Annelise Sporting Her Icelantic Skis
Carving Up the Slopes
How did your love affair with skiing begin?
I’ve fallen in love with skiing for the first time, many times. Growing up as a Nordic skier, the sport was always more of a way of life or transport — something my family did together. I gradually transitioned into alpine skiing, snowboarding, then to tele-skiing, then back to alpine skiing a few years ago. In each of these modes, I’ve had epiphanies or moments where everything lined up and magic happened, and I feel like there are always surprise moments in those spaces, where love is realized in a new light. I guess I like to approach the sport with no expectations so that I can be amazed more regularly.
Can you tell us a little about Icelantic and how you came to be CEO?
Icelantic is an adventure/lifestyle brand based in Golden. We started selling skis 11 years ago, and have since evolved into lifestyle apparel, accessories, events and community, in addition to skis. I’ve been with the company since its inception, and took over as CEO three years ago. Basically, the company was sick and was headed towards a pretty scary waterfall. I saw a way to divert crisis, so I took the helm and righted the ship.
What sets Icelantic’s products apart from other ski and outdoor brands?
Everything that we sell is made in the USA by top-notch manufacturers. That’s a big differentiating factor. Also, the look and graphics are unique in that they are done by one artist and they tell our story every year. Like stained glass in a church, you can ‘read’ the anthology of Icelantic through our graphics — plus, there’s a message in all of it: always reminding people to Return to Nature.
What’s a piece of ski apparel or equipment that you can’t live without?
Well, of course I’m going to say my skis! Current favorites are the Maiden — I’m so in love with this ski! And besides that, I always have hand warmers in my bag. If my hands freeze and I’m in a pain cave, my day is done, so I prevent that by always having hand warmers.
Icelantic offers a backcountry ski collection. Have you noticed more people interested in skiing out of bounds in the last few years? What are the important safety considerations that you’d advise someone in the backcountry?
Absolutely. I’d say over 50% of the people that buy our skis are intending on using them for backcountry as well as resort skiing. The most important thing to remember is that Mother Nature is powerful and commands respect. Before embarking on any out-of-bounds adventure, this needs to be remembered. Respect the elements, respect your feelings (fear, uncertainty, stoke). Also a little more tangible: Invest in proper equipment like a beacon, shovel and probe, and learn how to use them by taking an avalanche course, skiing with experienced people and experimenting on your own. This is something I care deeply about so I could write a novel, but I’ll just say that. And, be smart.
How have you seen the sport open up to women over time?
The sport itself has always been open to men and women equally. There are certainly more products designed specifically for women now, and I am seeing more and more women-specific clinics, retreats, trips, etc. So that’s encouraging. The more women get into the sport, the more kids will too, therefore encouraging sustainability and longevity, so I personally encourage and support anything that focuses on women in skiing.
Do you have any tips for beginning skiers, especially adults trying it out for the first time?
Make sure you are comfortable! Don’t let people talk you into boots that don’t fit, and make sure you have the proper equipment (warm clothes, proper eyewear, layers, hand warmers). Skiing can be cold and uncomfortable; anything you can do to at least set that up for success, do it. The physical part will fall into place naturally. Then, love will occur. Oh, and make sure there’s a hot tub for you to soak in afterwards.
Tell us about your favorite slopes in Colorado. Any secret spots? What makes them stand out?
I ski at Loveland most of the time when I’m at an area in Colorado. I learned to ski there and have always loved and appreciated the local feel and terrain that it has to offer. I have a bunch of secret spots that I like to go for backcountry, but I’ll keep those to myself for now…
Does Icelantic help advocate for protecting/maintaining Colorado’s mountains?
Absolutely! We’ve partnered with Conservation Colorado starting this year. CC is an amazing organization that promotes conservation, education and stewardship of Colorado’s public lands and wild places. This is our home and we are passionate about preserving all of the magic that it has to offer.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Colorado is a very special place, for many reasons. The main message I want to share is that this is home to many things — people, plants, animals, industries, air, rivers, the whole lot — and all of these things are interconnected and dependent on the health of the entire system. Remember this as you embark on adventures in the wild and respect the life that exists in all aspects.