This thought said out loud by Finnish biathlon legend Simo Halonen, and the offspring of Hyvinkään Kumi employee Yrjö Viirret were behind the birth of Marwe’s roller skis, and especially our world-famous wheels.
Hyvinkään kumi was founded in 1926, The company produced high quality rubber and plastics components and it is one of the oldest plastics and rubber companies which still makes its products in Finland.
During the 1980s Yrjö Viirret was the foreman of former Hyvinkään Kumi´s metal department which to this day produces tools and moulds for manufacturing. His children Mikko and Eija-Maija Viirret were promising skiers on the Finnish National Junior Team. In addition to cross country skiing, Eija-Maija and Mikko participated in biathlon practise and were coached by former world champion Simo Halonen. Simo became acquinted with Yrjö, and asked him would it be possible to manufacture roller skis and ski wheels at Hyvinkään kumi.
During these times getting your hands on wheels and spare parts for roller skis was very difficult. Soon it became evident that the wheels produced by Hyvinkään kumi (kumi means rubber in English) were of a much higher quality than the competitors wheels available on the market. This lead to the companies decision to develop and produce their own roller ski. The Marwe roller ski brand was born.
Photo ©Marwe: Simo Halonen in Marwes first brochure from 1986
Together with Yrjö Viirret and Simo Halonen Marwe started a success story that has led to numerous Olympic & world championships in Biathlon, Cross-country skiing and Nordic combined with the help from Marwe´s world-famous skis as the perfect summer training equipment.
Hyvinkään Kumi´s main target was to produce an affordable but at the same time high quality roller ski and also provide a reliable supply of replacement parts for the skis. Local skiers worked in co-operation with biathlon world champion Simo Halonen in developing the skis.
Photo ©Marwe: Simo Halonen with European champion Jaakko Ranta
Marwe´s first pair of skis were sold in April 1986. These early models were suitable only for skating style skiing and the ski frames were made from aluminium, and equipped with 80 x 40 mm rubber wheels. Approximately 1000 pairs of these skis were sold during the first season of 1986.
Quite soon after this, the first Marwe composite frame roller ski models were introduced to the market, and the ski frames for them were manufactured by the Lampinen ski factory. This factory was owned by famous Finnish rally driver Simo Lampinen, whose grandfather started off with a ski factory in 1922. When the Lampinen factory was closed down, Marwe moved over to Peltonen ski frames in 1993.
The first model of the renowned Skating 610 roller skis was produced in 1990. By the late 90’s Marwe developed their Combi Ski shortly followed by the Classic 800 C due to increasing demand.
Other models followed like the legendary Marwe 610 CAP with composite frame. This model was long time the state of the art roller ski and now superseded by worthy successor Marwe 620 XC.
Photo © R. Ähtävä: Finnish Nordic combined skier Rasmus Ähtävä on original Marwe Classic 800C
The king of biathlon
This rather representative nickname belongs to non other than the Norwegian king of biathlon and enthusiastic user of Marwe roller skis Ole-Einar Bjørndalen, whose unique track record comes up with 12 medals in Olympic Winter Games and 45 medals on World Championships.