The first time I saw a Skida product was when I came back to my hometown in Maine after college to coach the middle school nordic ski team for the winter.
When I had been on the team myself, Swix hats with flags from different Scandinavian countries had been all the rage, but upon arriving at my first practice as coach I quickly realized the trends had changed drastically since 2004. Nearly all of the girls on my team were sporting stretchy, brightly colored hats and headbands with a black snowflaked “Skida” label across the front of them.
I immediately wanted one for myself, not just to maintain trail cred with the girls on my team, but also because they were ridiculously awesome hats and headbands emblazoned with fun designs and crafted from a material that looked perfect for working up a sweat in the winter. After purchasing my first Skida hat a few weeks into the 2012-2013 ski season, I was hooked. It became my go-to adventure companion for nordic skiing, trail running, and winter hiking.
I recently caught up with Corinne Prevot, the founder of Skida, to hear a little more about the homegrown business keeping the heads of everyone from middle school girls to professional athletes warm and stylish.
Tell us a little about the beginnings of Skida.
On nothing more than a creative impulse, I made the very first Skida hats in 2008, as a high school nordic ski racer at Burke Mountain Academy. It was my second season of ski racing, so I was relatively new to the nordic ski world. But, with the support of my family, friends, and teammates in the New England ski community, the business has snowballed into a flourishing operation. Each community that I have been a part of since those days of high school competitive skiing – East Burke, Middlebury College, Sun Valley, Burlington – has welcomed and supported Skida in endless ways.
What sets Skida apart from other outdoor apparel companies?
We certainly are a unique company. From our many bold prints and colors, to the awesome women behind our products, the way we operate the business sets us apart from other apparel companies.
Tell us a little about Team Skida–who are the women behind the hats and headbands?
The team is the best part – and we wear a lot of hats! In the beginning it was me and my mom. She’s a rockstar who can handle anything that comes her way – it was a great dynamic. As I started college, we began working with a network of seamstresses in northeast Vermont. In the summer of 2013, we moved into an office space in Burlington, Vermont and six months later hired my childhood ski buddy and Lafayette College grad, Caitlin Mitchell, to spearhead our snowballing wholesale business. As things began to pick up again this past fall, we found Sarah Micioni, a snowboarder (woah!) and recent graduate of Saint Michael’s College in nearby Winooski to take on customer service and our growing e-commerce biz. Naturally, everyone’s roles have shaped and evolved as the business continues to move and shake with each season. We are so fortunate to have a team of fabulously smart, passionate, young women in the office, as well as talented, hardworking seamstresses behind the scenes.
What was the greatest challenge in getting Skida off the ground?
Getting Skida off the ground took several years of plugging away and seeing the work pay off on the ground level. Growing a business organically, from the ground up, takes patience. Today, with a kick-tush team and a supportive, growing community behind our brand, it always seems to feel like there’s never enough time in the day to do all the things on our to-do lists. Now, the challenge is to be patient and diligent in the work we’re doing, so as to do it well and make time to do all the things we want to do. That goes for both work and play!!
Tell us a little about the process of making a Skida product and how local production/the community in Vermont are important factors in that.
The making of a Skida hat has evolved from a kitchen table project to a nation-wide process. Today, our fabrics ship domestically (LA, Mass, & NYC) to get cut in New Hampshire, and are stitched in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. One of my favorite aspects of production is the fabric printing in LA. It all goes down on a big machine with rollers and a lot of steam that transfers colorful prints from a parchment-like paper to our poly-lycra fabric. Magic!
Rockstar professional skiers like Caroline Gleich are wearing Skida products. Was this kind of renown in your mind when you started making hats?
I really started making hats for my friends – and myself I suppose. I’ve always wanted to see people that I admire wearing Skida. In 2012, I stumbled upon Caroline in a ski magazine and was so impressed to find a lady-athlete with such a happy, enthusiastic vibe and style. I thought Skida would be perfect for all her mountain adventures! I was so excited to catch her at SIA (Snowsports Industry America) last year, and even more hyped when she followed up after the show. Now it’s so fun to see her rocking Skida on her adventures. I get chills when Skida hats and headbands pop up. Whether on the mountain, in the grocery store, or about town, it still gives me butterflies when I see people – anyone – wearing Skida!
What message does Skida want to send to women and girls?
I suppose it’s cliché, but honestly – pursue what you love, and have fun doing it. Strive to live a blissful and happy life.
What is your outdoor activity of choice?
Ski, bike, walk, be in the sun.
What is your favorite Skida product and why?
What is your vision for Skida going forward?
My vision is part of my everyday. I see sustained, thoughtful growth and enjoying every step of the way.