The ReddyYeti Podcast EP: #82 4FRNT - Pioneers Of Ski Design For Freestyle Skiing. Founder Matt Sterbenz Sharing His Story

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4FRNT
 

Why settle for cheap skis when you can have the whole package?
 

Get the skis you want instead of the skis you can afford!
 

To find out more behind how 4FRNT got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews 4FRNT founder, Matt Sterbenz

 

More about the episode...
 

Josh sits down with 4FRNT founder Matt Sterbenz. 4FRNT skis is a brand that has become iconic within the skiing industry, helping pave the way for freestyle skiing. Having been involved in skiing since high school, Matt Sterbenz has become a prominent figure in helping that transition from the traditional Euro ski racing identity of skiing to a looser ‘freer’ assemblance of skiing where style is valued over speed. Join us as we take a look at 4FRNT under a microscope with founder Matt Sterbenz recalling how 4FRNT truly took form, freestyle skiing was created, and Jason Levinthal’s influence on how Matt built 4FRNT.

 

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Show Notes

  • How did 4FRNT get started?

    • “I decided I wanted to be a pro skier when I was in highschool and my family was adamant that I go to school...Physically I was trapped in the midwest finishing up a degree but mentally I just knew I wanted to be in the mountains...one thing led to another and eventually I moved to Squaw Valley...At the time a lot of the companies, they were still wondering if anything would develop from this free skiing culture...I had zero engineering knowledge, I didn’t even know what I was asking for but I just took elements of skis that I had seen and said ‘hey, I like this part of this ski and that part of that ski…’

    • Matt dives into what he witnessed with the rise of twin tip skis and, the mindset that followed throughout the transition of this new style of skis

  • How did you go from your launch in 2002 to building a serious following?

    • “Initially I leveraged Camp of Champions which was a ski camp in Whistler. I was a ski coach, I transitioned from a digger which was an unpaid gig… At orientation night we would have to cut everybody’s ski poles in half and remount their skis to center if they had any chance of learning how to do tricks. There were so many retailers that haven’t adapted to twin tips… When they came to camp we’d have to reorient their entire program… A lot of them had disposable income and we would love to take them to the shop and sell them skis and I thought man, I could be selling them skis on my own…”

    • Matt gets a bit more specific about how he introduced the idea of this new style of skiing calling for an update of ski gear and how Jason Levinthal, 4FRNT, and himself helped aid in people leaning towards twin tip skis.

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  • How did things get started with Jason Levinthal?

    • “I had some time with Jay early on at SIA in Vegas. I was building the booth by hand and so was he. At the time I really had a lot of respect for him, I was skiing with some of his athletes in Tahoe...and so to have his support with what I was doing in 4FRNT was very honorable...He was always offering tips with how we can do things more efficiently as a brand and I really respected him for that early on and I always stayed in touch with him...Any chance I can get to pull him aside during a ski demo or a trade show when he was walking the aisles I would...When we were looking at the business and kind of looking at how we were going to transition out of this wholesale retail model into something more direct, I had already taken the steps to do so but, it wasn’t happening quickly enough...Jay came back to me with a really robust idea of how he’s built J Skis and how the things he’s learned doing so can be applied to 4FRNT and how we can create drastic change overtime…”

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  • Where do you see 4FRNT headed into the future?

    • “We are looking at narrowing the collection down… by doing so we’ll become a little more authentic in our approach to designing ski shapes. We’re going to design shapes that are appropriate for our consumers, they’re going to challenge their perspective on what they expect from 4FRNT but at the same time appease their interests...we want to give them a ski that is going to inspire them to be a stronger skier… Freeskiing has a culture which needs to be preserved, which was what made it cool in the beginning and will maintain its coolness in the future and, that is something I really want 4FRNT to be an active leader in…”

  • What’s the best part about running 4FRNT?

    • Seeing people on the hill skiing on 4FRNT. That’s hands down, probably the coolest part of being involved with 4FRNT. Witnessing someone having a great experience on the hill, with friends, being active in nature, and realizing that that ski is a vehicle that allowed that experience to happen for that person. I always say that’s probably the biggest paycheck you’ll ever get in the ski industry, just the enthusiasm or excitement of someone using your product…”

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