Interview with Ben Anderson, founder of Icelantic AT Boards

You may have seen his bright excited blue eyes and enormous grin at Loveland, Whistler or in Washington. Ben Anderson, Founder and Domestic Sales Manager of Icelantic AT Boards, and I conversed about his idea to change the ski industry, the company and what causes his excitement. Look for him and the next generation of Icelantic skis at one or all of the 40-50 resorts in their upcoming US resort demo tour. Cassi: What was your vision from the beginning for your company and skis? Ben: Really just introduce something totally new to this market, I mean, in every sense from the product to the people working behind it, to the visuals and graphics. Really just bringing a new energy and fresh image to this industry because it is somewhat of a stagnant industry as in participation. Cassi: What's different about the people behind your products? Ben: Just like the over all energy and passion behind it. You know, like, that's one of the biggest comments that we get when we're at different trade shows and tests; we're truly passionate about the product and we really want to relay that to the end consumer and the buyers, and anyone else really involved. Cassi: Tell me about the Scout. Ben: When we first had the idea to go back to the native American roots, the first ski we wanted to put on the market was the Scout, and the whole idea behind that one was we really just wanted to push it to the extreme and see how short and how fat we could get, and still get performance out of it. So we really just pushed it to the limit in that sense. And then the whole idea behind the graphics was we wanted to bring this radical new idea and find the balance between that and just like old world classic imagery, or just a classic figure I guess you could say. Just really play with the balance between like the natural side and the scientific side, like a balance between wonder and structure. Cassi: How are the Pilgrim, Nomad and Shaman different? Ben: The first year, you know, we hit the industry with just the Scout. It definitely opened some eyes. We went to Vegas that first year. We were definitely seen, which was pretty cool. And then from that, you know, we definitely needed to broaden the line to cater to some different skiers and also have some different cool design aspects when we wanted to bring them onto the market. We still wanted to make sure that each of our specific models was unique in their own way. The Nomad is really just a bigger version of the Scout. We wanted to keep most of the capabilities of the scout, make it little bit longer, but really just keep all mountain performance, you know, from carving to crud to deep snow. So it's just an everyday ski, but still keep it really maneuverable, and then high quality at the same time. So that was the like the first one. And then we just started sort of looking at, like, what we think the industry somewhat needed and would like to see. So for instance the Pilgrim, we looked at that one and we were seeing all these twin tips that were really catching ground. Our initial idea was to make a park ski that also had the capabilities to go out and carve like a carver ski. You know, we all came from pretty much racing backgrounds. Somewhat, you know, not too intense. We all definitely like to carve, and we also like to jump, so we really wanted to make a ski that could capture both of those conditions. If you take a carver ski into the park, you know it's pretty self-explanatory that it doesn't work too well. And if you try to take the majority of the park skis on the market out and get any performance on hard pack, you know, they're too soft and they really chatter around. So we really wanted to find a balance between those two. Just give an all mountain tool for kids that are in the park and then people that are outside give them the opportunity to go and play around in the park if they wanted. And then with the Shaman, you know, we wanted to create a new type of powder ski, one that would be pretty easy to manage in deep snow and then also give great performance. We really wanted to be able to stay forward and aggressive in deep snow. On a lot of different skis you kind of have to lean back to keep the tips up. So we really wanted to go with just somewhat of a tapered design, and we mount it further back than most of our other models. It just allows you to stay forward and aggressive in deep snow, and the tip will never dive; you can just charge down the mountain. With that tapered design, it had quite a bit of sidecut to it. So we've been shocked at the performance that it does on hard packed groomers; the thing really carves also. One of the toughest things was just making the tip torsionally rigid enough, where when you do get on an edge, or you are, like, on harder snow going really fast the tip doesn't flop around. Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview of Ben Anderson, Icelantic's founder and visionary. Peace and snow! Icelantic P.S. -- Summertime is hat wearin' time. We're almost sold out of these puppies, so grab yours NOW! http://www.icelanticboards.com/apparel/flex-fit-hat.htm P.P.S. -- Did you miss an article, or maybe just want to go back in time with us? Catch up on old times at our news archive: http://www.icelanticboards.com/news-archive.htm ------------------ Copyright, Icelantic LLC, 2007 http://www.icelanticboards.com

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