Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Tell us about this new project you're working on Jimbo.
XSI Insurance. It's a new insurance company that is directed and focused on cutting edge sports. A friend of mine who used to work with me at Skullcandy has been a part of the program for a while now, and we met at ASR and talked about it, and I feel it's something that our industry really needs right now. We've had too many examples as of late that have shown why we need good insurance in the US ski industry that's cost effective and affordable, and that's what this is. So I'm on board as a consultant trying to direct these guys in a positive direction in the ski world.
How long have you been working on this for, and what prompted you to get it going?
I've been a part of it for the last three months I'd say. The biggest thing for me when I looked at it was that it’s a policy that's actually affordable. Kids are doing so much gnarly stuff on the hill today and it's absolutely incredible, and as a team manager for Electric and Skullcandy I have the top skiers in the world on my team, and it's amazing how great they are, but it's also a bummer that it's inevitable that my team is every now and again going to tweak an ankle or blow a knee. And when that happens you just hope to hell that they've got insurance. And generally insurance isn't very cost effective; it's downright expensive. But with XSI there's basic policies starting at $17.30 per month.
So since you work for Electric and Skullcandy and not XSI, why did you choose this company in particular to team up with?
Well I am kind of working with them, but it's more about us working together as opposed to working for them. I'm working as a consultant trying to help some people get some traction in our world, and there's a lot of good faith in that. Obviously I have two jobs already and I work very hard at both of them, but with this it's all about me working with them to try to do something impactful that at least lets the kids out there know that there's an insurance company that backs what they do. It backs skiing, surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and all the rad sports you can think of. If you do one of those sports, you can get a policy at XSI. And at a time like this when it's the beginning of the winter and most of the kids out there are super healthy and super stoked to get out there and shred their hardest it’s even more necessary, because the one thing they head out on the hill without is insurance.
For all the kids in the US who don't have this type of insurance and are reading this right now thinking this would be a good idea, what are some of the benefits of these plans?
Well to give it to you in black and white, injuries are kind of an unspoken law. We all want to go to the next competition and have the next pow day, and no one thinks about injuries, but they happen. And I'll give you a good example of the benefits of this. With a pro policy at XSI, you're covered if you blow you knee. I hate to even talk about it in that sense, but it's reality. So if you blow you knee, you're covered. There might be kids reading this thinking, well what if I blow my knee in Europe? You're covered. What if I blow my knee in Europe while I'm competing? You're covered. So I would encourage kids to go to XSInow.com and read up about it themselves. I'm just putting this out there so everyone in the States can see and know about it, and know they have an opportunity and a choice to get insurance.
The one thing that struck me about these plans when I went to the site to check it out is that like you said earlier, they are cost effective. I'm Canadian, so I’m lucky enough to have free health care and don't know all that much about insurance costs in the States, but I remember thinking to myself that if I was from the US, $17 a month to get myself covered on a basic level seems like a no brainer, because I've blown my knee before. So it seems like no matter how much or how little money someone who skis makes, and whether they get paid to do it or not, it's a pretty damn good deal.
Exactly, and that's what really appealed to me first and foremost. I saw what insurance could cost a young kid who's living in a resort town and is a lift operator who's an aspiring park or pipe kid, because a lot of people have to start out that way, by working a night job, bussing dishes and things like that, and they can barely afford rent let alone food. So when you have a policy like this, it's pretty amazing that you can get coverage starting at $17.30. The bottom line is that XSI is a business, and they’re in business to make money obviously, but unlike most insurance companies, they're not here to gouge anyone. There here to say, 'You know what brother? Here's a helping hand. Know that you can go out and just punch it and you can rest assured you have insurance.' It's peace of mind.
You were telling me earlier to that you wanted to make a point of letting everyone know that this isn't just something that pro skiers on the park and slopestyle competition circuit should be looking at. It's beneficial for any Americans who ski, young or old.
Yeah and I want anyone and everyone out there to know and understand that with this company, you can go out and buy the same insurance that your favorite pro skier has access to. There's no difference. Whether you're a lift operator, or work in a cafeteria or hotel at a resort. Those type of people should look into it just as much as the pros, because one of the craziest realities about skiing and how expensive it is, is that roughly two thirds of everyone's lift ticket goes to insurance. So when you have a country that has insurance nightmares and lows and has run amok, it's a bright light when you have someone like XSI come along and offer affordable insurance to people who more often than not aren't qualified because of the dangerous lifestyle they lead. It's so easy to get denied by insurance providers now a days for that sort of thing, but with XSI you won't.
You mentioned to me last week that you've been talking with the AFP about this becoming their official insurance policy, and that you're planning on putting together somewhat of a team as well right?
Yeah I've been talking with Chris Jerard, Chris Elledge and Michael Spencer about it and they're all stoked on it, and when it comes to getting some athletes on board with this, that's one of the most beautiful things about this. In helping consult a brand to help bring them into our world, what's the first thing I want to do? I want to put together a team and sign some kids who will represent XSI and be able to take advantage of this. So I'm working on both of those things right now and as soon as they become official rest assured that all you kids on Newschoolers will be the first ones to hear about it.
If anyone out there has more questions about this, or needs more info, how should they go about obtaining it?
XSInow.com. Go there for any information you need or questions you have. Turn yourself onto it, read all about it yourself, and put it up against anything else out there. There really is nothing else out there like it for American kids. So go to XSInow.com, or if you want you can hit me up with questions when you see me on the hill. I'll be at all the Dew Tours, X Games, Euro Open, Euro X Games, WSI, etc.
And lastly, it's a bit off-topic, but as someone who's been around the since the inception of freeskiing and is one of the true originators of our sport, I have to take this opportunity to ask you about your thoughts on the state of the sport as a whole, and how you think things are going.
You know what? I couldn't be more proud. I think that everyone out there is policing themselves fairly well and that the sport is putting out a pretty good image right now, whether it be with companies like Armada, Line, what I'm doing with Skullcandy and Electric, and so on. And there's so many great athletes and there's so many cool things that the athletes are pushing for and asking for. So I couldn't be more stoked. I think that we need to keep pushing for and working on the ski identity though. We need to focus on being proud to be a skier, so get out there and represent and hold your head high. I really couldn't be more stoked on how things are going.
For more information on XSI, go to www.xsinow.com