K2, parent company of K2 and Ride Snowboards, is gearing up to celebrate five long decades in the snow industry, which as most companies these days realize, is no small feat. For Tim Petrick, the milestone has an even deeper meaning. Petrick, who was recently welcomed back as K2’s Global Sales and Marketing President, got his original start with the company more than three decades ago, and while his background lies in skiing, Petrick will oversee global sales and marketing for all facets of the company, including K2 Snowboards. With a long history in the snow industry, we tapped in to Petrick’s knowledge to find out how the brand will celebrate 50 years in the business, the unveiling of K2 outerwear for next season, and much more.
What does it mean for you to return to the K2 team?
Returning to the K2 Team is truly a homecoming both professionally and personally. I started my career on the hardgoods side of the business here in 1989 when I was hired to do marketing and sales for Olin Skis in Centerbrook, CT. From that beginning, I was promoted to GM of K2 Skis in 1992 and moved my family to Washington. I have been living away from home for the past three years both literally and figuratively. It is great to be back.
What was your background previous to coming on board at K2 the first time?
Prior to coming on board with K2 in 1989, I was working as Associate Publisher and Technical editor of Powder Magazine. This was my first "real" job after spending nearly 20 years working as a ski instructor, PSIA Demo Team member, and Certification examiner. My summer job in those years was freelance writing for Powder Magazine and they convinced me to come in house there in the mid 1980s.
What is the company doing to celebrate its 50th anniversary?
We have a number of initiatives in place to celebrate K2's 50th Anniversary. We put together a great recap of the company's history entitled "50 Years of Serious Fun" that we will be giving away through a web-based promotion starting in October through the end of the year. We will also be using the book as a gift with purchase at retailers this Fall. There will be regional anniversary parties at retailers orchestrated by our sales representatives throughout the Fall. In addition, we will have an open house here at headquarters in November on a date to be announced.
What will be your key initiatives moving into this position?
One of the exciting things about K2 Sports is its portfolio of brands. We have two of the strongest snowboard brands in the business with Ride and K2, two exceptional ski brands with K2 and Line, and several other strong outdoor brands. My objective is to grow these brands by being a trusted partner for our retailers around the globe. The formula is pretty simple: build the right product at the right price for the right distribution channels and deliver it on time with exceptional customer service. Accomplishing this is all about execution.
How have you seen the company grow and evolve over the years?
When I started with K2 in 1989 it was small ski company which had launched K2 Snowboards two years prior. We were based on Vashon Island and were primarily focused on the US market. We rode a ferry boat out to work every day and it was a simple business. Today we are a global business managing a portfolio of brands with our headquarters south of downtown Seattle. We have subsidiaries in Japan, Norway, and Germany, along with distributors in some 40 other countries around the world. It is a bigger company offering a diverse portfolio of products, but at the end of the day, it is still populated by a group of passionate enthusiasts. The company has grown but it has maintained its soul and authenticity.
How did last snow season affect K2? How are you gearing your marketing this season in relation to that?
Like every company involved in the winter sports business, the lack of snow this past season had an impact on reorders and pre-season bookings for the year ahead. We have had to tighten our belts and focus our marketing dollars at the point of sale and with shop employees. We are also counting on our sales reps to carry the message and build stoke. I think there is a lot of pent up demand for snowboarding and skiing. If there is an average winter, my guess is that the market will rebound strongly.
I think we still need to figure out a way to work together to bring more participants into winter sports. This process has begun with Learn to Ski and Snowboard month, along with the new "Bring a Friend" initiative that is happening this season, but it still has a long ways to go. The good news is that members of the retail, resort and vendor community are finally talking about the issue and trying to work together to bring more people into snowboarding and skiing. We need to increase the base. These sports are just too good to not have more people involved.
What are the top three opportunities you see for the company in the coming six to twelve months?
We have arguably the best running and triathlon shoes available with our Zoot brand, combined with compression gear, wetsuits, and running clothes. Zoot was the original tri company and it has superb product. We intend to increase awareness and distribution for this brand and grow this business substantially in the year ahead. We will also be launching the K2 Outerwear business a year from now and by the looks of what I have seen thus far, it has huge potential. Along with these big hitters, we have some very exciting products we will be introducing for our K2 and Ride snowboard brands at the upcoming trade shows, so there is a lot of stuff in the pipeline. It's great to be back home with everything that's going on.