On Sunday, seven Salomon Snowboard boot designers from Italy descended into the company’s Northwest headquarters to mark the brands sale of one million pair of boots. Including the sell-in numbers for 2003/04, Salomon reached the milestone in just seven years.
The boot program is run out in a town about an hour outside of Venice, Italy by International Boot Director Bruno Borsoi who, along with Head Technical Designer Mariarosa Romanato, has been with the program since its inception. The two were joined in the U.S. by the boot team: Designer Christine Laner, Technical Designer Marco Caeran, Product Manager Michele Tosello, Quality Designer Cesare Piazza, and Designer Peruzzzo Giustaino.
As a way to celebrate the boot team’s efforts over the years, Salomon N.A. played host to its Italian guests. First, giving them a day-long tour of the Adidas/Salomon Portland facilities and the separate Bonfire Clothing offices before heading up to Mt. Hood until Wednesday. After Hood, the Italians would be on their way to Vancouver to check out Arc’Teryx and then Whistler/Blackcomb.
While on the Portland campus, the designers were able to see the R&D department, materials library, and prototyping facilities of all the North American Adidas footwear programs. Then, after a meet and greet with Salomon North American President and CEO James Curleigh , the group was on its way to Mt. Hood to see first hand one of the epicenters of the U.S. snowboarding scene. However, the team didn’t get out the door without a bunch of praise from Curleigh: “I tell the rest of the design and devlopment teams to just ‘be like the snowboard boot-team.’
With a good feeling in the air, the crew hopped in the car. Many of the Italians hadn’t ever been to either Portland, or Mt. Hood and were extremely excited to check out the many kids on the hill. Once in Government Camp, the campers were swarming all over and it was fun to watch the designers soak the scene in.
Early the next morning the group met outside the Salomon Test Center to get set up with snowboards and bindings. Of course each had brought their own boots, some were even customized with the designer’s nickname embroidered on the upper. While Borsoi, Tosello, and others were seasoned riders, it was surprising at first to learn that a few of the newer designers had only snowboarded a couple of times. Even so, everyone was up on the hill ripping, or sidesliding down the Palmer snowfield checking out the camps and making turns.
All in all, the designers had a good time on the hill. And that was just day two of the trip, that night Salomon hosted a BBQ at the team house and the next morning everyone was on hill riding again.
For more on the Salomon’s benchmark, check out the upcoming issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding Business out in August.