Bright and punchy, RAMP Ski and Snowboard gaining attention
December 13, 2011
RAMP Ski and Snowboards opened its doors and homepage to Park City residents just more than a year ago. And in that year, Mike Kilchenstein said the company’s products have already managed to catch a spectrum of attention, from X-Games and Dew Tour participants to the metal band, Jane’s Addiction.
For Kilchenstein, that’s what RAMP is all about. RAMP stands for Riders Artists Musicians Project and works to "bring expert, handmade gear to skiers and snowboarders at factory-direct prices."
"I think RAMP ties everything together and creates a collaborative feel," Kilchenstien added.
He said most sales are online or over the phone. Only 10 resort shops in the country, including Jans Mountain Outfittersat Park City Mountain Resort, sell his gear. And for a reason he said.
"From a consumer standpoint, it’s more about creating a close relationship with a brand," he said. "Consumers want that."
Kilchenstein started the company with a ‘cut out the middle man’ mentality that would offer consumer-direct service and most of his sales are online. In other words, RAMP can offer better prices because it’s straight from the manufacturer to the customer.
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"It’s just us and them," he said.
RAMP offers 10 adult skis, 10 adult snowboards and three options for children. Kilchenstein said he was creating a special product to customers with the type of service and discounts that are hard to find with other brands.
"We went for something different, lots of bold, natural elements," he said. "People are always saying our skis and boards look so happy. We’re a bit tongue-and-cheek here."
His most popular product is "The Beaver," a women’s ski built for any type of snow, features a bright photo graphic of stacked logs and a cartoon beaver. Kilchenstien said one the "Tatertot," a child’s board with a graphic of tatertots and ketchup, was so popular with the adults who saw it that he’s been considering adding it to the adult lines.
"There’s no pissed-off graffiti here," Kilchenstien said, poking fun at trends in ski and board designs that he called more dark and angry.
"I just don’t want out product to look like that," he added.
But the boards are more than a bright design. Kilchenstien said every board is designed by RAMP in Park City before being sent overseas for larger production. With just one set of skis, Kilchenstien said he remembered creating five prototypes until the thickness was just right.
"We can give better value this way," Kilchenstein said, "while still building the culture of a company that’s doing the right thing."
Through trade-ins and shipping all gear in travel bags to cut down on cardboard, the business model is all about green, Kilchenstein said. RAMP also invests in a carbon offset program for every piece of gear the company ships.
It’s a business model Kilchenstein said has been working for RAMP. From April to October, the company recorded more sales than it did all last year. November was RAMP’s busiest month to date. The 2010 soft launch of the company was a test run for the product and for the company Kilchenstien said.
"Now that things are settling in-house, we’re aiming to increase sales ten-fold," he said.
And Kilchenstein means it.
"RAMP goes by its gut," he said.
RAMP Ski and Snowboard Company
2750 Rasmussen Rd., Ste. 103