Our story

To be best, we need the best.

 

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.

Yrjö Viirret participating in the Army biathlon competition at Koria Finland in 1961
Yrjö Viirret still roller skiing on Marwe´s at the age of 78 in 2018.

During the 1980s Yrjö was the foreman of former Hyvinkään Kumi´s metal department which to this day produces tools and moulds for manufacturing and 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  at the nearby Riihimäki shooting range, and were coached by former world champion Simo Halonen.  Simo became acquinted with the 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.

Simo Halonen in Marwes first brochure from 1986

Together with Yrjö Viirret they started the saga that has led to numerous Olympic & world championships in cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and biathlon with the help from our world-famous skis as the perfect summer training equipment. Not only have these forms sports been aided by Marwes roller skis, but also likes of Professional cycling, Horse back riding XXXXC

Biathlon world champion Simo Halonen with his protege European champion Jaakko Ranta. Simo is donning Marwes original wind jammer from the late 80s and Jaakko from 2018.

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.

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.  Circa 1000 pairs of these skis were sold during the first season of 1986.

Sold! Sales manager Olli Welander and a happy customer with a pair of ´86 Marwes

Quite soon after this, the composite frame roller ski  models were introduced to the market, and manufactured by the Lampinen ski factor. This factory was owned by famous Finnish rally driver Simo Lampinen, whose grandfather Emil Lampinen, started off in Porvoo 1901 with a ski factory for Karhu, and the Lampinen ski factory begun producing skis in 1922. When the Lampinen factory was closed down, Marwe moved over to Peltonen frames in 1993.

Sales manager Olli Welander happy at work in 2018.

Marwe 610A

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.

Finnish Nordic combined skier Rasmus Ähtävä roller skiing on original Combi skis, in 2018 in Vuokatti

Skating 610 A is a high quality, lightweight roller ski made with an aircraft grade aluminum frame construction.The model is equipped with legendary Marwe urethane rollers, and has outstanding durability and wet grip in comparison to its competitiors. model is used in the International Biathlon Union summer world championships and world cups as well as American, Swedish, Russian and Estonian biathlon championship races

Original Aluminium 610 skis from Marwe brochure.

Marwe 620XC

This ski is one of our most popular roller skis. It is based on the original 610C XXXXXX

Instant success

Marwes roller skis soon became the favourite summer training equipment for many top athletes. One of the the first to achieve success with the help of our skis was Finnish cross country skier Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (née Matikainen) As there was a need to train intensively round the year. She picked our skis as one of her main training methods in addition to Nordic walking and cycling.   Marjo was a familiar sight in XXXX roller skiing intensively. Pushing the physical limits soon paid off.

At the 1987 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, she won the classical style 5 km sprint, and silver in the 10 km. Matikainen-Kallström finished her championship career with a fantastic 1989 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on her home soil in Lahti, where she won the following medals:

Gold medal in the 15 km and  4 x 5 km
Silver medal in the 10 km freestyle
Bronze medal in the 10 km classical
Bronze medal in the 30 km classical

During her competition career, Matikainen-Kallström also won gold in the 5km classical and bronze in the 10km classical and 4 X 5 km km relay at the 1988 Calgary Olympics 

Matikainen training in Finland on the Kajaani-Sotkamo road 23.6.1987. Picture (c) Suomen Kuvalehti

The King of biathlon

This rather representative nickname belongs to other than the Norwegian king of  biathlon and  enthusiastic user of our skis Ole-Arne Bjørndalen. whose fathomless track record sports for example the following:

Olympic Winter Games 13 medals in total
Nagano 1998, 2002 Salt Lake City, 2006 Turin, 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi:

– 8 gold
– 4 silver
– 1 bronze

World Championships 45 medals in total: 
– 20 gold
– 14 silver
– 11 bronze

Bjørndalen in practice at Holmenkollen. Picture (c) Cornelius Poppe/NTB Scanpix