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Fifty years of K2

02/15/2012

By: Dean Seguin
ESPN.com
February 15, 2012

K2 releases Rolling Stones ski for 50th anniversary

Courtesy of K2: A look back at K2 during the 1970s, when the Performers ruled the scene.

Once a garage-tinkering ski brand, this year K2 is celebrating its half-century anniversary. On Wednesday, the company is releasing its second Rolling Stones ski in a series of four skis to celebrate the company (and the band’s) 50th anniversary.

K2 got its start on Washington’s Vashon Island, where company founder and engineering geek Bill Kirschner produced and marketed the world’s first fiberglass ski. During the ’70s hot dogger era, the Performers ruled the scene, Wayne Wong and his white sunglasses became a sensation and the wet T-shirt contest was born (yes, you can thank K2). And in the ’80s, there was the mohawked daffy mayhem from Glen Plake, and the rise of neon that catapulted snowboarding and K2’s first team rider, Dan Donnelly, into the ’90s. And the 2000s: the new millennium of innovative technologies and the rambunctious arrival of big mountain phenoms like Sean Pettit and Pep Fujas.

We sat down with Jeff Mechura, who heads up K2’s global marketing, to talk about some of the defining moments for the brand and ways the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

There’s a lot of hype around the Rolling Stones ski to mark the shared anniversary. How did that collaboration come about?
It all started eight years ago when we were holding a sales meeting in Munich, Germany, and the Stones played Olympic stadium. About 100 of us from K2 went to the concert. They were selling concert T-shirts that said “Rolling Stones: rocking since ’62.” We talked about how cool a partner they would be eight years later during our shared 50th anniversaries. Little did we know then that K2 would be a leader in Rocker technology and the collaboration would make even more sense. We reached out to them a while back and the band was really into the idea about collaborating on an anniversary series of skis.

What can you attribute to 50 years of success for K2?
It’s the people throughout the brand’s history. It’s a very unique and eclectic cross-section of people that are connected to the sports they’re passionate about. From sales to customer service, finance and development to marketing, everyone is all in, committed, loyal and knows how to have fun.

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