High Society Freeride aims to be more than just a ski company
High Society isn’t just a ski and snowboard manufacturer. The Aspen, Colorado based company would prefer to call itself a lifestyle brand than be pigeon holed as just a builder of skis and snowboards.
“We started the company originally because we were snowboarders and we were skiers, we liked to do both, and we wanted to make products that we could all use,” says Reggie Charles, owner of High Society. “But, when we get into the summertime, everyone’s out riding bikes, it doesn’t stop with the snow. It’s more of a lifestyle than just a ski and snowboard company, there are the products that we make to sustain the business, but the lifestyle is the most important thing for us as a group.”
High Society began back in 2003, with roots (loosely) overlapping with the 1993 film Aspen Extreme. Like Dexter Rutecki and T.J. Burke, Charles and co-founder Jason Flynn, moved from the mean streets of the midwestern United States to Aspen, in hopes of finding deep snow, luxurious digs, and beautiful women. It also turns out that Charles’ first landlord in Aspen was none other than E.J. Foerster, the second unit director for Aspen Extreme.
“When he learned that I was one of the High Society guys, he asked if there was a way that he could get involved,” says Charles. “He’s been a partner of ours for almost eight years now. The cool thing about that movie is that the guys in it doing the stunts are all Aspen locals. It’s really cool to see the community involvement.”
The ski centric community of Aspen provides the perfect backdrop for High Society. With four separate ski resorts at its disposal, all consisting of unique, varied terrain, High Society can count on its products being tested in conditions specific to the envisioned use of the product. The company can also depend on the people of Aspen to ski the products how they’re meant to be ridden.
Photo courtesy of High Society.
“When we started, a lot of people were unsure that a little company could make a quality product,” says Charles. “But, the people here in Aspen, gave us tremendous support, bought the product, went and tested the product, and being here you have four mountains to choose from. Every model we’ve made over the years is the level of quality that it is because it’s tested here by people that ride hard. If it can perform here for the people that live here, it can perform for anybody.”
The wants and needs of the typical Aspen skier, a local not a visitor, also happens to be the targeted demographic of the brand.
“People want something a little more unique, they don’t want the same thing as all of their friends, and they don’t want to be on the lift using the same product as everybody else. They don’t want to sacrifice any quality in the process,” says Charles. “We’ve been able to pick up lots of new followers based on the fact that our artwork is all done individually, we use a lot of Colorado artists. Also, every piece is designed specifically for who that target person would be and then obviously we press everything at Never Summer [Industries], so the quality, the durability, the level of performance, and hand craftsmanship is kind of unmatched.”
The industry is taking notice of High Society; aside from garnering a trio of Editor’s Picks in Freeskier’s 2014 Buyer’s Guide thanks to the performance of the FR, Powchickawowwow Dual Rocker and Powchickawowow, High Society ambassadors are also topping podiums, most recently the Thanksjibbing Invitational at Aspen/Snowmass. High Society athlete Charlie Lasser took home first place at the annual slopestyle invitational held over the Thanksgiving holiday. Given the brand’s success over its first decade, High Society recently ran a promotion to give back to those that have supported over the years. 100 pairs of skis were made available to the public for $399 with free shipping.
High Society team rider Charlie Lasser wins the Thanksjibbing event at Aspen/Snowmass.
“We originally wanted to do a thank you to our original customer base but also give an opportunity to all of those people that have been thinking about it or on the fence, to give them a reason to learn what we’re about,” says Charles. “Most of our customers that end up buying a ski or snowboard are repeat customers, we usually hold on to them, a lot of the people that bought our first year still buy. We really try to build that relationship with our customer and take really good care of them.”
About the author:
Donny O'Neill hails from the mystical, faraway land of New Hartford, CT. When he's not in the mountains searching for Big Foot, he's the Associate Editor here at Freeskier.