On top of weekly session recap videos, during the summer of 2011 High Cascade Snowboard Camp introduced an edgy video series called Hamvan. The Hamvan video series was comprised of snowboarding footage in High Cascade’s terrain park and off hill antics from High Cascade’s coaches, diggers and consolers. The series was all captured by filmer Skylar Brent, and boy did he get creative when editing the episode.  On top of the great snowboarding, every episode opened with at least one hilarious skit showing the staff’s sense of humor. The Hamvan series was a great marketing play on High Cascade’s part. Giving High Cascade another outlet to show potential campers what going to summer snowboard camp is all about; having a great time without being ultra cheesy and repetitive like session recap videos.

All of the content was exactly the same as session recap videos, just a bit more edgy.   When watching the Hamvan episodes you can tell that these videos were segmented and directed at High Cascade’s older market of campers from 13 to 19 years old. Some of the dead give aways were the raw crash footage, semi inappropriate song choice (usually early 2000’s hip hop) and reckless skits featuring staff members. Each episode featured everything High Cascade has to offer to a “core” camper that wants to snowboard in the summer; a creative constantly terrain park, mutable on campus skateparks, friendly staff and a taste of life in the town Government Camp where campers are allowed to roam free after their day of snowboarding is over.

These episodes where very well received by the core snowboard community getting shares on Facebook from snowboard brands with major audiences such as Thirty-two, Capita and Snowboarder Magazine. The Hamvan series has a total view count just shy of 65,000 views on Vimeo. Unfortunalty the Hamvan series only survived one summer, rumor has it the van broke down on its cross country journey back to the east coast.  A definite possibly, but High Cascade also could have nixed the series due to low view count. During summer 2011 each individual session recap video averaged 40,000 views.

I would absolutely love to see the Hamvan series make a come back. There is something about those genuine bro-cam vibes that can not be recreated in the usual session recap videos. The Havman series was the perfect mixture of snowboarding and reckless antics to get kids stoked on going to High Cascade Snowboard Camp for a session. Yet tame enough that mom or dad would just be caught slightly off guard when their 15 year old son Mikey showed them the latest Hamvan.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/47753884″>Hamvan Episode 6</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/highcascade”>High Cascade Snowboard Camp</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>






C’mon Orage

In early January Orage made an announcement that they would be signing multi year contacts with high profile big mountain skiers Callum Pettit, Rory Bushfield, and Elyse Saugstad. Being able afford these three high profile skiers Orage dropped the majority of their park and street team. And by majority I mean the entire park and street team, dropping Andy Parry, Chris Logan, Will Wesson, and Magnus Graner from their roster. The reason behind the purge of the park and street segment of their team was due to their rebrand which is expected to be in full effect for the 2016 – 2017 season. Orage wanted to move away from park/street image to the more profitable big mountain image.

Orage had planned to keep long time athlete Phil Casabon (B-Dog) on the roster,  since he was the face of the park/street team having a pro model jacket with them since 2010. On one condition, if he changed up his style of skiing and dress. Orage wanted Phil to start skiing more big mountain and wearing slimmer fitting clothes. However, Phil did not agree with Orage’s decision on their new brand direction he also left Orage. Many believe Phil was dropped by Orage because he was not a profitable entity to the company. This the exact opposite, as we see in the screen show below of Phil speaking about his decision to leave Orage. Phil’s pro model jacket was most sold out jacket every year he had one. 

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Instead of just dropping everyone on the park/street team and telling Phil “we won’t pay you anymore but we want you to change the way you dress and your image, to have the privilege to keep wearing our gear”. Orage easily could have easily kept all of their park/street skiers on the team with out pay, by simply flowing them gear for free letting them keep skiing how they want to ski. And if they did not want to have any support from Orage they could be free to leave. It is not like Andy, Will, Chris, Magnus and Phil were not adding any value to Orage. They were putting in work producing more content than anyone else on Orage’s team: Andy and Will have Line Traveling Circus web series, Andy has his solo project Tell A Friend Tour,  Chris is a part of backcountry web series Big Picture Mountain, Magnus is featured in many edits with The Bunch and films at least one movie segment a year, and Phil has his hands in everything filming web series, movie segments, as well as putting on his own event The B&E Invitational.

Since dropping Andy, Will, Chris, Magnus and Phil leaving Orage has sucessufuly lost the support of the core freeskiing market which they used build their brand over the past decade. And it shows, below are a few of many comments showing resentment towards Orage’s discussions on their new brand direction from forums Newschoolers.

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Yes, a part of being a brand is constantly changing trying to access new markets and being most profitable. However, when you are selling with markets that have many influencers and passionate supporters such as ski industry.  You can not just desert the “core” area that got your brand off the ground. This rebrand Orage has pulled has greatly reduced if not ruined their brand affinity in the freeski market.

Orage easily could have used some creative thinking on a way to continue working with Andy Parry, Chris Logan, Will Wesson, Magnus Graner, and Phil Casabon.  Something as simple as a 5-10 minute park/street edit, with all of the riders “b-footy” that did not make into their edits or segments from that season. The video could have been simply uploaded to Vimeo or Youtube and shared by the riders. The only costs Orage would have incurred would be sending outerwear to the five riders and paying someone to edit the video, in reality probably less than $2,000. Even just showing this genuine effort and giving back to their core market would have saved their brand affinity. Pulling a move like this especially in a highly judgmental and passionate market is not a wise idea. Especially if you have given to much to the community as Orage has for the past decade.

For the past decade Orage has positioned itself as an innovator that gives back to freeskiing community. Having arguably the most diverse park/street team ever, they brought street fashion to skiing outwear with unique fabric choice and hosted the legendary “anti-competition” the Orage Masters RIP.  Their genuine passion for freeskiing secured Orage their spot the highly judgmental freeski niche. However, with the purge of their entire park/street team all of the work Orage put in the past decade to increase their brand affinity has gone down the drain and it shows. Here is a link to a growing thread on Newschoolers about what the community thinks of Orage’s rebrand.



Causwell, A Short Lived Legacy

During the winter of 2010 an outerwear company by the name of Causwell made a big splash in the freeski community.  Causwell had a very unique brand position, brining a much needed breath of fresh air to ski fashion. 2010 was smack dab in the middle of the ski fashions dark ages; were pretty much every person skiing in the terrain park resembled a king size bag of Skittles.  Causwell based the majority of their first season release focusing on earth tones that could be fashionable both on and off the mountain.

Yes, there was an outlier that really resembled a bag of king size Skittles.

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The promotion plan Causwell used to enter the winter outerwear market was untraditional and spot on. Instead of taking the traditional approach of debuting their outwear line up at Snow Sports Industries of America’s annual Trade Show (SIA).  Causwell’s first move was unheard of at the time, releasing a cross promotional video with their parent company Surface Skis. Surface Skis was founded in 2004 and already had a large customer base that Causwell was able to utilize. The video was named Surface/Causwell Team at PC featured up and comers John Ware and Jeff Kiesel wearing only Causwell. After being filmed and edited Evan Heath the video was uploaded to Newschoolers and Vimeo. The video was very well revised from the skiing community racking up a combined 27 thousand views. Causwell knew how to communicate with their target market; there was no big press release about this cool new outwear brand. The video was simply uploaded, the views and comments about their outerwear poured in.

Causwell continued to ride out with their current brand image of being primarily for terrain park skiers for one season; until realizing it was possible to expand towards other aspects freeski world such as backcountry skiing. To access this market Causwell enlisted the help of Eric Pollard. Eric Pollard is more than just an innovative backcountry skier, he is a creator.  The owner and head editor at Nimbus Independent a video production company focused on adventure and backcountry skiing. Eric is also renowned artist in the winter sports world designing his own pro model ski with Line Skis from the ground up since 2003, goggles with Dragon Alliance and accessories with Dakine.  Eric’s taste was the perfect compass for Causwell’s new brand direction and image.


Causwell took a more traditional and professional route informing the public about their collaboration with Pollard; releasing the news to freeskiing media outlets Freeskier and Newschoolers. After the fire had started to burn out, Pollard and Causwell reignited the fire at the 2011 SIA Trade Show premiering his outwear line. Here are some photos from the first press release for Causwell and Eric Pollard Collaboration

Of course Causwell had a unique promotional plan for Pollard’s outwear line besides a press release and the 2011 SIA Trade Show. To continue feeding the flames Pollard and Causwell also released images of his outwear line in action on Facebook. These images were captured during their big picture promotional plan with Nimbus Independent and their En Route video series. The En Route video series was about skiing in unique locations such as Arlberg, Cascadia and Alaska. The other element besides skiing in these videos was the lifestyle Pollard and the rest of the Nimbus Independent crew take part in to produce their videos. The lifestyle aspect of these videos acted perfect opportunity to promote Causwell as functional both on and off the ski hill.

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The En Route series was a success racking up views and shares with ease. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the business relationship between Causwell and Pollard. In early 2012 Pollard left Causwell, for long time accessory sponsor Dakine to help develop and design their outerwear. To this day no official statement has been released to why the separation happened; rumor has it the separation was related to payment.

After the separation with Pollard, Causwell started to slowly modify their brand image. The skiing content slowly stopped, changing outdoor lifestyle and then on to fly fishing. Yes, fly fishing.

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This rebranding happened because Eric Pollard is such an influencer and legend in skiing. Having make an announcement about Pollard leaving Causwell would have been a very bad branding play and would have greatly effected their brand affinity. If Causwell wanted to continue to be a leader without Pollard; there legitimacy would have been heavily questioned to those who have never owned the outerwear.

It seems Causwell’s down fall was due to putting all of their eggs in one basket with Pollard and Nimbus Independent; to be the primary piece in their promotion campaign for the 2012 outerwear line.  Because he is such an influencer the idea makes great sense on paper, the idea seemed like it could never fail from a marketing stand point.  If Pollard would have not left Causwell, the brand would have been destined to taken off, making them a large player in the ski outerwear world. This is a great example showing what can happen to a brand if an influencer in a specific niche is added, promoted heavily, and then deserts the brand.