Many of you can remember when Burton brands anon. and R.E.D. were a dominant force in skiing. TJ Schiller, Eric Pollard and Michelle Parker, among other big name athletes, were featured in anon and R.E.D. print advertisements, rocked the gear in some of the more popular videos of the day, topped podiums standing there with anon. and R.E.D. stickers plastered everywhere, etc. Then, as quickly as these brands had come onto the scene, they pulled away from the skiing and focused their energy on snowboarding. Years later, anon. has announced it is absorbing R.E.D. and is re-committed to skiing, sponsoring a handful of world-class athletes—Eric Pollard, Michelle Parker, McRae Williams and Karl Fostvedt—advertising with ski media, collaborating on ski film projects and unveiling some tech products.
We spoke with anon.’s global brand director, Randy Torcom, as well as anon.’s four athletes to discuss the company’s return to skiing. We also got our hands on some of the new products for 2013/14, reviewed toward the bottom of this page.
FS: anon. entered the ski space in 2006 and then disengaged in 2008. I can remember riders like Pollard, Parker, and Schiller sporting the goggles. These athletes and the brand had a big presence back then. Why the absence of late? What spurred the return to skiing?
Torcom: All brands go through stages of evolution, and anon. is no exception. Timing is everything, and for anon. and its founder Burton, it became clear in 2008 that we just weren’t there as a brand or a company, to give freeskiing the appropriate focus.
But fast forward to 2013 and things are a lot different. To start, the entire winter sports industry has evolved so much in the past few years, and freeskiing has really progressed as a sport and lifestyle. In addition, the products anon. will offer in 2013—goggles and helmets—have also evolved a ton, and are now ideal for all winter sports. Basically, with the arsenal of technologies we’re bringing to the game (aka Magna-Tech), we want everyone who shares our passion for the mountains to feel like they can be a part of what anon. has to offer. So for all these reasons, the time is right for anon. to step up our commitment to freeskiing again, and we’re extremely proud of the investments we’re making.
FS: How will anon. position itself among its competitors?
Torcom:We’ve got some great things going on in regards to team riders and film sponsorships, but our primary edge with competition will come from the product offering. The 2014 line marks the debut of our extensive helmet offering (89 different models total, including various colorways) and in addition, we’ll be building on the success of our Magna-Tech story with the sequel to the M1 goggle, the M2. The A2 Collection is another standout as we believe there’s a big opportunity with how brands are telling the goggle to helmet integration story. There’s no doubt that technical features are key components to legitimate integration, but for anon., it’s more than just ventilation and seamless fit. To us, integration is about delivering the ultimate combinations of both style and tech.
anon. 2014: The A2 Collection
FS: Can we hear anything about the film projects yet, or is that information sealed away in a pamphlet marked “Top Secret?”
Torcom: We’ll be supporting Pollard and his Nimbus Independent project. Beyond that, we have yet to confirm anything concrete but we’ll definitely be exploring opportunities that will best support our team riders.
FS: Eric and Michelle, you were both anon. athletes in the past. What brings you back?
Pollard: Personally, the product is what brings me back. I choose to promote brands that create products that I genuinely back. anon. has the best goggles I’ve ever used, and they’re constantly trying to outdo themselves.
Michelle: I had a great relationship with anon. They brought me in for product design and feedback, supported whatever direction I wanted to take my skiing career, and most importantly I felt as though they involved me on a deeper level than just being another athlete on the team. That’s really important to me; I like to work with companies that use the team for more than just advertising. When I was approached this fall by Randy, whom I’ve worked with in the past, I was excited to be talking to him. Randy is someone who I’ve had a great relationship with, and talking to him about the direction they’re taking the brand really made me want to be a part of the team again.
anon. 2014: M2 Goggle – Landvik vs. Pollard
FS: Having worked with this brand previously, will that affect the way you work with anon. and its initiatives going forward, or do you feel like you have a clean slate?
Pollard: I was honored to have been asked to ski for an otherwise snowboard brand the first time around, and likewise, this time around I was honored to get the call. It comes down to supporting companies you want to see succeed. I want anon. to do well in skiing, and the fact that they see skiing as something worth supporting is huge. Every skier should pat themselves on the back and know we are taking skiing in a good direction.
Michelle:I feel like I have a clean slate. It’s a new direction and this time anon. is doing it in a much more polished way. It feels flawless to be working with people and a company that I have previously worked with. They are a passionate company, and I am a passionate athlete, so we are both driven because of that. I don’t have a chip on my shoulder, I am more just happy to have anon. getting back into skiing and supporting the ski industry in a positive way.
FS: McRae, Karl, you guys are among the dominant skiers in the Utah scene right now. What turned you on to anon.?
McRae: Well, over the past couple years it has been difficult for me to lock down a legit goggle deal. Some companies I have worked with in the past have teams so big they can’t even seem to keep track of anyone. I have searched for the perfect goggle sponsor, a company that is willing to support their team to the best of their ability, and finally this year I was able to make it happen. I heard anon. was making a return to the ski industry, so I reached out to Randy. He was stoked on my interest, and before I knew it we had an offer on the table that I couldn’t have been more stoked on.
Karl: I’m stoked to be working with anon. because they’re bringing new energy into the ski scene. There are a lot of boundaries in freeskiing that have yet to be pushed. anon. is a sick company to ride for because they want to see freeskiing progress in the right directions. anon. has teamed up with an all-time crew of skiers, and I can’t wait to be a part of the progression that will take place with their support. It is a huge honor to be on a team with the likes of McRae, Michelle, and Pollard.
For 2013/14, anon. is unveiling loads of new products, of which the A2 Collection and the M2 goggle are most relevant to you. Here’s the scoop:
The A2 Collection is all about integration. Helmets and goggles paired together for optimal style, fit, and airflow.
Left: Nelson Helmet (Legion) with M2 goggle (Legion).
Many skiers today spend time mixing and matching gear based on color and overall look. With the new A2 collection, anon. makes things easy: for each respective helmet/goggle combination, artwork on the helmet matches artwork on the goggles.
While these helmet/goggle kits are certainly something to keep an eye out for this fall, it is the M2 goggle in itself that really blew us away. The M2 bares resemblance to its predecessor, the M1, but has a few minor differences: The frame is 3mm taller, and sports a clean, rimless look. Also, eight magnets around the frame hold the lens in place—when conditions turn and you need to swap your lens, a quick twist of the frame releases it. And here’s the kicker: To pop the new lens into place, you can literally throw the lens toward the frame, and the magnets lock the lens into position. We’ve been having a grand ol’ time doing this around the office the past few days.
The anon. M2: Legion frame with Red Solex lens.
We’re always excited to get an early look at the newest products in the game. And speaking of which, the 2013 SIA Snow Show in Denver is right around the corner. Be prepared for an onslaught of coverage showcasing the latest and greatest from all of skiing’s top brands.