words and photos by Rom Marcucci

At first glance, a ski seems fairly simple but deeper inspection leads to much more complexity.  Think of all the materials that go into a ski: p-tex bases, metal edges, titanal sheets, fiberglass, strips of carbon, sidewalls, wood cores, rubber, ink topsheets, and the topsheets themselves.  Imagine designing a ski, creating a graphic, finding the materials, engineering them to work together, shipping them to the factory, testing, sampling, selling to a ski shop, mass producing, delivering on time, then praying it will snow and some of you will like the ski enough to buy it.

Jason Levinthal and Eric Pollard “Check this out: gear of the year!”

With these complexities, every ski company holds sales meetings in early winter to prepare those involved with the process.  This year, Line held its winter sales meeting in Whistler, not a bad place to do business as a skier.

the plush accommodations

I took off from Reno on Thursday, making it to the resort in time for dinner.  Matt Connelly and I (members of The Red Dawn, Line’s California sales agency) had directions to the hotel but I didn’t realize just what we were in for.   As we approached the base of Blackcomb, memories of the rich cocktailing on the patio of a monstrous luxury hotel flooded back to me.  As we made the final right turn it clicked – Line put us up there: the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.  Somehow, as the young guy, I drew the lucky straw and had a room to myself at the poshest slope side digs in town. 

Joe Schuster checking out his new competition ski

After settling in, everyone made their way to a conference room for a meet, greet, and ski unveiling.  Over the course of the day, we devoured the new skis.  I can’t give it all away right now, but I can tell you the current models look amazing, some fresh things are in the mix, and an old friend is back with a new twist.

Max Hill with an overexposed ski. Apologies for the photographic faux pas

It’s funny to see a group of grown men acting like kids on Christmas morning.  The scene in the demo room the following day was reminiscent of that energy. Everyone selected his skis of choice with the promise of fresh snow in the alpine.  We boarded the gondola in the dark and ate breakfast in the alpenglow.

Andrew the northwest rep acting foolish

The conditions weren’t perfect but the group nearly was.  I feel proud to be associated with Line because the employees are so fiercely passionate about their jobs and skiing.  The highlight of my two days in Whistler was certainly the mornings spent high in the Coast Range searching for powder with this crew.

Rob the boot guy lifts off

Schuster 180 with Jason cheerleading in the background

J walks in with a familiar friend

Of course, no matter how good a job is, they all involve work.  Our afternoons and evenings were devoted to meetings about Line.  This was our first global sales meeting, with reps and distributors from all over the world.  Although Line is still a relatively small company, the level of worldwide support shocked me. 

the world of Line

First we talked skis. The product engineers updated everyone on the manufacturing process, challenges, and new developments. Reps from various territories expressed concerns and changes needed relative to their regions.  Pollard got up and presented his views on skis and skiing. 

Eric shares his vision

Jason Levinthal went into great depth on where Line is headed and how our products and marketing will drive the future of the sport.  He also felt the need to showcase his marketing techniques with a ridiculous video of me being forced to get a haircut.  It was inspiring to see someone who started making skis by himself in a garage so eloquently explain the future of the brand to over 100 of his employees.  Sales goals closed out our meetings. 

Jason presenting

Line’s goals are large, but attainable.  We believe the future of our sport is not in race or $1,500 system skis with fancy wires, lights, and dials.  We believe the future of our brand lies in offering the highest quality freestyle and freeride skis possible.  We believe the future of our sport depends on producing a fun and attractive message about skiing and skiers.  Finally, we believe freestyle and freeride skiing should be the dominant force in skiing and hope LINE can play a part in making that happen.