, in the establishment of the Elan sports equipment production co-operative. On top of his impressive skillset, perhaps Mr. Finžgar was also somewhat of a clairvoyant. Legend has it that he once strolled through the fields surrounding Elan’s modest workshops and said, “In the year 2000, a mighty Elan factory will stand here, you’ll see”. The factory he dreamed of opened its doors in 1970, and remains strong to this day.

Innovation from the very beginning

In its seven decades Elan has developed the reputation of being an innovator in the ski industry by releasing countless inventions that have changed ski design forever. The first true success was a ski called the Impuls, which featured a minimalist aesthetic and was first produced in 1969. That same year, Elan also produces the first fully plastic ski, constructed of fiberglass with a polyurethane core and phenolic stringers. In 1974 the revolutionary Uniline ski was released. The Uniline delivered performance that functioned for both slalom and giant slalom due to, what was at the time, its extreme sidecut. Also in 1974, Elan introduced a seemingly unimportant visual design innovation, the transparent ski base. This was originally done to proudly display a silkscreened Elan logo. 1976 marked the beginning of the RC era. In 1988 Elan built the first ski with the Comprex core, which allows for lower weight to be concentrated under the boot sole. This multipoint mass system enabled better turn initiation, vibration damping and greater acceleration through turns. In 1992 the MBX ski was revolutionary as it marks the beginning of monoblock technology. Recent deveopments have included 2006 WaveFlex™ technology, released in 2006, which allowed two seemingly incompatible characteristics to exist in a single ski, a soft flex with great torsional stiffness. Then in 2011 came the breakthrough known as Amphibio, when Elan successfully combined rocker and camber on a single ski. This development has now been taken to the next level in 2015, with Amphibio 4D technology. Previous Amphibio skis had a specific left and right ski, but this new design also features a radically different shape in the front and rear section of the skis. The front of the skis is convex and the rear is concave. The convex front section allows for easier and more precise turn initiation while the concave rear helps exit the turn efficiently and sets the skis up for a new turn. But perhaps Elan’s greatest impact on the world of modern skiing begins with the development of the VSS skis featuring an adjustable radius. These skis had a five mm, gap in front and behind the bindings, which could be widened up to ten mm or wound in to zero using a special clamp. While perhaps an eccentric design itself, it was a small step from there to the SCX ski, featuring a radical new parabolic sidecut geometry, which truly changed skiing forever by creating carving skis.

Winners

All these innovations have not gone unproven in the world of competition. The legendary Ingemar Stenmark, of Sweden, perhaps the greatest skier of all time, used Elan skis throughout his career. He achieved a record 86 World Cup wins, and earned three World Cup overall crystal globes, sixteen crystal globes in various disciplines, and won two Olympic gold medals and three World Championships. Elan skis have also been the tool of choice for the vast majority of milestones reached in Slovenian Alpine and Nordic skiing, including those achieved by Bojan Križaj, Mateja Svet, Boris Strel, Jure Franko, Matjaž Vrhovnik, Mitja Kunc, Primož Ulaga, Miran Tepeš, Matjaž Debelak, Matjaž Zupan, Franci Petek, Primož Peterka...
Swedish ski jumper Jan Boklöv invented the V-style on Elan skis.
Extreme skier Davo Karničar became the first man to descend from Mt. Everest on skis and also successfully realized his 7 Summits project by skiing from the highest peak on each of the seven continents, all on Elan skis. The past seventy years holds a rich history of these victories, records, and achievements. Elan’s current team includes legendary American freeskier Glen Plake, Japanese ski jumper Sara Takanashi and her Slovenian colleague Peter Prevc. In the world of ski cross, Elan’s colors are represented by Filip Flisar and in the Alpine World Cup by Max Blardone of Italy.

Awards

Elan’s many successes have been the result of a constant focus on advancing innovation, technology and design. These achievements have not gone unnoticed, and Elan has been the recipient of many prestigious international awards. The count is up to almost 40 in just the last decade, including several Red Dot design awards. Elan was named the most innovative brand twice and has received many awards at the ISPO winter sports fair in Munich. At ISPO 2015, the Elan - Amphibio 16 Ti2 Fusion ski received the gold award.

Gymnasium, water, clean energy

While a ski company at heart, Elan is also more than just that. Over its rich and (green) colored history, the company has produced tennis and badminton rackets, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, gym equipment and modern wind turbines that produce clean electric energy.

Elan Marine

Elan began manufacturing watercraft in 1949, starting with kayaks and canoes. Since then, Elan Marine has developed into a renowned manufacturer of modern motor and sailboats. These vessels satisfy the needs of the most demanding customers and sail on every one of the world’s oceans.

Elan Inventa

Elan has a long tradition of manufacturing sports facility equipment, and our Inventa division has equipped many gyms and sports venues around the world. Recently, the company provided equipment for facilities hosting important sports events, including the World Women’s Handball Championships in Brazil in 2011 and Serbia in 2013, World Handball Championships in Spain in 2013 and Qatar in 2015 and the European Basketball Championships in Slovenia in 2014. Inventa’s produces everything in accordance with the highest global standards.

Elan Wind Power

Our energy division is the newest segment of the Elan Group, established in 2009. Its focus is manufacturing exceptionally high quality complex composites for the wind power industry. We have adapted extensive knowledge and experience, gathered from over half a century of working in the marine industry, and transferred, adapted and implemented to solutions for the wind power sector. Sustainable development has always been one of Elan’s core values. That is why Elan Wind Power expresses the company’s environmentally friendly approach, energy efficiency, ecology, clean energy and above all a sense for the spirit of our time.

Elan’s milestones:

1941 • Rudi Finžgar, Slovenian ski jumper and Elan founder, jumps 95 meters in Planica
1945 • 12 enthusiasts in Cerkno manufacture 15 to 20 pairs of skis per day
1946 • Elan opens its first store
1963 • The Elan institute is founded, the first patent is presented in two years
1964 • Elan racing skis make their debut at the Olympic Games in Innsbruck
1968 • Elan receives its first medal via Baldur Preiml on Elan ski jumping skis at the Olympic Games in Grenoble
1974 • Ingemar Stenmark wins his first World Cup race at the slalom race in Madonna di Campiglio
1976 • The first series of Elan RC skis is produced
1976 • Elan receives international award for quality
1978 • Ingemar Stenmark becomes double World Champion in Garmisch Partenkirchen
1980 • Ingemar Stenmark becomes double Olympic Champion in Lake Placid
1980 • Bojan Križaj wins his first World Cup race in Wengen, Switzerland
1983 • Bruno Kernen wins the World Cup downhill in Kitzbühel
1984 • 168 competitors use Elan skis in various disciplines in the 1984/85 season
1988 • Elan skis take their hundredth podium with Mateja Svet
1989 • Mateja Svet becomes World Champion in Vail
1989 • Ingemar Stenmark achieves his 86th World Cup win
1991 • Franci Petek becomes World Champion on the big hill in Val di Fiemme
1992 • First monoblock ski
1994 • First carving ski
1996 • Primož Peterka wins the Four Hills tournament
1997 • Primož Peterka becomes the overall World Cup Champion
1997 • Primož Peterka becomes the most successful Slovenian ski jumper
2002 • First skis with Fusion integrated binding system
2005 • Rok Benkovič becomes World Champion in Oberstdorf on Elan ski jumping skis
2006 • WaveFlex™ technology is presented
2011 • New revolutionary Amphibio® Profile technology is presented
2013 • Lightest women’s ski in the world is presented - the Elan Delight
2014 • U-Flex technology
2015 • Amphibio 4D technology