Sunday Funday: Kamp K2 Re-Cap
Welcome to K2 Global Headquarters
Roy Tuscany and Adam Baillargeon of the High Fives Foundation were invited to attend Kamp K2 (May 17-20, 2013). The weekend was designed to reward top K2 sales retailers and various contest winners with a trip to the K2 Global Headquarters in Seattle, WA followed by a few days on the snow testing next year’s K2 Skis at Crystal Mountain, WA (so, we’re not sure why we got the invite…). On Friday, May 17 the group of lucky attendees congregated at the Sea-Tac airport and boarded tour buses for a pit stop at K2 en-route to Crystal Mountain.
The K2 Global Headquarters is a unique snap-shot of American ski history. An expansive facility that seems to stretch for miles, this place is impressive to say the least. Mike Powell (US Marketing Manager for K2 Ski, Snowboard and Skate) lead the group into the facility with his ever-present, quick-wit and sense of sarcastic humor. “The only really important things on this tour today are the cool people in marketing and the ski manufacturingtesting factory. Everything else is just boring.” exclaimed Powell as we were brought into the brain center of K2. With a Coors Light sponsorship on tap for this year, the group mingled at the K2 lounge (in the marketing office) and successfully interrupted the work-flow of the K2 Skismarketing and design teams while sampling cold beverages. No one seemed to care too much since it was a Friday afternoon and even though the ski industry is a tough business, this company knows how to unwind and have fun!
Shane McConkey’s “Thinking Cap”
Jeff Mechura (Vice President of Global Marketing at K2 Sports) then lead an amazing tour of the facilities in which all cameras were asked to be kept off due to the proprietary nature of the inner goings on at K2. The amount of research and development that is put into every product designed is impressive to say the least. From the “tools” that are designed for each specific ski shape to the testing methods in place to ensure performance and quality, the folks at K2 take engineering seriously. The ice was broken (pun intended) when the group was brought into the freezer in which snow sports equipment is tested under sub-zero conditions and each person on the tour was asked to say their name and where they were from. This painstakingly long process allowed for everyone to get to know each other while beginning to understand Mechura’s sense of humor as he tried to keep us in the freezer to the point of group mutiny.
Shane McConkey’s Pontoon Ski and Early Creation of a Reverse Camber Ski
The collection of ski artifacts, equipment, past markering campaigns and K2 athlete memorabilia adorning the walls and desks at K2 is out of hand. From helmets and reverse camber prototypes from the late, legend Shane McConkey to the orignal artwork from the Public Enemy ski, the eye candy at K2 is awesome. After a delicious catered dinner from the Seattle food truck and catering company, Marination, the satiated group boarded the tour buses again for the two hour trek to Crystal Mountain and the beginning of Kamp K2.
Master of Ceremonies – Mike Powell
After a bus ride filled with ski/board movies and scenic views, everyone was fired up to get into the mix of Kamp K2. Rooms at the Silver Skis lodge were assigned and then the groups were given schedules and the invitation to enjoy more Jack Links beef jerky (another K2 Sports sponsor) than we could handle. The welcome party on Friday night brought us under the circus tent in the parking lot at Cyrstal Mountain with a great anticipation of the assigned teams earning their respective names on the famous Kirschner Cup (named after the founders of K2 Skis). The franken-trophy consisted of a keg with a silver cup attached to the top resembles the Stanley Cup (of the NHL) but, instead of the team members of professional hockey players chiseled on the side of it a list of pro-skiers and industry types plastered the side. Needless to say, everyone immediately began trash talking and sizing each other up for the ensuing competitions.
The Coveted Kirschner Cup
The schedule for both Saturday and Sunday consisted of: breakfast > shred (demo next year’s K2 Skis and Snowboards) > lunch > shred > apres (with Coors Light) > chill (movie time in the rooms) > team competitions (think “college”) > entertainment (DJ Mullet on Saturday night and a mechanical bull on Sunday night). Although the weather and snow weren’t the best at Crystal Mountain during our stay, it was an honor to be able to test out next year’s equipment with legendary characters like Ryan Schmies (Senior Graphic Designer | Ski Marketing at K2) and Andy Mahre (K2 Skis Factory Team Rider).
The Silver Springs Lodge at Crystal Mountain Resort
The weekend of skiing, great food and college style competitions concluded on Sunday night with Team Slayblade (Nicko Ferguson, Cameron Sparough, Sean Tankersley, Nick Dirks, Mike Powell, Dan Mohr, Mike Dawson, Aaron Mathers and Zach Doleac) taking top honors and earning their place on the Kirschner Cup. Everyone “high fived” and parted ways on Monday morning after a weekend of memories and good times were had by all. Thank you to Crystal Mountain Resort, Coors Light and the entire K2 staff, especially Mike Powell and Alyssa Clark for organizing and running an awesome event.