I’ve been going non-stop for the last few days since I left Jackson to attend a Black Diamond Athlete summit and now it’s back to work during the busiest time of year for us at the shop. It was super fun meeting the rest of the crew in SLC and talking to the Black Diamond product managers about things we like and possible changes to current and future products. It looks like I’m going to start doing some product testing too, which I’m really looking forward to.
My first day started with a brief history of the company by CEO Peter Metcalf and it’s very interesting to see it’s correlation with the sports of climbing and backcountry skiing themselves. Since its’ conception from the bankrupt Chouinard Equipment in 1985, Black Diamond now has three divisions in North America, Europe and Asia. Peter believes that it’s their commitment to style, as well as having a robust business attitude that has made the company so successful.
After Peter’s talk, we got a tour of the factory that was pretty cool and I now know why Express Ice Screws cost $59.95. The machinery ranged from ovens to cold forging machines to million dollar CAD machines and it was pretty interesting to see all the different products in various stages of production. The strength testing aspect was probably one of the most interesting parts and I wish I could show you more in the photos.
The day continued with meetings with some of the product category managers and of course everyone wants to see some next years boot offering. No spy photo’s out yet, as BD really wants to keep the visual aspect of the boots as much under wraps as possible. A media launch and retail demo are scheduled in January, so some will have to wait until then, but most of the specifics have already been cover in a previous post. Next year BD will release the models in the Power Series, which will consist of three AT and six models for telemark. Anyway, I got to see and ski on the stiffest model, The Factor and it was a powerhouse. A couple more ski models will be added to the line on both ends of the Power/Efficiency spectrum for next year, but I think one may be released late this season.
I got to see some new ski packs as well and you’ll be glad to know they are expanding the AvaLung program in many different directions, including small front/sidecountry models, as well as snowboarding specific ones. BD pretty much owns the US headlamp market, so they are putting some more dollars to expand that line and if you haven’t owned any BD ski gloves yet…you should…cuz they rock!
We spent the final day of the event skiing at Snowbird. Mother nature satisfied us with about 8-12” of new snow…just enough hide a lot of rocks and enough to soften the landings so the BD skiers could do some helis and get inverted. Needless to say…I played it cool and just took a couple photos. I didn’t want to show them up and all.
Team Black Diamond: (left to right) Steve Romeo, Charlie Lynch, Kate Cardamone,
Thomas Laakso, Nick Devore, Chris Davenport, Chris Erickson, Will Cardamone,
Mark Welgos (kneeling), Jacqui Edgerly (kneeling)
BTW…for those interested…RandoKitty injured a paw skiing in the park last weekend. Props to her for the self rescue from high on the mountain. Let the recovery begin.