Clarence Bousquet invented them in Pittsfield. They were then sold around to ski shops and clubs. You still see tow grips in use at Mt Greylock Ski Club. Fast ropetow, like 900FPM.
These are some pictures of the grip. it goes around you. You hook it to the rope and unhook at the top. the second pic isnt the best, but its the only one I could find of one on the rope. __________
I vaguely remember going though a few pairs of 'mittens'. Never heard of a rope grip until a few years ago.
In the photo I noticed the technique of one hand in front, one hand in back. As a kid when I finally mastered not having both hands in front I thought it was cool that I could ride the rope like a 'grown-up'.
Posted: Jul 10, 2012 - 4:21 AM GMT
Edited: Jul 10, 2012 - 4:44 AM GMT
Heavy leather mittens(we called them Choppers-like the lumberjacks used) worked pretty well and when they had an extra layer over the palm and thumb they lasted a bit longer. The faster the rope, the shorter the life of the leather. I'd often put a patch over the palm after it got a hole worn through to save a bit of money. Another trick was to turn them inside out or wear them backwards!
Also, according to That NYguy, "I will add Bousquets was first to promote the "rope tow gripper" after being presented with the idea by Ed Bunkoff of the now long defunct Snowy Acres near Cobleskill, NY."
And a pic of a fairly recent gripper ready for action. __________
Saving Our Ski Areas - I'm Skiing New England - or the New England Ski Area Project
It's a recent picture of an old gripper. Mt Greylock is only permitted to use the original style Bousquette grippers, which havent been made since...? anyone know? I'd guess in the 1950's. __________
Posted: Jul 11, 2012 - 4:59 AM GMT
Edited: Jul 11, 2012 - 5:13 AM GMT
Skiers in New Zealand use yet another type of tow gripper that is styled after a nut cracker. They seem to be able to ride over the tow rope pulleys as well!
VintageSkiWorld.Com advertises the Bousquet gripper for $75. The ad indicates "Tested by Thousands since 1939". __________