Jason Levinthal, creator of the immensely successful Line Skis brand and one of the pioneers and leaders of the indie ski movement has jumped back into making his own skis again. Jason opened J Skis
last year and now is getting ready for his second year of handmaking premium skis.
Here is our Q&A with Jason.
As tough as the ski industry is, what made you want to re-create another ski company from the ground up?
I accomplished what I set out to do with Line Skis
. Now I am looking forward to getting back to skiing in a different way than I have the last few years.
I really want to test myself again. I was an entrepreneur before and that includes a lot of customer interaction. So I am looking forward to be back in front of the customer and work with the skiers face to face.
What are the differences between when you started Line verses now with starting J Skis?
It is so much easier now to connect with the public: facebook, twitter, youtube, etc. This is incredible and is also so much fun to be closer to the customers
When I created Line, it was such a traditional market back then. We had to break down so many barriers. Why ski backwards? Who needs a flipped up tail? There were a many more skiers perception to overcome.
Plus, it is now possible to build a much better product now at a cheaper price.
What is your current target market for J Skis?
Any one who wants to have fun. We have 3 skis in our line up right now: Powder, All Around and Park. Hopefully, as business grows, we will build upon this and we anticipate having more models to offer.
How has the technology changed in the last 15 years or so?
The past 15 years was exponential change but now it’s starting to taper off and be more about how you want to the ski to feel. Its more of shape and flex vs the radical changes of width, rocker and sidecut that has happened the past 15 years.
What is your favorite part of running the business?
I have much more ability to being able to move at the speed of thought. I don’t have to wait 2 years to introduce something new. I can do things and make updates almost in real-time.
I want to be able to sell the product quicker, whether it be graphic designs or physical updates to the skis. Basically, design the skis around the skiers/customer faster.
Are you still getting your days out on the hill?
Absolutely. I get out as much as I can at my home mountains of Bolton Valley and Stowe Mountain.
You probably gave a lot of indie ski companies advice over the years, how does it feel to be competing against them now?
I am just stoked to be in this great industry. It is not really a competition as there is room for all of us to be skiing down the hill together.
The more smaller companies that are out there, the more life in the market. The more flavor, the more to inspire. The indie companies definitely bring more vibe to the industry. And I believe the customers feel closer to “their” brands.
Who’s has influenced you the most in the ski industry?
Jake Burton & Glen Plake
I am still amazed at how an East Coaster in the Land of Hardpack was able to kickstart the wide ski trend. How did you foresee this?
I felt that the ski industry was jumping on the snowboard bandwagon and was overlooking what was possible with skiing.
So, I built a ski inspired by snowboarding and the rest was a natural evolution.
Jason is fully committed to building an awesome pair of skis for you. So much so, that he has a 100% money back guarantee on J Skis that if you don’t like them for any reason after 3 days on the mountain, you can return them.
If there is one person who can make it as an indie ski manufacturer, its Jason Levinthal and I can’t wait to see what he has in store of the ski industry in the coming years.
Check out his website for more on his story and his skis.