Icelantic Pro Rider Scott VerMerris (part 2 of 2)

Last week, we interviewed Scott VerMerris, Pro Rider and Team Manager for Icelantic. This week, we'll have the conclusion of that interview, where Scotty reveals how to get sponsored by Icelantic, and more! Cassi: Tell me about the Team. Scott: Right now we've got a pretty comprehensive team. We give [the amateurs] skis on pro-form basically and we're offering them incentive to provide any pictures or video that they take of themselves throughout the season. If the pictures are really good, we might use [them] for marketing or advertising. And if we see some results, like if I see a pattern of success in an amateur it's a great avenue onto the pro team. The pro team is made up of a lot of really unique, diverse individuals who ski all different kinds of terrain. We have people who like to mountaineer. We've got people who are strictly into big mountain skiing around the IFSA circuit, doing the world tour. We've got some who just do freestyle, and some that are really well rounded that can ski all sorts of stuff. Cassi: What does managing the team involve? Scott: What I'm doing as team manager is I'm advocating for the pro riders. I'm trying to find outside sponsorships. This summer I'm going to be writing proposals to companies, to find out if we can get team sponsorship. And that would basically mean that the riders will have more money to travel to go to competitions, registration fees. So that we can hire more photographers and do photo shoots together. Cassi: How many people are on the team? Scott: Currently we've got about 13 pros and maybe the same amount of amateurs. I'm in the process of restructuring the team. Cassi: What will that involve? Scott: Just figuring out who is interested in continuing the relationship with us, choosing who our top riders are, the ones who that are going to be highly competitive, and really focusing their life on being a professional skier. The people that I think have a future, we're going to work with them and help support them and help facilitate their growth and development, as they help us, the company, grow and develop. For instance, we have a rider named Cory Zila who is out on the world tour doing big mountain stuff. And his goal is to year round train and compete and be a professional skier. That's what he's doing for his living. And he's going to be awesome. I think in a couple years he's going to be a big name pro. So he's an example of one of the guys we really want to support. We just made him the first version of any kind of pro-model we've ever had. We took the Shaman and we beefed it up for him and made it stiffer, and put his name on it and some custom graphics. Cassi: How does someone get on the team? Scott: I start the screening process by looking at resumes, pictures and video. Ultimately it's best if I can meet them personally and go skiing with them. Icelantic is about having really positive relationships and so I always like to have a face-to-face if it's possible. In the way I look at these riders everyone is so unique and brings something different and special to the table and so I don't really have one set criteria or anything. Cassi: Do you get a lot of people asking to be on the team? Scott: Tons. Tons. Everyone wants to be sponsored. And it's hard; because I remember when I started doing this I was excited just to get responses from certain riders that were more at the amateur level. Now I'm started to network with a lot of excellent skiers who want to be involved and I think the future of this team is going to be awesome, just as the future of the company and for each individual rider. Cassi: Are any of your skiers in Films? Scott: Well right now we have a real top notch rider. She's from Jackson, [WY] and her name is Nadia Kaliszewsk. She just got invited to go fliming with KGB Productions. She's toured for a couple days, and then she got on the chopper to go up and film with pro photographers. That's really exciting for her. One of my goals is actually to get a video together of all the Icelantic riders. It would be like an Icelantic promotional video. [Also] to start networking and creating relationships with up and coming film companies as well as some of the ones that are a little more established. I just think it a great way to get riders as well as Icelantic a little more exposure. Definitely something I want to work on. Cassi: Do you have photographers and videographers on staff? Scott: We do. I would call them more friends. They're not really on the payroll, they're not really working for us, but they're very close friends who are willing to work to support us. I think in the future as we grow and we have more of a budget to work with we might be able to hire on fulltime photographers. Cassi: If you could change one thing about the ski industry in General what would it be? Scott: I think that I would allow more room for up and coming companies. I think it's really difficult for the small companies to kind of get their foot in the door. Unless you really have something unique, and I don't think we're going to have a problem with that. I mean it's always an uphill battle. But it think we've got this unique company and a unique product, so it will be less hard than other companies. But I just wish there was more room to showcase some of the up and coming designs, up and coming companies, the more independent ski companies that are trying to break into the industry. I think that those larger corporate ones tend to easily take over and it makes it hard. I think a specific example of that is in film. I think these big companies like Solomon and Rossignol, because they have the money, they are able to capitalize on Matchstick productions and TGR, for instance. And it's a lot harder for companies like us to get our riders into those bigger name films because if you're not riding with one of those primary sponsors of the film, it's very political, you can't get your riders in there. Cassi: What are your personal goals as far as professional skiing? Scott: My personal goals are to train really hard this coming summer. As I get older I start feeling the consequences of skiing more and more and so I need to be stretching and training a lot more than I ever used to. And so this summer I'd like to train at the Olympic Park. They have water ramps there where you can jump into the pool and practice tricks and things like that, and I'd also like to do dry land training. Next season I'm going to be looking to compete a whole lot. I would like to compete in the Subaru Freeskiing Nationals at Snowbird, since it is one of my home mountains. I'd like to enter some freestyle comps, mostly just here in Utah doing slopestyle, things like that. A last couple important questions: Cassi: Which pair is your favorite of Icelantic skis? Scott: That's a tough question to answer because it depends on the terrain or what kind of skiing I'm doing. I love my Shamans. I choose the Shamans over anything else for big mountain and powder. My Nomads are the most versatile skis that I've ever skied on. I'm able to ski big mountain and I'm also able to ski all mountain and even take them into the terrain park. But if I'm doing just freestyle, just skiing park or doing urban stuff, I choose the Pilgrims. Cassi: Do you have any advice for pro-skier hopefuls? Scott: I think it's important just to be aware of how big your ego is. Keep yourself in check and keep yourself safe, and just remember why you're out on the hill. I think everyone needs to remember that we do it because we love it and it's fun and it meets some psychological need in some way. If you loose sight of that it becomes a different thing. --- Stay tuned this summer for more interviews, a sneak peak into next year's lineup, and much more! Peace and snow, Icelantic P.S. -- In case you're wondering, the "Cassi" who interviewed Scott is Cassi Clark, who has written extensively about the sport of skiing, as well as business, history, and playing house. See more of her stuff here: P.P.S. -- Keep the vibe alive during the summer! Check out Scotty's updated video here: ------------------ Copyright, Icelantic LLC, 2007

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.