A look inside WNDR Alpine HQ. Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)
In a time when locking down your gear can produce unwanted stress, our Skier Service division is faster and more dedicated than ever. Today, we’re introducing two new additions to the team, both focused on getting you the perfect setup as quickly as possible.
Meet Kevin and Ethan, the newest additions to our Skier Service team.
Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Kevin brings a meticulous eye for gear and years of experience getting skiers dialed on the perfect equipment for their needs. Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)
Kevin, why are you a backcountry skier?
I became a backcountry skier after living the resort skiing life years ago. I used to ride Snoqualmie pretty religiously (because it was cheap and close) in High School but after I graduated, I moved on to expanding my alpine skillset by bagging some of the classic mountaineering objectives in the Northwest. Bringing alpine touring into the fold seemed like the best way to marry my favorite experiences on the uphill and the downhill.
In detail, what do you do at WNDR Alpine?
I work in customer experience and sales here at WNDR Alpine, but we all do our part here and wear many hats. So I do everything from replying to customer emails, helping with community events, taking customers on tours of the Design Lab, packing and shipping orders, and of course helping them find the best possible skis when they use the Ski Finder.
I’m also chief officer of office breaks at the skatepark.
What were you up to before WNDR Alpine?
I started working in the outdoor industry through outdoor lifestyle brands and retailers as a photographer, working on social campaigns and releases, then over a couple of years living on the road I was presented with a great position with Backcountry.com. That role brought me to Salt Lake City, where I worked as an account manager working with mountaineers, ski mountaineers, and climbing-focused customers and organizations to keep them outfitted with the right gear. After gaining experience in the area, I began to take backcountry managers and other employees out to learn some of the safety systems and practices with ropes and rigging.
Kevin's career in the outdoor industry initially began with a camera in his hand. Photo: Kevin Kinghorn (@kevinkinghorn)
What gets you stoked about WNDR Alpine?
I love the thought and design philosophy that has gone into the WNDR Alpine lineup. It’s a creative environment with hands-on product and material testing with very talented people. Seeing that go into such a unique product gets me STOKED. On top of that, we’re using our own biotech labs to show the potential of our technology to impact the entire outdoor industry. This place is a dream.
How can we get in touch with you?
After you get sorted out with Kevin, it’s very likely that Ethan Frank will be the one to build your setup, unique to your needs and skiing pursuits. If you’ve picked up your skis at our Design Lab in Salt Lake City this year, he’s probably already handed them to you in person! Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)
What’s your story, Ethan? How’d you get here?
I was born in California but moved to Pennsylvania when I was young and grew up in a college town in the middle of PA. As a youngster I spent a lot of time hiking and climbing around in the dense woods that made up my backyard. The wilderness right outside of my hometown gave me the opportunity to explore and earn a sense of wonder regarding the natural world. I think that that free feeling of exploring outside is what has led me to backcountry skiing. It’s one activity that combines several things that I love: human powered activity, spending time in the mountains, and harnessing the pull of gravity on skis. The sense of accomplishment after a day of touring and connectedness to your environment while on the skin track are the things that have gotten me addicted to this sport.
Right after college, I got into the outdoor industry by doing some guiding for Wilderness Adventures (based in Jackson Hole). I have led backpacking trips with this organization every summer since moving West - I really enjoy teaching Leave No Trace and showing high school students how to backpack and live in the wild. After my first summer with WA I decided to move to Salt Lake City. I got a job at Park City Mountain where I did a combination of freestyle coaching and beginner ski lessons for two seasons in a row. I had a sweet experience up there and it really opened my eyes to the ski scene in this area - namely providing me the opportunity to get into the Cottonwoods on my days off.
The following seasons, I furthered my exposure and experience in the skiing world by working at a number of ski shops (2nd Tracks/Level 9 Sports and Lone Pine Gear Exchange). I realized that I really enjoyed talking with customers and skiers about gear, but living on ski shop wages was not really working out. My next move was to the ski manufacturing space, where I built skis and worked in shipping for about a year.
My own environmental footprint has become even more important to me, and that’s ultimately what led me to WNDR Alpine. The fact that sustainability and new materials are driving forces of WNDR Alpine’s mission has given me a ton of pride to work here.
The roots of my skiing style are founded on early 2000’s Jiberish and 4Bi9 edits to be honest. Tom Wallisch’s jaw-dropping edit with Biggie Smalls blaring in the background pretty much lives rent-free in my mind and reminds me of the sort of skiing that got me fired up as a kid. Due to the lack of snowfall in central Pennsylvania, my friends and I focused mostly on building our own terrain parks and trying to add creativity to the sport. These days, I try to let the flare and influence of those icy East coast night skiing nights shine through in the way that I ski.
Ethan precision trims skins to the Intention 110 before shipping. Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)
At WNDR Alpine I am a Fulfillment Specialist II, which means that I do the shipping, receiving, and a portion of the shop work. I spend my days at work custom mounting bindings, pre-cutting skins to width, and dreaming about the not-so-distant future of those skis - slaying deep snow with an environmentally conscious pilot aboard. It’s pretty interesting work and my days are very dynamic. I also get to work with the sales/marketing team on planning for the future and some product development.
The thing that gets me the most stoked about our product here at WNDR Alpine is the fact that it showcases what I feel like is the future of manufacturing and materials in general: environmental responsibility. We are actually making skis with materials that offer real performance benefits but also happen to be less impactful on the Earth.
If we have any chance of teaching our grandkids to ski, we’ll all have to be more conscious about how we consume. Working for a brand whose agenda is to change the manufacturing world in multiple markets feels like an awesome way to take our industry in a new, better direction. I think I am most fired up about the fact that we are tapping into Nature; we’re utilizing a natural, biological process to get our oil, and we’re just harvesting that power and putting it to good use back in nature. It feels pretty cyclical and that is extremely cool.
Don’t take our word on their collective skillset. Get to know Kevin and Ethan directly!