STEVE: Hello and welcome to another Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. I’m Steve and recently I had the opportunity to sit down with a veteran sales rep from Spyder. His name was Bill and he had been with the company for just about 30 years. He came and visited our warehouse, did some videos with our buyer Brigitte and then came over to the podcast and discussed some of the upcoming Spyder-wear coming out this year. The first jacket that we discussed was called the Spyder Pinnacle. It’s at a high price point and features all the bells and whistles one could ask for. But, you know what? I’ll let Bill explain it.
BILL: The name says it all. It’s the Pinnacle. It has everything. The fabrication, I think the key to the jacket is to try it on. The fabrication is phenomenal. It’s a stretch exterior and a stretch interior combing that with a beautiful PrimaLoft Insulation which has a butter-soft hand to it. The jacket feels so good on. But it also delivers when it comes time to actually put it to the test. It’s water-repellency is as good as anyone’s at 20,000mm but it has a special laminate product called Osmos which we introduced 2 years ago and it has, to my knowledge, the most breathability of any jacket in the ski marketplace or outdoor marketplace for that matter so in addition to the comfort level of the fabrication and insulation, the jacket is…performs when you put it in cold and snow.
STEVE: And then, there’s the Spyder Leader Jacket. If you want reliability, warmth and comfort at a lower price point from the Pinnacle, this one is the one for you. It is consistently one of the best-selling jackets in Spyder’s line.
BILL: Yeah, the Leader is our number one selling men’s jacket and I think it’s a matter again of value and performance or what you’re getting for your dollar. It’s a little a more moderate more price-point than the Pinnacle is but like the Pinnacle it is a stretch fabric but the lining doesn’t stretch. But the exterior stretches and you feel it right away. Combine that with Thinsulate Insulation, 3M is a partner of ours in a lot of projects including supporting the US Ski Team so we use a lot of a lot of Thinsulate product. Fully seam-sealed like the Pinnacle is, or fully taped, as they say, a removable hood, CORE body venting, removable powder skirt, lots of pockets. The problem with Spyder on pockets isn’t where do you put it, it’s where did I put it? We have so many pockets in our jackets it gets silly.
S: These two jackets come highly recommended but one costs considerably more. Bill explains the benefit of the Spyder Pinnacle.
B: I think the slight differences in terms of the stretch interior and the Primaloft is just a little softer hand than the Thinsulate. Just the feel of that jacket on the body is fantastic and again once you hit the snow and you get warmed up, while the Leader is very breathable jacket at 20,000mm of breathability, the Pinnacle is 50% more breathable at 30,000mm breathability.
S: Okay, but both sound like some excellent, excellent jackets.
B: Both are excellent, they’re just two different price points so the Pinnacle delivers a little bit more but costs a little more money.
S: Spyder has some excellent kid’s jackets. Can you tell us about some of those kids’ jackets?
B: Well we do a broad range of kid’s jackets for boys and girls. We have a boys and little girls sizes from 2-7 and then we switch into groups for boys and girls…we call those Minis and Bitsys by the way, and then we go into more junior sizing of 8-20s for girls and boys. We’re fortunate to have a woman at the head of the design team that’s done a phenomenal job and has been with us a few of years. We continue to grow our percentage of market share in that business for both boys and girls. We’ve been fortunate to grow the business to have a few different looks. So, we have some traditional ski looks and we have some less-traditional ski, or maybe street carryover ski looks, for kids. The product is very, very durable, in fact I find it amazing how many times I hear parents talk about passing it down between kids and certainly if you’re in that situation you hopefully are the oldest kid so you always get the new one.
S: When it comes to buying Spyder Jackets or Spyder Pants, when it comes to buying the color white, people are a little apprehensive. They’re afraid that it might get too dirty, too easily but Bill explains why you don’t really have to worry about that.
B: I hear it all the time when I’m working floor retail.
S: What can you tell the consumer to make them less fearful about buying a Spyder Jacket that’s white?
B: Well we do…White looks fantastic on the snow so I always encourage people to be comfortable from a purchase standpoint because it looks great but I understand their concerns about white. So, what we do is we treat the outside of the coat with a product that’s proprietary; we call it Spylon, S-P-Y-L-O-N. And this Spylon is a wonderful product that helps keep dirt from catching and sitting on the fabric and should it get on the fabric or adhere to the fabric, it washes off quickly, beautifully, without a lot of need for stain treatment, it just comes right out so the irony is people say well white coats get dirty faster than other coats, coats get dirty at the same rate, now the white might show it a little sooner but they get dirty at the same rate. The Spylon really helps keep it looking fresh longer between washings, shall we say. And washing is what recommend.
S: Yeah, that’s probably good to probably wash your clothes. How many times do you wash your jacket?
B: I think you wash based on need. You know, if you’re particularly active in the coat and you’re perspiring a lot, you might wash it more often or if you’re moving things or brushing up against that always dirty car as it seems to be in the winter time, you might need to wash it them more often but these coats do not require dry cleaning so, and as you know washing is a lot less expensive than dry cleaning, so we recommend washing and as a matter of fact because dry cleaning involves a little heat and all of our coats are, all the seams on our coats are taped and this is a process of gluing tape behind these seams to keep the water from leaking through the seams. Tape and dry cleaners don’t get along all that well so we do recommend washing. Gentle cycle, we prefer powdered detergent if you have it on hand, it actually dissolves better than liquid. Sounds ironic but true and the key is to get the soap out so an extra rinse cycle if not two extra rinse cycles with no soap is recommended and hang them to dry and the next morning they’re looking great.
S: Excellent. Now, with that Spylon on the exterior, how many, you wash it a couple times and that’s it, right?
B: That’s a really good question and no. Our Spylon has a pretty high standard to it. We have Spylon and Spylon+. Spylon+ is another reason that the Pinnacle Jacket costs more than the Leader Jacket. So, but even the basic Spylon which is on our kid’s coats and Leader Jacket along with the majority of other coats, after 20 washings, 80% of that Spylon is still on the outside of the fabric so it takes a lot of washings. The Pinnacle is Spylon+. That’s after 50, 5-0, washings, 80% of the product is still on there.
S: So, essentially, if you’re a skier like me you wash the jacket two times a year, maybe three times. You’re looking at the same high quality – if I buy a white jacket that’s going to stay white, that’s going to stay in good shape for at least 6-7 years, right?
B: 6 or 7 years, I wash my jackets only about once a year so I got more like ten years and that’s, I find it interesting, because the durability of our jackets, not only in terms of looking fresh from a release of the stain but the durability of our jackets from a color freshness or vastness is excellent. I can’t tell you how many times I see older coats that I’ve sold, having been a Spyder rep for a number of years, that I can tell are older because of the coloration, or color combination, but the color itself is still saturated and rich-looking as are the seams and everything else about the coat.
S: So, you see a couple of 1990-style jackets looking sharp as ever but 1990s style.
B: Oh, I do. I sometimes see it in the airport and I sometimes see it on the slopes but bless their hearts they’re still out skiing and still enjoying the sport.
S: So there you go. Spyder has the technology to keep your jacket white as long as you wash it and, even if you wash it a few times a year, it will still have the Spylon technology to ensure it maintains its integrity. Join me next time on the Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com where I continue talking to Bill about Spyder’s product line and sponsorship. Also check out Bill and Brigitte on our ski videos over at skis.com. For Bill at Spyder, I’m Steve and thank you for listening to the Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com.