4FRNT Skis understands what freeride skiers want in their planks – and not just because they occasionally check in with their sponsored athletes. At 4FRNT, the Founder, Marketing Manager, Team Manager and Production lead are themselves either current or former pro athletes. Also, under the rider-owned model, big-name freeriders are offered a piece of ownership in the company in exchange for their help designing a new shape of skis. “We want to always be recognized for utilizing our athletes in the truest form, and by doing so, be at the forefront of the emerging trends in skiing,” said Founder Matt Sterbenz.
The brand got its start in 2002 as the antithesis to the European ski racing brands then dominating the scene. No spandex jumpsuits or flat skis here. 4FRNT’s philosophy on ski making revolves around shape. “Every mountain has a bounty of enjoyment waiting for you, and what’s limiting your satisfaction and creativity in your environment is the shape of the ski you’re on,” Sterbenz said. “We want to approach the sport with a mindset of ‘shaping’ skiing.”
Under the rider-owned model, big-name freeriders are offered a piece of ownership in the company in exchange for their help designing a new shape of skis.
4FRNT’s on-site manufacturing facility allows them to develop the ski shape in-house, test it out in their local Wasatch Mountains, and then, depending on consumer demand, produce locally or send it overseas for replication. Of late, 4FRNT has focused on the backcountry market, working to develop skis that work just as hard on the uphill as they do on the down.
“Our focus has been slowly but surely evolving to be less about the mechanical side of skiing and more into the purity of the human-powered side. As our athletes have gotten older, we’ve begun developing new product lines that are more weight-conscious and versatile in terms of ski touring, while also offering what skiers have loved about our products’ downhill experience.”
So why come to Outdoor Retailer and not the mega ski/ride Snowsports Industries America Show?
4FRNT is going after new customers, retailers who are open to carrying a smaller, independent ski manufacturer, not just the Rossignols and Heads of the world. “OR represents a broader scope of the retail opportunity and the emphasis we have as a brand is very much about the growth of the sport – and that’s freeride and freeride touring,” Sterbenz said.
— Photos courtesy 4FRNT Skis
Courtney Holden is pretty sure she has the best job ever. Thanks in large part to a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado JournalismSchool and an internship with Backpacker Magazine, she somehow weaseled her way into the outdoor industry’s cohort of journalists.Courtney now fulfills her dream of hiking, biking, running and skiing – and writing about it.