Josh Bryant is the owner of JIBIJ Pro Shop in Boulder, Colorado. Why should you support JIBIJ? Because JIBIJ supports freeskiing.
By Ian Kirkpatrick
Ian Kirkpatrick: Alright Josh Bryant, who are you? How long have you been skiing? What's your life story in a very condensed form?
Josh Bryant: I've been skiing since I was eight when my family moved to Vail and I've been skiing every day since then... Not really anymore though, like one day a week now.
I.K: What is JIBIJ for everyone out there who's too lazy to click on the ad banners?
J.B: JIBIJ is a progressive freeskiing shop that specializes in core brands. We carry twin-tip skis, no carving skis or anything like that and we really focus on the newschool aspect of skiing.
I.K.: What's been the hardest and the best thing in getting JIBIJ off the ground?
J.B: The hardest part is getting the older people in this industry to take freeskiing seriously and getting them to have some sort of vision for the future. Thankfully we do have these smaller companies that see where skiing is going and they're happy to see a store like this. I go to Vegas and try to talk to people about this and they're like, "Well racing has better numbers." Yeah it does, but not for long. It's just not fun for anybody. People have fun doing this. You have to acknowledge freeskiing. Racing's great but it can't support the industry sales-wise. Thankfully, there are a lot of companies devoted to the movement. The best part is seeing how stoked people are on a store that cares about their kind of skiing. We're not a store that gets them to buy the most expensive ski on the wall but helps the customer to buy a ski thatâ€™s right for them. We work hard to get people satisfied with their equipment.
I.K: What skis are you on right now? Whatâ€™s in your quiver, as they say?
J.B: My main ski right now is the Line Prophet, 130 centimeters at the waist. Say what you will about it but that ski rips. I've taken it in the halfpipe and I've gone higher on that ski than I have on anything else. Also the Elizabeth, Pollard's new pro-model, is really fun too. I'm using that for a park ski. Iâ€™m also into the ANT (authors note: Whatâ€™s the ANT? You can't know.)... what else? Next year's Invaders from Line are awesome, so is Vincent's 4FRNT pro model. And all my skis have the Line Reactor binding because it's sick. I know a lot of people talk bad about it on the site but I know a lot more people who are totally satisfied with it. You don't hear all the good stories, just the bad. I'd rather break a binding and get a brand new one right away, which is the case with those, than blow my knee out. They're making it stronger next year too, by a lot.
I.K: What will JIBIJ be carrying next year?
J.B: For skis we've got Line, Armada, K2, 4FRNT, High Society, Liberty. For clothing, Siver Cartel, tons of it. Orage, the Masters stuff again next year which is really hard to find. We're doing DNA stuff again of course, some of their specialized stuff that's also hard to find.
I.K: Who do you admire and appreciate in the ski industry right now as far as what they're doing?
J.B: Mike Nick is doing awesome with Siver. Jay Levinthal has had a lot of good ideas for Line. All of my reps, because they know what's up. John Frankle from Orage, Joe Stumpf of 4FRNT... I'm really sorry if I forgot anybody but you know who you are.
I.K: What donâ€™t you like about the ski industry right now?
J.B: I saw far too many gray-haired old people in the ski section at SIA. When you go to the trade shows and see all the store owners and company people, it's as if they're way too old to see where skiing is going. Just because you've seen it, doesn't mean you're going to support it. I mean, a lot of the time, I get the impression that the old blood is just scared of the change. Older people just need to get out of the industry. If you look at snowboarding, it's booming. Again, the trade shows bring this out. On the snowboarding side at Vegas, it's so much better and there are so many people walking around. On the ski side, you see maybe a few people around and other than that, it's old, fat guys having meetings.
I.K: Alright, I'm just gonna ask this straight up, what's your beef with the "big companies?"
J.B: They just want money. I understand the point of business is to make money but they're only about money. Yeah, I want to make money and I want this store to succeed but I want to see skiing be better for it. They really don't, even though they act like it. None of those bigger companies ever take advice from their newschool athletes, they just have the money to throw at them. They sell their twin-tips but they don't put that money back into the sport by improving design. What it really comes down to is who's trying to make a better ski for you and who's putting the resources and effort into making a better ski for the younger people. These companies like Line or Armada need to sell a lot of skis to make money but once they get that money, they put it right back in. OK, let's take Line for example. They've got the Prophet, the Elizabeth and the Invader. Right there are three skis that are extremely progressive. With these bigger brands, they change the size by a few millimeters and they're like, "This is a totally new ski, you should buy it." That cash when you do buy it just goes to some old guy who could care less if freeskiing died tomorrow. It would stop making them money and they would stop making twin-tips. Then you get to companies like Line, 4FRNT, and Armada who will be making twins for as long as they can.
I think snowboarding is sick too and I think we need to follow snowboarding, 100%, everything they've done in their industry. They know what they're doing and they own their industry. Skiers do not. Again, old guys run us and that sucks. We need to take it back. A lot of people on NS hate snowboarding for some reason but without snowboarding, skiing wouldn't be where it is now. We have to have it because it paved the way for us.
I.K: When you started JIBIJ, what was your personal motivation?
J.B: To make skiing better. To increase the awareness and visibility of our sport. Also to make people know about the better companies that are out there because the bigger shops won't touch them, just because they might be smaller capital-wise than somebody like Salomon.
I.K: What's in the near future and beyond for JIBIJ?
J.B: Carrying more brands, opening more store locations. We should have a team video coming out this fall called Gemini, and adding more to the team. We're looking for kids who are really stoked on the brands they ride for, not just looking for handouts. Take Mike Broadbent for example. He rides for Line, goes out and works the demo days for them, turns screws all day when he could be skiing. It's all because he believes in the product. Then he sees it in return because Line hooks him up. You have to earn that type of stuff.
I.K: Right on, Josh. Any shoutouts?
J.B: First and foremost, my beautiful fiancee Liz Manley. Rob Brown, the best rep I've ever seen; thanks for watching my back. Jen Mastro at Orage. All my team riders, especially Mike and Dan Broadbent, Chris Myers, and Jon Hartman. Anthony at Joystick, who has sick ideas. Tyson and Hans at Armada. And of course everyone who has supported the shop.