Thursday, July 30, 2009




July 29th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

We thought we had to do a major rewire of brain cells as the Original Penguin/K2 launch was our first NY "Fashion" event after a week in Utah at Outdoor Retailer.

Impressively though, this limited edition mash-up of these two stellar brands went beyond well. It was genius…and captured the MO of what we saw in the Rockies, fashion forward style without compromising the technical attributes of our gear that we demand, and rely on as athletes.

Original Penguin™ is a major global lifestyle brand and has come a long way since the powers that be took grandpa’s go-to polo with the birdy logo…and developed into a casual cool collection of guys and gals attire/accessories with classic American swagger. It is huge across the Pond, as authentic USA labels with panache are in BIG demand by Euros…

We REALLY discovered this a few weeks ago-while at the massive Bread n Butter, Berlin.

Also noticeable---- Original Penguin has signature design elements, besides the logo…like colorful retro edgy plaid/stripped patterns that are eye-catching--- not eyeball busting tacky.

It’s probably these attributes that captured the interest of Cory Little, the K2 Global Image and Design Manager who generously shared some of his thoughts with us with regards to the SLAYBLADE …and package appropriate MASIS DBL BOA boots and AUTO bindings.

“I reached out to them (O.P.) he told us…and toiled with the many bits of fabric images on his computer- to get the mix just right.

Clearly he has a good eye to “make it work” as the visuals of the board are cohesive, balanced and HIP.

It was the super knowledgeable Charlie Kiesa, the Mid Atlantic Territory Manager of K2 who gave us the 411 on the technical gee whiz aspects of the equipment on display.

First off- the boards are lightweight due to patented HYBRITECH CONSTRUCTION, that “features a thin, constant thickness sidewall designed for maximum performance and minimal material usage.” Added pluses: turns easy…very important in thick snow, even we’d have a hard time trashing the board (durable)…and the tail doesn’t spin out so we don’t wipe out (as much)…

AND stability is also greatly aided by the new FLATLINE TECHNOLOGY that doesn’t detract from the responsiveness or “POP” of the board.

What really jazzed us was the HARSHMELLOW TECHNOLOGY… a unique vibration dampening system that helps our fear level, as we ride on East Coast ice or slicked out catwalks at speed. It’s a synthetic polymer compound…that’s applied to the board (it looks/feels wavy---Kiesa tilted the board so we could see), the boots (a thick layer “designed to absorb impact and shock associated with stomping landings”), and a medium layer on the bindings that absorb low frequency vibrations.

Bottom Line: All three layers got you vibrantly covered.

We also got schooled on the original white Original Penguin™ boot with a shock absorbing footbed (EVA Foam, Harshmellow Technology) for better board feel, and the souped up linings…the Intuition™ Control foam 3D – supple, supportive and long lasting-no packed in throwaways at the end of the season…and the Boa® CONDA System that” hangs on tight and will never let go.”

And freezing our hands to lace up is so old school…as the liner lacing system (kinda a misnomer)--- is really a multi-part dial -in comfortable support via the easily accessible black knobs that increase/decrease pressure. Nice.

WHAT’S NEXT? The O.P. helmut? We vow to ride with one of those.

MAJOR BONUS POINTS: Kiesa did not roll his eyeballs or even crack a smile when we told him we’re still rockin the K2 Clickers from the last Century (ok we have a problem with the toe edge). Thank-you Charlie- as we totally dated ourselves…