HEAD is a brand that reinvented skiing as we know it in the 50’s when they added metal laminates to their skis, a design that changed the market moving forward. HEAD is built on driving innovation in the ski industry from skis, to boots, to Tyrolia bindings. They pride themselves on producing “lightweight skis with mind-bending performance.”
According to Craig Peterson, Ski Hardgoods Buyer for Christy Sports, HEAD has become one of the top ski brands in the industry and a brand that is sure to see even more traction with Christy Sports in the coming seasons. Craig is especially stoked about the Kore collection. We were able to talk to Andrew Couperthwait, Rocky Mountain rep for HEAD Skis, about the HEAD brand and their relationship with Christy Sports.
Andrew Couperthwait on HEAD Skis & Christy Sports:
- What attracted HEAD Skis to Christy Sports?
C: Before I [Couperthwait] joined the HEAD Skis team, I was a store manager at Christy Sports in Avon for 5 years and worked closely with hard goods buyers. HEAD Skis had a strong brand presence in Europe with room to grow in the U.S. market. Among those HEAD consulted about expanding their U.S. footprint were many in the Christy Sports family. We wanted to find out what the brand was doing right and wrong, as well as how to become a player in the North American market.
- What, uniquely, does HEAD Skis offer to their fans and retailers?
C: Head was started in 1950 just outside Baltimore by Howard Head, an aerospace engineer who was avid tennis player and golfer. He was the first to come up with a ski design incorporating wood core sandwiched between aluminum sheets of metal and plastic sidewalls with an edge that went up through the tip. This was a revolution in ski design. HEAD’s owner is a pure lover of the sport of skiing. The quality of HEAD products is top-notch. They put lots of engineering into product innovation, researching new materials and better products.
- What does Christy Sports offer to their customers that other retailers do not?
C: Christy Sports is all about customer experience. For many large ski retailers with multiple doors, service is different nowadays. You don’t see a lot of loyalty and longevity in employees that work for big companies. A good number of Christy Sports employees have been there for years and being able to retain employees isn’t an easy thing to do. Christy Sports does a lot to train employees, consider the individual walking through the door, and cater to their needs.
- Why does HEAD work so well with Christy Sports?
C: Christy’s has a lot of programs that help people get into winter sports. It can be intimidating walking into a rental store as a beginner and it’s important to have an expert willing to work with you or your experience can go south. We can see a fairly low retention rate for skiing and anytime they get first rental setup, if the product isn’t maintained well or the experience with employee is not positive they aren’t gonna come back. They make sure individual needs are taken care of. HEAD’s #1 goal is to bring people into the sport from inner cities to the mountains. We want to bring products to market that benefit all levels of skier and truly make skiing a family sport, a goal that falls in line with the beginner-friendly mentality of Christy Sports.