Ben Anderson: The Icelantic Interview (part 2)

In our ongoing series, we're taking you inside the Icelantic headquarters for some one-on-one with the creators of the award winning Icelantic AT Boards. This week we continue our interview with Icelantic's founder, Ben Anderson. Cassi: How have the recent trends in Fat skis affected your designs? Ben: You know it's definitely going in the same direction. The right direction I guess you could say, but I still feel that what we're producing right now is really different than almost anything else on the market. Just with our overall shapes and sizes. You know a lot of the companies are doing really fat skis and twin tips, but they're all pretty specific to certain areas and one thing that we almost pride ourselves on is just like how diverse our skis are. You know, people see ours are definitely a lot fatter than most. When people see that, they think they are powder specific, or you know one-sided like the majority of the others, but once people get on them they're really shocked how many different snow condition and terrain they can tackle. Cassi: What are people's reactions when they ride the skis? Ben: Shock. You know it's crazy. We go to demos and the majority of people come down just laughing; I think blown away with the over all performance. We've definitely turned some skeptics into lovers almost instantly. It's pretty cool, seeing them initially kind of judgmental. But once people get on them they're blown away. Cassi: Can you tell me about this season's skis? Ben: The migration. Pretty much what we've done for the upcoming season was pretty much kept true to our four initial models. We decided to do the Pilgrim, Nomad and Shaman in a longer length, about 12 centimeters longer. So, I mean, the Pilgrim will be a 151 and a 169; the Nomad's going to be a 156 and a 168; and the Shaman's going to be a 161 and a 173. We decided to keep the Scout specific. It's just such a unique tool. Instead of doing a different length with that one, we decided to do a different flex. So we're coming out with the Scout SFT. We're really catering that to some younger kids and then just lighter people, you know about 100lbs and less. They won't have to get quite as aggressive on it to really get performance out of it. We're getting great response from 11, 12, and 13 year-olds, around that age, as an all around big mountain tool. Cassi: And the Graphics? Ben: You know initially we just started pretty native, and just like home based. And now, you know, we have a good following like around here and in the US. The product itself is just kind of migrating all around the world right now. So we wanted to capture that whole growth of the company graphically and just like image wise. The theme is just like Join the Migration. We gave Travis just the basic outline that we wanted a human migration; an animal migration; a plant migration, just like migrating of seeds; and then more of a mental migration, just like visualizing flight. Cassi: How do you see the skis in 5 years? Ben: We're definitely broadening the line. We actually just got done talking about what we're going to do with 08-09. We have some really cool ideas planned out over the next 5 to 10 years. So definitely constantly evolving the product. Evolving the current models and then introduction of some new models. Then also different, like, aspects to the skis, you know whether it's a binding system or just kind of exploring the possibilities of how to better this product, but, definitely keeping it unique and different than almost anything out there, both visually and performance wise. Cassi: How do you see the company five years from now? Ben: Definitely still independently run, sustaining itself, and really distributed world wide. Really just continue to try to do things different and, you know, just keep a pure new energy in this company. Really support our retailers and consumers. Just really focus on customer service. Give the end customer anything they need big or small. Make sure that the people who are supporting us believe in the products and the company just as much as we do. Cassi: What is your favorite part of taking the skis out to resorts to have people demo them? Ben: Seeing their excitement behind it. I'd say at least 90% of people that get on them are really just blown away. We really have to work hard to keep hold of the demos; the majority of people come back and want to buy them right there. You know the first year we were selling the skis right there, and then the next thing we knew we were completely out of demos and didn't have any more skis. So we decided not to sell any, and really direct people to the retailers. And then just turning skeptics into believers. We had a guy in Whistler that was just a complete skeptic. You know, didn't want to try them, but his friend was. He was just like 'those aren't skis and dadada'; just like talking. And Anne was just like 'here just get on them, just give them a shot'. He got on the Shamans, and came back like three or four hours later just cracking up. 'Can I take one more run?' We let him take one more run, and he came back and bought them right there. Until next time, Icelantic P.S. -- Have you missed an interview? You can catch our other interviews here: http://www.icelanticboards.com/news-archive.htm P.P.S. -- Nothing is better in summer than an Icelantic flex-fit cap. We should know! Check it out: http://www.icelanticboards.com/apparel/flex-fit-hat.htm ------------------ Copyright, Icelantic LLC, 2007 http://www.icelanticboards.com

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