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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Cassi: What are your personal goals as far as professional
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
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,
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: http://www.onsnow.co.uk/
P.P.S. -- Keep the vibe alive during the summer! Check out
Scotty's updated video here:
Copyright, Icelantic LLC, 2007
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