SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
INTERVIEW WITH KIRK FROM DESCENTE
BY: STEVE HARTMAN
In this skis.com podcast, Steve sits down with Kirk from Descente to discuss the company and culture, some of the best-selling jackets and the technology that sets Descente apart from the competition.
STEVE: Welcome to another Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. I’m Steve and across from me today is Kirk. He is the VP of Sales at Descente and he’s going to talk to us about Descente: the company, the culture and some of its products. Kirk, how are you doing today?
KIRK: Good. How are you doing, Jess?
STEVE: Pretty good. It’s Steve.
KIRK: Sorry, Steve.
S: I don’t know where you got Jess from.
K: I don’t know where I got that from either.
S: Well either way, let’s get right into it. You want to tell us a little about Descente. So, let’s hear about the company.
K: Sure. Descente is a mountain company with its heritage based in the mountains; alpine skiing. The company started in 1935 and in 1957 really focused on alpine ski apparel and outerwear. We make some of the finest outerwear in the world. We have very unique fitting clothes. We have what call a Motion 3D Fit which is unlike many other manufacturers have. We use very highly quality fabrics. Great waterproof and breathability. We’ve been part of a lot of the major innovations in alpine ski-wear over the years from fit and function and the modern downhill suit. We sponsor a lot of the national teams across the world and just known for our craftsmanship, our quality and our really unique fit.
S: Excellent. Where did Descente originate from?
K: Descente is a Japanese company. It’s based in Osaka, Japan. There’s a lot of mountains in Japan. You know, they’ve hosted the Sipora Games and there’s a lot of mountain action that takes place there and that spun out to the Alps of Europe and to the mountains of North America and that’s Descente’s heritage.
S: Excellent. One of our best selling jackets, one of the best jackets every year is called the Swiss WC and that’s world cup…World Class. Where’s my mind today?
K: That’s the jacket that…we sponsor the Swiss National Alpine Ski Team and that Swiss World Cup jacket is built for the highest level of performance. It features our Motion 3D fit which gives the jacket a stretch and an elasticity and a flexibility almost like you’re skin. It’s very comfortable to wear. Hardly know it’s on, it’s very athletic fitting and functional and we’ve used this jacket as part of our sponsorship with the Swiss Team and that’s available online at skis.com.
S: Excellent. How long have you been sponsoring the Swiss Team?
K: The relationship with the Swiss Team goes all the way back into the early-middle 80s. We’ve have a relationship with them for many, many years.
S: Okay, great. And I wanted to go back to 3D Motion. What’s so great about that, I guess I’ll just add on to what you said, is that it doesn’t kind of restrict your mobility, right? So, you can move however you need to move. Am I getting that correct?
K: That’s exactly right. It starts at the pattern-making where the patterns that we use for our clothing is different. It gives a 3D shape to the garment and you put that garment on it’s much more comfortable but it’s also designed to give you a really high-performance like a second skin. You hardly know you have it on. When you move, it moves with you. It’s just not hanging on like some of the other outwear that’s on the market. A very unique feel when you put on a Descente jacket.
S: Okay, great. Now, let’s go to the Canada Ski Cross Jacket. Can you tell us a little about that one? That’s another big one.
K: Yeah, Skier Cross is a sport the came into the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and, you know, we sponsor the Canadian Skier Cross Team. The Skier Cross jacket also has that Motion 3D fit, high quality fabrics, very athletic jacket. Made for the rigors of high competition skiing and moving around and it’s just a great jacket.
S: Okay, great. Now, can you tell me a little about some of the technology that separates the Descente jackets from some of the competition?
K: Well, we have a lot of, we pay a lot of attention to the details. So, in addition to that Motion 3D fit we have excellent fabrics, waterproof/breathability, we have Heat Navi lining materials and great insulation. We critically seam-seal all of our jackets so we have a great waterproof and breathability. Just a lot of attention to details and findings too. We have a little laser vents that we use, we call D-Laser, that we cut into the jacket to add some cool styling but also have some function. Just everything about the jacket is finally filled and it makes it very unique and different. And super high-quality, great value.
S: Okay. Would you be able to go a little bit into the technology that revolves around insulation or keeping you warm when it’s really, really cold out there. You mentioned Heat Navi, was one of them. What are some of the other ones?
K: Well, we feature different types of insulation in our jackets. We use 100 or 60 or 40 gram fill in our jackets. We have a Dermizax, waterproof, breathable material. It’s a Toray product. It offers the finest waterproof/breathability in the marketplace. It’s just a combination of all the things we put together that makes that jacket so comfortable and so functional.
S: Yeah and especially with being waterproof and breathability I found, and even until I started doing research on jackets, I didn’t quite realized how much – if it’s not waterproof and it’s not breathable and you’re either sweating or moisture’s getting in, that’s going to chill you down because you’re, I guess when you’re going down the mountain and you get a nice cold wind, it’s evaporating off of you and it’s cooling you down pretty good.
K: That’s exactly right. You want your water vapor that your body is creating when you have that physical exertion to be able to escape the jacket, to go away from your body and on the other hand, if it’s wet snow, if it’s pounding moisture out there, you need to have that waterproofness so that it doesn’t come into your jacket. And our jackets come in a lot of different silhouettes too. We have relaxed fit and body fit and straight fit so there’s just the right fit for anyone if they want to come in and look at the various silhouettes as well.
S: Excellent. Well, Kirk thank you very much for coming in today and telling us about the Descente jackets. We do have plenty of those Descente jackets available on skis.com so please check those out. For Kirk, I’m Steve and thank you everybody for listening to the latest Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com.