Josh Malczyk

Things I’ve Learned: How Josh Malczyk climbed the ranks to global brand director of Line and Full Tilt

Things I’ve Learned: How Josh Malczyk climbed the ranks to global brand director of Line and Full Tilt

These days, LINE Skis and the sport of freeskiing are synonymous. Josh Malczyk—pronounced MALL-CHECK as he’d like to point out—has been with LINE for over a decade. You could call him a key player in the sport, no doubt. The now global brand director for LINE Skis and Full Tilt Boots grew up skiing the hills of Connecticut as well as the slopes of Okemo Resort in Vermont. Today, at 30-years-young, he travels the globe waving the LINE Skis flag while maintaining home base in Seattle, WA. Get schooled with one of the leaders of LINE Skis, below.

Malczyk says:

Connecticut skiing is the soul of the ski world. Really though, any place where you’ve got small hills and have to find the passion to go skiing every day after school or shovel your own jumps and ski until they turn the lights off is the soul of the ski world. Feeder hills are the gateway drug to a lifelong addiction that can bring you to some amazing places with friends.

Skiing and the University of Vermont was a pretty tight community—everyone knew each other, when I was there. We’d set up rail competitions, make movies and just have a good time. I haven’t been back in a while but it looks like it is thriving there and I hope everyone is still doing it for the fun and it hasn’t just become a scene.

Working the shop floor was brutal. I was never cut out for retail and my managers definitely knew it.

I was 22 years old, just wanting to read the latest ski magazine behind the counter. Someone would come in and I’d have to feign interest with them, thinking I’m going to give them the key to make a wise purchase. “Any ski on the damn wall will be better than those ‘SaloAtomic RaceCheetah’ skis you’ve had since 1995, so just buy this LINE ski, you kook!”

I was booted off the floor within about a month or so. I’ve been in marketing and brand management ever since. I like being behind the scenes and loyal to one brand, pulling the strings, working with a team and applying my knowledge to send a consistent message. But working retail certainly made me respect the hard work that our retailers and shop kids put into the ski industry.

Josh Malczyk

Hard at work. Photo by Dan Brown

Moving up the company ranks happened a lot quicker than I imagined. It feels like just yesterday—it was a decade ago—that I was helping out at a local demo, hitting urban in Vermont and making some crappy edit to send to LINE in hopes it would be seen. I’m not sure how I convinced Jason Levinthal to hire me but I’m pretty sure it had to do with just showing up, being passionate, thinking outside the box and making things happen on my own.

My parents were teachers and I am the youngest of four so we didn’t have the means to just go skiing all the time. The way I made it happen was to get on the business end, or at least fake it ’til I made it. For six years Jason and I worked together from across the country, which gave me the opportunity to get my hands into everything I wanted and not be coached or pointed down a certain direction in my job. Time went on, a lot has changed and the right opportunities presented themselves. Here I am, running two of the best brands in skiing, working with the best people in the world and couldn’t be happier.

Working with Jason Levinthal taught me a lot about success and failures. J has been through it all in the past 20 years and has given me amazing perspective on life, the ski industry and what really matters. Pushing for change is difficult when you’re the only one pushing for it at the time. When change does happen it’s super gratifying knowing that you had a part in it. Jason has always inspired me to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing because the world doesn’t need another “me too” of anything.

Building skis is a labor of love. I currently work with, and in the past have worked, with some of the most talented people I’ve ever known. To most people it’s just a big sandwich of mass produced “stuff” that’s shoved out to the world but the heart, vision and mind boggling science that goes into actually making a great ski is crazy. If you change one thing the whole feeling is different. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re on a new prototype for the first time and take a run with the people who helped design it. You just come to the bottom with a smile on your face or are laughing hysterically saying, “Holy shit, this is going to be amazing.”

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