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Whoops! Barrel Staves Are Back


One of the stock items in an aging American's fund of nostalgia is the pair of barrel staves that were lashed to his boots with strips from an inner tube and used as skis. Progress doomed staving at some point between the wars, or so it seemed. But this winter staves are making a rollicking comeback on the ski slopes of Killington, Vt., where traditionalists like Bill Wood and Paul Racicot (left) are cutting antique capers. Enthusiasts claim that staves are perfect for Wedeln and fine for resting, too (below). Vermonter Preston Smith started the revival as a gimmick. Now, with Yankee acumen, he sells edged whiskey-barrel staves complete with normal ski bindings at a cool $29.95 a pair.