Words by Matt Masson
Armada is much more than a group of incredible skiers. The new Joint Efforts campaign strives to give an insider’s view of the entire AR family and the personalities and culture that drive Armada.
“Our goal with Joint Efforts was to highlight the breadth of individuals that contribute to Armada on a daily basis and have had a part in building the brand into what it is today.”
That’s the summary from Tom Suesskoch, Armada’s Brand Director;
“From designers to engineers, athletes, artists, ambassadors, our core retail partners and more. It’s an incredible group of people that share a similar mindset and vision that pushes skiing, pushes creativity and pushes that same love for the sport and the culture”.
The AR Family by Daniel Ronnback
While the campaign as a whole aims to showcase the diverse array of individuals that contribute to Armada, the campaign’s centerpiece, a 5-part video series, focuses largely on the collaborations between athletes and artists which have always been a driving force behind the brand.
Director of the Joint Efforts mini-series, and long-time AR family member, Corey Stanton filled us in on the thinking:
“Joint Efforts just seemed like a natural extension of a lot of the stuff we have done at Armada since day one. I was the first intern at Armada in 2003 and I’ve always been so impressed with the kind of collaboration between the athletes and artists there."
"The Joint Efforts concept is a continuation of this. It really was a pleasure bringing together friends, artists of all kinds, and the Armada team to build cool stuff together. I think everyone will be hyped on the results, which are all pretty diverse across the board. Some very talented musicians, animators, filmmakers and photographers have joined forces with Phil, Hornbeck, Provo, Maude and the AR family at large and it’s been amazing to see it come together.”
Mackel Vaughn is Armada’s creative director. He says that creativity is at the core of what Armada is and what Armada has always been about: “We wanted the athletes and artists to make things that are special and unique, without putting too many restrictions on them.”
For a perfect example of this collaborative creation process, Mackel talks about the moment Phil Casabon walked into the office with a pretty specific request:
“He wanted a ski so he could go slide on whatever he wanted and not catch his edges. Making an edgeless ski is not the most commercially viable thing, but that’s what one of our athletes wanted and we need to stay true to that, figure out how we can provide it and make it work. It surprised all of us how well that thing skis. That was just embracing the creativity from our athletes, from our engineers and everyone in-house here, creating that and making something special and unique. That’s how the BDOG Edgeless was born.”
Corey talks about the early days and how Armada thought outside the skiing box:
“Seeing JP and Julien collab with the engineers and Hans (NS Armada’s co-founder Hans Smith) to make the JJ as we know it today was something I remember vividly. Seeing that come from an outlandish idea, to a prototype, to a crazy successful game-changing ski was so cool. Getting Mad Steez —back then a Newport Beach local muralist and surfer— on board as early as 04/05 to make graphics for our skis was a trip as well.”
Tom says that they aimed to give artists and athletes alike 100% free creative reign and the support needed to see their visions through.
“The Joint Efforts campaign, like Armada, is built around allowing carefully selected individuals the freedom to manifest their vision and contribute to Armada on their own terms.”
As a result, all five episodes came out as completely different, stand-alone pieces providing a glimpse into the minds of some of skiing’s most creative personalities:
Corey Stanton worked with the whole AR team to create a tribute to an iconic collection of skis in the Armada line-up: the ARV series. All shot on one day In Kläppen in May 2019.
The winners of the last two XGames Real ski contests: Phil Casabon and Brady Perron bring us Nuance, a film ‘souvenir’ that showcases Phil’s new innovative signature ski, the BDOG Edgeless.
Mike Hornbeck and Spencer Milbocker made a video showcasing Armada’s outerwear. It was all shot around Mike’s home in Michigan and features an original score supervised by Hornbeck himself, and recorded at a studio by the beach in California by Evanomics and Matt Stokke, also collaborators on the project.
Maude Raymond went to New York City for a studio shoot to collaborate with Art Director Courtney Well to bring the women’s collection and its vivid prints to life.
The theme of the series is collaboration, but Ian Provo has always done things his own way. Ian’s been with Armada since 2007 and his DIY attitude and method are as unique as all the collaborations. He documented the planning, prepping, skiing and editing on his exploration into the Grand Staircase of southern Utah.
All those medals, classic edits, and highly anticipated collection drops are more than just individual achievements. Joint Efforts is a glimpse at the people that help make them happen.
Because that’s what Armada is… a collaborative project meant to ensure creativity always has a place in skiing.
See the first episode here: www.armadaskis.com/en-us/arvjointefforts