INTERVIEWEE: Philipp Kammerer – European Sales and Marketing Manager
KEY PRODUCT FOCUS: Please pick the three most exciting boards from your new 17/18 line and tell us about them.
The award winning Blur is a key board in its second year. With a shape that shows off its personality, the Blur is a directional weapon for riding the Alps with power, speed and total control. Using our Fusion Camber that improves the response of positive camber with a small touch of pre-loaded rocker at the contact points, the Blur is a quick carving all-mountain machine. The Dual Arc TurboRods along both edges add a bunch of torsional “pop” into the board.
New to the line this year are two new models for high-performance all-mountain riding with a freestyle state of mind. The new National is driven by Fusion Camber to give a response and feel that is 95% positive camber in nature and the new Marshal brings in a slightly looser flex profile with our new flat Contact Camber.
On the women’s side, the new Kashmir uses our flat Contact Camber in combination with our FiveGnar Sidecut to take the versatile, mid-response feel of the Contact Camber and step up its performance with the carvy, reactive five-zone sidecut. The Kashmir is the perfect board for women who ride full-mountain in the Alps and duck into the park for a few laps now and then.
Construction. Using any new inserts / edge tech / cores / sidewalls / glue / wood types / metals / bases / other materials? Or are you using this stuff in any new ways?
Our main board design focus in the 2018 collection is on shape and evolving key snowboard geometries to influence how individual boards perform. For 2018 we’re using our Fusion Camber in the all-mountain freestyle category to create a new board that uses a dynamic two-stage camber for nearly all the power of positive camber, but with a touch of rocker in the nose and tail. Fusion Camber lets riders pop jumps and lay ruts, while also flowing more smoothly into a responsive sidecut and floating more buoyantly in powder. Also in the shape and geometry design world, our new Marshal board combines two interactive geometries to deliver all-mountain snowboarding with a strong freestyle perspective. Our Contact Camber is flat from contact point to contact point, which provides a foundation of versatile, easy-to-shred performance, which we then increase the responsiveness of with our new FiveGnar Sidecut. FiveGnar sidecut combines five different zones of sidecut radii that are blended tangentially so there are no “bumps” or contours in the sidecut. With zones 1, 3 and 5 tighter than zones 2 and 4, FiveGnar Sidecut increases the responsiveness and carving ability of the board, which complements the mellower feel of the Contact Camber. The result is a board for the Alps that shreds powder, carves up the piste, and can spend the entire day in the park.
Where will you build your boards, any changes? What makes this production facility the best solution for you?
Our focus has always been on the engineering and shaping, which always has and always will be done at Rome. Our Co-Founder Paul Maravetz has been designing snowboards for over 25 years, with multiple breakthroughs from the 90s and 2000s. With our focus being on the design side of things, we’ve always viewed our factory partners, whether they are in Europe, Canada or Asia, as the kitchen in which we make our recipes. And we’ve always looked for state-of-the-art kitchen in which to build our designs. Currently we build at Playmaker and Utopie because they are the high-tech factories in the world that are able to build our unique designs.
Where is the pricepoint that’s working the best right now? Right at the top, at the bottom, or somewhere in between?
We have board choices for snowboarders with various budgets or credit card limits. But the strongest area of our line is the mid-to-high price range. In this area we have our Gang Plank, Crossrocket, Buckshot, Powder Divisions, the new Marshal and the new National. With choices for park riders, powder riders, and all-mountain riders, we put a lot of energy into high performance boards loaded with technology that don’t demand exotic pricepoints.
How long is your warranty, anything new here?
Our warranty is two years from the date of purchase. And in general, we’ll work with riders to find the best solution to any problem they have regardless of when they bought the board.
We’re seeing a lot of small, grassroots snowboard brands getting traction again. How does this affect your brand, marketing & positioning?
We don’t really make our brand decisions based off of what other people are doing. Our focus as a brand has always been only on snowboarding—our office is 25 minutes from a chairlift that opens at 8:00 in the morning, so we are pretty narrow in our focus on snowboarding. And our Syndicate concept has always kept us deeply involved with fellow snowboarders in different parts of the world, so we don’t see much difference between what other people might view as our “grassroots” days and now. We’re still a diverse group of snowboarders building a snowboarding brand together.
What inspired your topsheet & base aesthetics? Where is the trend here – muted, flashy, photos, what? Any cool collabs/limited editions?
We don’t believe in one single trend in snowboarding when it comes to either how boards ride or how boards look. We know that there are different ways of riding snowboards and there are different opinions about what looks great on a snowboard. And since our line is built for a wide variety of riders, we have a wide variety of art in our line. With boards like the Artifacts and the Buckshot, we take more chances with subject matter and colour, whereas with boards like the Blur and Powder Divisions, we opt for sleeker, more refined looking designs. And in boards like the Mountain Division, we’ve teamed up with an artist for a design rooted in the power of nature. Some of our artists are Jon Contino on the Crossrocket, Dylan Goldberger on the Mountain Division and Stephen Brewer on Len Jorgensen’s signature colourway of the Gang Plank.
Shops are asking for a two-year product life cycle to help sell boards on price longer. Any thoughts on this, or featuring any carryover boards in the line?
We’ve heard this from some retailers, and while we don’t have 100% carry-over skus in the board category, we do have graphics that are often clearly tied to the prior year model.
Doing splitboards? What are you doing to push this segment forward?
We’ve been doing splitboards for a number of years with our Whiteroom, Power Room and Double Agent models. For 2018, the Whiteroom and the Powder Room feature our Powder-S Camber that puts rocker in the shovel and positive camber in the mid-body and tail. We like to float and slash, so we want power underfoot and in the tail to go with the surfy vibe up front. To push this segment and our Powder Division boards forward, we are piloting our Powder To The People program this year that puts powder boards and splitboards into stores for hire at heavily discounted prices. We want riders to be able to demo powder boards as easily as possible.