20 Questions: Jason Levinthal, J Skis — Part 2


Jason: A ski is just a pile of epoxy and wood. The only thing that’s magical is the knowledge, the years of experience put into it, messing up, figuring out what worked and what didn’t. And then just spinning the formula—putting a little more cinnamon and little more sugar, the tweak on all the stuff I’ve learned.

If you tried starting from scratch today to make a ski? Yeah, that’s crazy impossible. But I’m not doing that. And nobody I’m working with is. I’m only working with the absolute best people, the best I’ve ever worked with. That’s who I’ve brought in on this. So we’re going to move mountains and we’re going to make it look like we’re doing this on the fly.

Come to the factory some day with me and you’ll see the whole thing, how we do it. I want to get way beyond just showing up at a store and seeing a product in a bag. I want to get everyone involved. Anyone who wants to start a ski company? This is the closest you’ll ever be to doing that, once I get going here.

Jason levinthal, Blister gear Review.

JE: Some of what I’ve been reading and seeing about the new venture, has felt pretty loosey-goosey. When you’re talking about the flexibility you want to have at the foundation of J Skis, that makes sense. But admittedly, I was a little worried because building good stuff is hard and does take a lot of expertise and the right people and a lot of work and energy, and so I’m glad to hear you talk about the expertise part. The “We’re only working with the best” part. Because if I’m going to give you money for skis, that’s what I want to hear.

Jason: We’re actually going to go do that right now, because I realize that’s what’s missing. So far I’ll I’ve put out is image, but we need to show the backstory.

JE: Cool. Because if it’s true that you’re working with great people to get this stuff done, and you’ve got these ideas about going direct, cutting out the fat, etc., that’s great. But I think there’s a danger of having people translating that as “So wait, what you’re saying is that you’re cutting corners?”

Jason: No no no, just operationally. Streamlining operationally. Trim the bullshit, but don’t cut corners on production.

JE: Switching topics, what about [Eric] Pollard? Is he going to be weighing in on any of this?

Jason: Eric is a great friend, forever. We’re connected at the hip in the way we think, but he’s got a great thing going at LINE—whatever he comes up with, LINE is game for, and that’s rare. All his ideas are applied, in all the skis we made, not just his. So I want what’s best for him and for LINE, and him sticking with it is great. I think that relationship is going to continue forever.

JE: Okay, let’s end on a random question: music. How big is the music thing for you personally, and what you’re listening to?

Jason: I’m not actually a huge music person, but when I’m writing or creating, I need to be able to think, and I also want to listen to music. So I listen to reggae — I love reggae, the whole culture. And that music I can play and I can write and I can create.

That’s why with LINE, I always had some model that had rasta colors. And you know, some people love it, and some people hate the rasta theme. But if you have enough product, there’s always room to put it somewhere.

If you look back you’ll see—there’s always some gear or clothing with the colors.

4 comments on “20 Questions: Jason Levinthal, J Skis — Part 2”

  1. You guys should definitely collaborate with J on a ski!

    A few reasons include:
    1. You have a loyal following of readers who would definitely be interested in a ski you guys worked on.
    2. Great publicity for your site.
    3. Designing and collaborating on the ski would make great posts for your site.
    4. I’d imagine working on a ski would be a very educational process and provide you with some new perspectives and improve your already great reviews.
    5. But who would review your own ski? I trust you guys to give an honest review of your own ski, but I just might have a fun idea. You could hold a contest and the winner gets their own Blister/JSki and they get to post a blister style review of it on your site. Either that, or just let me review them ;)

    Either way, great interview, and I hope you guys get a chance to review a pair of J skis.

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