Head is no newcomer to the world of freeskiing. For years, legends such as Jon Olsson and Simon Dumont have skied their way to podiums with the famous logo emblazoned on their gear. Now, as the brand continues to progress, the aforementioned skiers are joined by young guns like Aaron Blunck and Jesper Tjäder, on a stacked team that is pushing the limits of the sport.
“As we invest in product for park, pipe and big-mountain skiers,” explains vice president of Head’s winter sport division, Jon Rucker, “we’re going to back it up with great athletes and continue to develop our awesome team.”
That team logged an astounding 2013-14 season, resulting in Head athletes being among the top five year- end finishers in each AFP World Tour discipline: slopestyle, halfpipe and big air. Six freeskiers also represented Head at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, with Maddie Bowman delivering an historic performance and taking home the gold medal in women’s halfpipe. But it doesn’t stop with contests. Twenty-year-old Jesper Tjäder, of Sweden, blew minds with a series of web videos, including one that showcased a massive double backflip over the “Death Gap” at Nine Knights in Livigno, Italy, an edit that became one of the most-watched ever on freeskier.com.
Skier: Maddie Bowman.
“Everything is so Internet driven nowadays. With these short video clips, the biggest name out there right now might just be Jesper Tjäder,” says Andrew Couperthwait, Head Tyrolia winter sports senior business manager. “[Tjäder’s] ability to progress the sport and to pull off amazing new tricks is what gets us excited. He’s leading the charge among a youth group that is constantly challenging notions of what was thought to be possible in skiing.”
Tjäder is one of a number of Head athletes that cross over to the Tyrolia team as well. The two brands have a similarly progressive vision in the ski world and Tyrolia has equally sought-after bindings that reinforce its mission.
“We’re very fortunate to have this international team of athletes,” explains Rucker, “but what’s been really great for us is having additional elite athletes approach us to get on our gear because they know the product is great, and it’ll perform very well for them.”
In the park, the highlight of the Head collection has been The Caddy. Originally inspired by Dumont, the ski features enough rocker in the tip and tail to provide playfulness for buttering but utilizes considerable camber throughout to aid with carving up pipe walls and jump take offs. “The construction hasn’t particularly changed [over time] because it’s worked out so well,” says Couperthwait.
The company is also producing impressive boots and bindings to complement those skis. Take the wildly successful Overkill boot for example. Head’s racing background allowed the company to develop a boot that has strong heel and forefoot hold while maintaining slightly softer flex and providing added shock absorption for those big landings. And when it comes time to lock that boot in place, Tyrolia’s Attack gets the job done with precision handling and elasticity to prevent prerelease.
With elite athletes and products to match, Head and Tyrolia are enjoying a position among the top players of the freeskiing world, and you shouldn’t expect them to slow down anytime soon.
“We’re excited that our global headquarters in Austria is making freeskiing a priority,” says Couperthwait. “Over the last two years, you can see a progression in our brand, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to push—we will continue to make a statement within the markets that are not race oriented.”
“Much like Subway, Head uses sandwich construction in The Caddy skis, but this ain’t no $5 footlong. With input from Simon Dumont….” Click for full review.
“Head took the number one boot on the World Cup, and re-invented it for the freeride world. The Head Raptor Overkill ski boots share all the traits of the…” Click for full review.
“The Tyrolia AAAttack 13 ski bindings are the ultimate binding for hucks, jibs, and rail slides. The AAAttack rips with a 77 mm wide metal AFD, and a heel that is connected…” Click for full review.