LA: Where did you grow up? When/where did your passion for skiing first start?
AL: I grew up in Idaho Springs, CO a small mountain town West of Denver and spent summers in northern MN and Norway with my family. I started cross country skiing before I could walk then started downhill and water skiing when I was about 4. I began racing in nordic skiing when I was 9 and that’s when my passion first started. I went into competitive snowboarding all through high school and college, then tele and finally alpine skiing about 8 years ago (full circle). I love being outside and gliding – that’s where my true passion lies.
LA: What would you be doing if you weren’t in the snow sports industry? Was the industry always a part of you?
AL: I always wanted to go into the wine industry. I love the whole process – from seed to smile, I love the climate that grapes grow in and the romance of viticulture. I’m sure it’s just like the snow sports industry though in that it looks super sexy from the outside but in reality, it’s business and hard work. I’m pretty stoked I’m in the snow sports industry now though – it suits me just right.
LA: How long has Icelantic Skis been in the industry? What resources or benefits do you take advantage being a member of SIA?
AL: Icelantic debuted our first ski, The Scout, at the SIA Snow Show in 2005, so 10 years! The trade show has always been a benchmark for our business and a major resource for networking, sales, marketing, hiring (The Shmooz), PR and brand building. Additionally, we have taken full advantage of SIA’s research and market data numbers – Kelly does a phenomenal job with those.
LA: The Icelantic team does a great job connecting with consumers via social media; where do you get inspiration, ideas, content, etc. and how important is social media to you brand?
AL: Thank you. We get a big chunk of inspiration and content from the people out there using our product. Brand ambassadors, professional Athletes, reps, customers – all submit photos, stories, ideas, etc and we either create something from these or just post what they send. Social media is important to our brand because it’s a direct vein from our heart to theirs (customer/potential customer) – no middle man. It’s an effective brand building and story telling tool.
LA: There’s a lot going on in our industry. How do we (SIA) help streamline your business?
AL: Industry + Intelligence, has been a great addition to the Snow Show, featuring experts in categories ranging from Social Media usage to long term industry trends. I attended a couple sessions and was impressed by the depth of knowledge, understanding and ability to communicate topics, from the presenters. There is also a lot of information in SIA’s newsletter, when I take the time to read it, and the website in itself is a vast plethora of resources for most questions a member would have. Other opportunities that we (Icelantic) have participated in are The Shmooz (hired our graphic designer from here); and the Summer Snowdown – a PR event held in NYC every summer to leverage brands to a wider media audience.
LA: As we head into the 2015-16 season, what outlook do you have on our industry and how can we all work together better?
AL: Our industry is dynamic and evolving so we must be too. Every aspect of this environment is changing, from the way consumers shop, to the way product is being made, to the weather patterns that ultimately govern our sport. The future is bright for the industry as long as we can all be open to the latent opportunities. Success and sustainability will come as we recognize that we’re all in this game together. The collaboration that I’ve seen and experienced in my time here has been awesome and helpful to the growth of our business – I feel this is a key to the current and future health of the industry.