First Chair catches up with Henrik Lampert and Daniel Dancer from PSIA-AASI Official Supplier Faction Skis. The team chats about how COVID-19 has impacted their manufacturing, and how they’re working to manage expectations for next season.
Get the inside scoop on their supply chain and what that means for ski instructors interested in flat-tail skis. Check out special members-only pricing on the Pro Offer page.
How COVID-19 is Impacting Ski Manufacturing
Dancer said that Faction, which manufactures 80 percent of their skis in Austria, saw production shutdowns of three to four weeks, and estimates that in general, the industry scaled back production of between 10 and 25 percent. “In the U.S., we had a better season because the season lasted a little longer than it did in Europe, where we shut down earlier because of the pandemic.”
“Obviously this has been very dramatic for the whole world,” said Lampert. “But for the ski industry, if the virus had broken out in Europe and North America earlier than it did, we would all be in a very different place. We’re in a position now to look forward and make sure we responsible for the market by not over-producing. We’re looking forward to welcoming everybody back when ski season returns.”
Making Up for Lost Time
Dancer said that as a company, Faction was able to achieve about 94 percent of its original sales goals, but recently has been finding ways to be creative about preparing for next season.
“In our R&D process, testing is a little bit more difficult because of all the areas closing,” he said. “Hopefully in May, Europe will have some glaciers opening and we can get on snow again. As for raw materials, on our production side, we are not facing huge issues. All our manufacturers have re-started production. We have postponed some R&D projects, but can start that at the beginning of the season.”
Working with PSIA-AASI
Lampert said that Faction, which was founded in 2006, originally focused on twin-top skis, working with athletes like the legendary French skier Candide Thovex to raise awareness of the brand. Now, they have two flat-tailed skis aimed directly at ski instructors, including the Dictator, which they made available to snow pros last season with special member-specific pricing, and now the Agent, which is light enough for lift-service and ski touring.
“The Dictator has two sheets of metal for instructors who want to charge on the hardpack, but is also incredibly nimble for the trees or moguls or wherever you and your student are skiing,” Lampert said. “The Agent has a Karuba wood core, and is very flexible and lightweight if you want to take it touring. With these two skis, working with more PSIA members to share our story is what we really want to focus on.”