Founder: Ben Anderson
Company type: Ski manufacturer
Policyholder Spotlight: Icelantic Carves a Unique Path in the Ski Industry
Nestled alongside the Rocky Mountains in the thriving outdoor community of Golden, Colorado, stands Icelantic Skis, a company that has redefined the skiing industry by blending craftsmanship, art, and community. Founded by the visionary entrepreneur Ben Anderson, Icelantic Skis has emerged as a beacon of creativity and authenticity in a market known for its innovation and love of the outdoors.
Born in Colorado
From humble beginnings in Evergreen, expansion to Denver, then back west to Golden, Icelantic is a Colorado company through and through. Icelantic's commitment to being a "Made in the USA" brand is absolute, with the company’s Colorado-based operations standing as a testament to its roots.
“Colorado as a brand is well respected and recognized worldwide, so marketing 'made in Colorado' around the globe has been a big piece of our business," Anderson explains.
Fusing Craftsmanship and Art
What sets Icelantic Skis apart is its dedication to marrying craftsmanship with artistry. Anderson's brainchild transcends ski manufacturing – it encapsulates a spirit of self-expression and adventure.
At the heart of Icelantic's identity lies its unique artwork. Collaborating with artist Travis Parr, Anderson and his team pioneered a concept that has become iconic in the skiing world. Applying original art to the ski's top sheet turned each ski into a visual representation of the company’s personality - and the skier’s, too.
"They’re beautiful looking, but the overall durability and quality of the product can’t be beat," Anderson remarks with pride. (Watch him try to blow up a pair of Icelantic skis.)
The sense of employee stewardship at Icelantic Skis goes beyond a traditional workplace. Anderson's philosophy of empowerment and shared values has cultivated a company culture that resonates with each team member. The company isn't just a workplace – it's a platform for creative expression and collaboration.
"It's been really fun to see that approach work. No one in the company has hours. It's a trust-driven organization. Every role is just as important as the other," Anderson explains.
This philosophy of treating every role with equal importance and offering freedom to try new things has fostered a sense of ownership and pride in the Icelantic team.
Navigating Workforce Challenges
Over its two decades of existence, Icelantic Skis has faced and overcome numerous challenges.
At the factory Icelantic shares with Never Summer snowboards, keeping up with the cost of living in Denver is like aiming at a moving target - one that’s always going up. But finding skilled employees and paying them a living wage is critical.
“The factory workers have such pride in the product that they make. They know how the market has recognized us as one of the most durable, highest quality, products on the market. The attention to detail is there.” Icelantic’s combination of seasoned vets and new talent is key to addressing challenges. "The increasing cost of goods compounded with a reduction of demand is the first, biggest challenge that the new generation of Icelantic employees will wrestle with."
From evolving its roles and responsibilities to enhance focus and strategic decision-making, to adapting to market shifts and unforeseen external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, the company's resilience shines through.
The spirit of Colorado, with its outdoor fervor and close-knit community, has profoundly shaped Icelantic's journey. But Icelantic isn’t just a passenger on the Colorado train - they’re a culture creator.
The company first engaged in local events with a gallery at the First Friday Art Walks in the Santa Fe Arts District, followed by rooftop parties at its headquarters. Then they went big and launched Winter on the Rocks, a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the coldest month of the year. It seemed crazy, but it’s become an iconic event among Colorado’s outdoors community and beyond.
"The Colorado community has been amazing...I don't think there was a better place or time to start a ski company," Anderson explains.
The embrace of the local community has provided the foundation for Icelantic's growth and success.
With challenges on the horizon, Icelantic Skis is resisting the pull to go mainstream. The company recently became one of the few outdoor gear companies to achieve designation as a B Corporation, underscoring its commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
Through thoughtful innovation, community engagement, and a dedication to its core values, Icelantic Skis continues to carve a distinct path in the skiing industry.
"Challenges are challenges, but it's nothing that we can't overcome. And it's just gonna make us stronger," Anderson said.
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