Q&A with Orage co-owner, freeskiing OG, and all around good guy Mike Nick
We’re one of the few companies, especially on the hardgoods side that is completely freeski focused. We don’t cross into racing or anything, we’re freestyle/freeski oriented and that’s how we’ve always been. We work closely with our athletes, and we want to make products for like-minded people. That’s what allows us to be relevant. We’ve been around for 25 years and we’ve never changed because we’re dedicated to what we’ve always done. We look at outerwear from a different perspective. We want to blur the lines between on-hill and on-street outerwear. It doesn’t have to look like a piece of equipment, we want you to be able to rock your Orage jacket downtown and not feel like you’re wearing your most technical outerwear.
If you had to pick one product/set up to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The M ’89. That’s the quintessential Orage piece. We went with an alternative fabric this year and coupled that with 20k waterproofing / 20k breathability. It’s the Cadillac of jackets.
What new tech has got you most excited this year?
We haven’t gone after one thing that will revolutionize our line up. We’re blending fabrics and purposes for our products. It’s stuff that will keep you warm everywhere, as opposed to just warm and dry on the mountain. Our sport depends upon the weather and If we’re going to be dictated by that, we’re going to run into walls, for example with droughts. You can’t guarantee precipitation, so we’re also designing products for drier climates. And not everyone wants to walk around downtown with a 3-ply goretex jacket, you know?
Tell us about the new Orage Masters.
We kind of over-extended our welcome in Sun Valley. We figured maybe it would be a good idea to move it to Retallack where it’s a little more out of the way. There’s a lot of focus on slope this year, with the Olympics and everything and frankly there isn’t much variety in that. One slopestyle comp looks a lot like the next one. Orage Masters has always been about reformulating events so we said fuck slope, fuck pipe, let’s go to the backcountry. We’ve got a good relationship with Retallack too. They’re stoked and so are the athletes. We recognize that we need to have a super high social media presence to keep people engaged while we’re there. We want the fans to have input on what goes down, which is why we’ve structured the build-up the way we have. That’s how we’re accounting for the location.
What’s the story behind the Orage ad in the Newschoolers Yearbook?
When we go on Newschoolers we say everybody hating on just about everything, so we wanted to call that out. We wanted to show love to all the haters out there.
How has the new ownership affected operations?
It’s made us faster. The things we’ve tweaked have been intense for sure; we’re in overdrive. There are a lot of challenges. This collection was developed and designed a year ago. Basically producing outerwear is an 18 month cycle and we’re trying to shrink that. We’re trying to condense the forecasting process for retailers.
In general we’re trying to get back to our roots as a brand. This brand has been around for 25 years and we’ve been through the ups and down and twists and turns. Overall I’m satisfied. From a retail standpoint, buyers are stoked. When we were privately owned, we were at our best. Our buyers are stoked on that. We can run our own agenda now 100%, without the corporate mandates that constrained us under our old management.
The new B-Dog
Take a look at next year's product, courtesy of Orage:
View in detail: http://bit.ly/1i59lil