K2 Previews Line In Saas Fee, Part 2

Yes, I fell asleep during the K2 product line presentation. It was very embarrassing, and I’d like to officially apologize to K2’s management for doing it. But it was partly new teamrider Gretchen Bleiler’s fault. There, I said it.

It was our first real day in Saas Fee, and the poor weather had put a hold on everything. After suiting up in our snowboard clothes early in the morning, and then waiting through two morning weather holds, we were finally told the mountain wasn’t going to open at all around 11:30 a.m.

So I was innocently wandering the streets of Saas Fee, window shopping with Copeland’s Snowboard Buyer Jason Watts, when we came across Gretchen, who beckoned us to a local lunch restaurant, where she, Jon Kooley, team manager Kevin English, and some others were enjoying a beer. You just don’t say no to Gretchen.

The group was fired up, and actually Kooley and English were drinking beers out of big glass boots, which everyone thought was hilarious. So they had to finish them, and then order more boots for the group, so we could all take drinks out of the boot. Needless to say, we were good and sauced by the end of lunch, with product presentations set for 5:00 p.m.

And that’s why I fell asleep during the afternoon meetings. But only for a few minutes. Really. Here’s what my scribbled notes did record from that meeting.

Product intros like this in Saas Fee have been conducted by K2 for the last nine years, but this was the first season that included snowboarding. We were all stoked to be included, knowing that snow was piling up on the glacier while we were talking.

K2 Vice President Tim Petrick told the crowd that if you want to be an authentic snow brand, you’ve got to be on the glaciers testing product each fall, and that was one of the other reasons why the group was here. K2 also brought along its snowboard team for a dealer catalog shoot, and that’s why Gretchen was around, corrupting us. Nice addition to the team, guys!

But back to the presentation. Petrick told the group how K2 was going to have 800-million dollars in sales this year, and was growing aggressively, thanks to a new CEO. The company’s vision statement is be a leading sporting goods company with authentic brands. In fact, the company is a family of brands, not a single branded company. He also pointed out there was a management reorganization last February, which really broke down the walls between the different brands and categories and improved the company’s ability to service both its retail and consumer customers.

Winter Sports President Robert Marcovitch next gave an overview of the different international divisions of the company and the 30 distributors, and talked about the customer and employee focus. He also talked about how the company was embarking on a logo strategy exercise. He also added how he’s the keeper of the flame that was lit by K2’s founder Bill Kirchner 42 years ago.

He continued that when the company had expanded, some of the roots were mutated, but now K2 has refocused on being an authentic, youthful, innovative, American brand.

From there, the managers continued to outline some of the strategies for success that the company was working on, but I don’t want to give away too much to K2’s competitors, if you know what I mean (okay, maybe that was when I fell asleep, but only for a few minutes, really!)

After the meetings, the crew had a big Swiss dinner that included lots of meat and cheese (all meals in Switzerland involve large amounts of meat and cheese), and then we headed over to the local hip watering hole called Popcorn, where we dominated the pool table and experimented with the shot menu, while dreaming of the powder we might get in the morning.

Tune in tomorrow to www.transworldsnowboarding for a recap of the rest of the K2 Product intro.