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Ken Block and his Subaru Impreza WRX STI Showing Everyone Up

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Ken Block Co-Owner of DC Shoes was featured in this months December issue of Snowboarder Magazine, Check out the Press Release. *Read all the way at the bottom we added in a video of Ken busting a 170 foot gap in the desert.

SUBARU DRIVER KEN BLOCK FEATURED JUMPING HIS RALLY CAR ON THE COVER OF SNOWBOARDER MAGAZINE AND IN THE NEW DC SNOWBOARD VIDEO

Snowboarder Magazine Cover Dec. 2007

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block and his Monster Energy Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car have landed on the cover of the December issue of Snowboarder Magazine, hitting newsstands this week. The cover shot features Block getting airborne in his Subaru at New Zealand’s Snow Park Resort with DC Shoes pro-snowboarder Torstein Hargmo flying alongside the car on his snowboard.

Block, an avid snowboarder and co-founder of DC Shoes, recently brought his Subaru to the snowboard park at New Zealand’s Snow Park Resort to join the DC Snowboard Team for a multi-day session that combined filming, snowboarding, and driving for a unique experience captured for DC’s second full-length snowboarding video, Mtn.Lab 1.5. Along with the cover shot there is a multi-page feature full of photos from the session and a double sided pull-out poster featuring two more photos of Block’s rally car catching air in the park.

Rally Car Snowboard Jump

Block had the impetus for hitting the snow with his Subaru rally car after successfully jumping it 171 ft. for the Discovery Channel show Stunt Junkies late in 2006. After several attempts to set up a snow jump in the USA, the opportunity came together in New Zealand and Ken Block joined the DC Snowboard team as they filmed at Snow Park Resort in New Zealand’s South Island.

“After I completed the Stunt Junkies jump last winter, I started kicking around the idea of trying a jump out on the snow,” explained Block. “I’ve been a snowboarder for a long time and have loved driving in the snow since I first got behind the wheel. It was always a dream of mine to take a rally car to a ski resort and really see what I could do with it. I started talking with Mtn.Lab 1.5 Director Pierre Wikberg and some of the guys from the DC Snow Team and we decided to film it for the snow video and see what would come out of the idea.”

Tow

Block and the team of DC snowboarders filmed together in the Snow Park Resort’s main park on several obstacles and the crew built a 55ft tow-in kicker on flat ground to create a unique playground for the rally car and snowboarders alike. Block towed the snowboarders into several park obstacles behind his Monster Energy Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car which was equipped with spiked ice tires from BFGoodrich Tires. Block then successfully jumped his car over 70 feet, with the snowboarders jumping beside him, creating epic photo sequences, one of which is featured on the cover of Snowboarder Magazine.

Night Jump

“All in all I’m really stoked on how well it went,” said Ken. “In all the experiences I’ve ever had, it truly was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.”

Video of the entire rally car/snowboarder session will be featured in DC’s Mtn.Lab 1.5 set to release on DVD early November 2007. Additional video clips will also appear in Travis Pastrana’s next DVD, Nitro Circus 5 ‘Thrillbillies’, which will release in late November 2007.

DC Snowboard Team

Here is a link to a brief history of DC as well as the Team Riders Section of Subaru

Video Ken Block 170 ft Gap

YouTube Preview Image

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Bluehouse practically giving away skis

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Blue House We had a tip about a crazy sale for all you ski junkies out there. A new home-grown, Utah-based ski company is launching a pre-season sale. With 9 days to go, we wanted to let you know so you could pre-register and score some great looking skis with flexible bamboo cores to satisfy your winter sessions. Interested in the sale and the company, we had an interview with Jared Richards, co-owner of BlueHouse:

5ones: We caught wind of your September 1 – September 14 pre-season sale. We think it is a great way to get your products on the mountain, but is it really wise for such a young company to basically give its skis away?

Bluehouse: Well our motivation for the company is a bit different from that of some of the larger corporate players. First, we don’t have to play by the same rules as many other companies in the industry since we are a private company operating on paychecks from each of our other jobs. We don’t have a huge financial backer that we have to please, so we really get to take this company in the direction we want. We created Bluehouse to produce skis lines in which skiers especially on a local level in Utah and neighboring states can have serious input into the designs and ultimate outcome of our skis. We want personal interaction with those on our products. We care more about people enjoying our products than we do about raking in loads of cash, so long as the money we do take in will allow us to cover our costs in addition to expanding our R&D and product lines. We have done our homework though and believe that based on the sale price we will be able to at least break even. We plan to continue to provide well designed and durable products at a reasonable cost even after the sale. The sale was conceived as a way to show our appreciation for those who believe in Bluehouse early on and to give many of those people how could not otherwise afford a new pair a chance to ride them, work them hard, and then let us know what they think. For us, we thought this a much superior method to providing demo days across the world.

5ones: Recently there has been a lot of news unveiling shoddy workmanship from Chinese manufacturers. How can Bluehouse sure that the same will not be said of its products?

Bluehouse: Although there are so many factors that will determine the overall outcome of a product, we are convinced that our manufacturing partner is competent, socially responsible, and is mature enough to prevent foreseeable defects. For starters, our Chinese manufacturer has been around for quite a while producing products in the snow sports industry most significantly snowboards. Furthermore, together with our manufacturing partner we provide quality controls at several levels beginning with the selection of materials, then after production, before finishing, and finally before shipping. Products we find unacceptable will not be delivered to our customers, even if that means us losing a sale. Furthermore, a Bluehouse representative personally visited the manufacturing facility to oversee some production, as well as to insure that the plant complied with labor and environmental laws and acceptable practices.

That said, we are very interested to see how our products hold up after 100 days of use. Although Adam and I skied on the Bluehouse prototypes last year, we know that there are lots of skiers out there with different styles and who put more time on their skis and can really put the skis to the test.

5ones: We understand that you recently had a group test your skis in Chile. How did that turn out?

Bluehouse: Yeah. Shane hooked up went with a few decent skiers, took our full ski fleet, and got a few reviews from a variety of skiers.

They went to Portillo and the ski conditions were mediocre while they were there. Especially since our skis are designed primarily for Utah conditions. The snow was either hard-pack, groomed, or slushy. They managed to find a few soft turns nonetheless. Regardless, we got a few people’s unbiased opinions about the skis.

5ones: Let’s talk about the skiers’ responses to the park skis first. What was the overall feeling about the MRs?

Bluehouse: Well, Shane was very clear with the skiers to tell him everything they thought, even if there was something they didn’t like. In spite of that, we got very little negative feedback about the MRs. It was everything they expected in a park ski. Basically, our testers raved the MRs flexibility and light weight. They felt great maneuverability and a lot of dampening on landings, although jumping was minimal with the conditions. Shane rode each of the skis for the first time as well. He was most impressed with the MRs for the way they handled the crud at fast speeds.

5ones: What about the Districts?

Bluehouse: The Districts are a little more complex and the reviews were more mixed. We had one rider who loved them from the moment he clicked in. He couldn’t get enough of them and made offers to buy our demo pair on the spot. He liked the bamboo performance. He spoke of enjoying the soft flex while stomping mediocre landings and floating through somewhat soft turns. He was also pleasantly surprised how well they held an edge at high speeds despite the way they hand flex. He never felt chatter from the charge. Then we had another skier who only took a few runs and wanted to switch out. He felt like they were too soft. I personally think it takes a few runs to adjust to the bamboo flex. When you learn to trust it, it provides a nice experience. Chile was Shane’s first time on the skis. He felt that they were soft until he learned to ski them after a couple of runs. After adjustment he was pumped on them. Shane rode them mounted at both traditional and more center-mounted settings and found the ride superior at the traditional mount.

5ones: So how do you feel about the upcoming season and Bluehouse skis?

Bluehouse: I think as long as we’re honest with our customers and the ski community, we’ll achieve our goal. That is to be a ski company for the ski community. This is our first year. Our company identity and product line are far from established. I’m excited to see the renditions, advancements, and additions we’ll make from this year to next and then the next. As far as we’re concerned, it’s all about what our skiers will want.

To register and to be notified for the pre-season sale, visit www.bluehouseskis.com.

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Rage Films Partners with The Ski Channel

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Ski filmmaker, Rage Films, has signed a deal with The Ski Channel to distribute both exclusive and non-exclusive content through Time Warner Cable’s Video on Demand service. In addition, the deal includes an investment from The Ski Channel into Rage Films with the option to buy the company outright at a future date. They will also be a major sponsor on the yearly Rage Film Tour.

Congrats to Rage Films. While they’re aren’t quite on the same level as say Poorboyz or MSP, they’ve consistently produced some of the sickest ski films year in and year out and deserve the success they’re having. This gives them a great opportunity to expand outside their usual audience onto the biggest media platform imaginable, the TV.

It will be great for the sport of skiing as well; aside from Fuel TV most channels only show oldschool skiing that is quite frankly very lame and makes the sport look ridiculous. Now when you tell someone you’re a skier maybe, just maybe they won’t have that stereotypical racer in neon spandex cruising down the groomers pictured in their mind. Skiing has come a long way in the last 10 years and no longer deserves the gaper stereotype.

I can only hope this turns into the a nice liquidity event for them later down the road and I’m expecting big things out of Rage with the new capital infusion. I have included the trailer from their latest flick, Enjoy, for your viewing pleasure… Enjoy.

Posted in Brands, Snow | No Comments »

Artec Snowboards Launches

Friday, August 10th, 2007

The Artec Project, once a sub-series of Elan Snowboards, is now being announced as an independent snowboard company simply called Artec Snowboards. Originally conceived in 2004, The Artec Project has picked up several awards in recognition of innovative triumphs including the patented Omega Sidecut and Artec Blueprint.

The ‘08 collection will be available this fall featuring 8 different models for freestyle riders. There will be two pro model series for Artec riders Gabe Taylor and Laura Hadar. The rest of the Artec pro team consists of Nima Jalali, Jake Devine, Gus Engle and Johnny Miller. Not exactly the all-start team found in companies like Burton but not a horrible team either. I should mention that we’d never expect an all-star team from a startup though. Not only do they not have funds to support it but often times the top-notch riders don’t want their names associated with an unproven brand.

Elan has never really achieved a high level of success with either snowboarding or skiing. Their products have always been sub-par and often times associated with the ‘barney’ image. It will be interesting to see if Artec can breakaway from those stereotypes and become a core brand. The company currently has no website but says one will be available in September at http://www.artecsnowboards.com.

Artec Snowboards

Posted in Brands, Snow | 1 Comment »

Will Quiksilver Sell Rossignol?

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

RossignolI’ve been hearing a lot of rumors and speculations lately that Quiksilver is looking to dump Rossignol, the ski company they purchased in March of ‘05 for just over $300 million. That doesn’t really come as much surprise seeing that Rossignol posted their first loss in 15 years under Quiksilver’s management. Not to mention that Rossignol doesn’t fit into the Quiksilver culture either.

In my opinion, this purchase was never going to be a good fit. Like I just mentioned, Rossignol just isn’t a company that fits into the lifestyle culture of Quiksilver. While they actually make some of the best skis out there, the company’s roots are just too deeply tied into ski racing. If Quiksilver wants to get into the ski game they should acquire a smaller company that’s core in the freestyle sector, someone like Line Skis would be perfect.

Although a much smaller company, Line fits perfectly right in with the action sports lifestyle. The company is breed on freestyle and has been a major factor in the innovation of skiing’s comback since the mid ’90s. They’ve been at the forefront with freestyle ski technology and have consistently sponsored and supported some of the sickest athletes in the industry. And although some years their products weren’t exactly the best constructed, that’s something Quiksilver could bring to the table which would help Line to the next level.

It’s obvious Quiksilver didn’t really understand the industry they were getting into. One doesn’t need to look any further for proof than the $4.8 million loss they posted in comparison to $3.7 million in profit the year before. The ski community would’ve responded better to Quiksilver’s entrance into the sport through a core company like Line and Quiksilver’s culture should never include ski racing.

Sources close in the company are saying that three different offers are on the table for Rossignol. They are also independent rumors that they’ll just dump a few of the companies under Rossignol such as Dynastar, Look and Lange. So what do you think? Should Quiksilver dump Rossignol?

Quiksilver
Rossignol

Posted in Brands, Snow | 6 Comments »

2007 Ski Movie Trailers

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

The last thing most people are thinking about in July is snow. But if you’re a nut like we are then you always have that thought of snow on your mind. And the only thing many of us have to keep us from going into withdrawals is our ski porn collections. That and the anticipation of all the new flicks that come out every fall from the legends like PBP, MSP, and TGR.

Guess what? You can now catch a sneak peak for most of these flicks over on Freeskier Magazine’s website. They have a new video player that’s pretty slick with most of this year’s trailers. You can view all the trailers on one pop-up window in full screen. You can even download the trailers right to your iPod if you’d rather.

I’m already stoked for fall!

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