A blast round America

Last March Bruno Compagnet and Layla Jean Kerley went on a promotional tour in the western United States. A journey rich in encounters, mountains and desert expanses to inspire Bruno’s travel notes and Layla’s captured moments.

Chapter one: trade winds

It was supposed to be a promotional trip but turned out to be much more than that.

Last March, Layla and I went to the States to meet our distributor Marty and to visit the shops throughout the Rockies. He and his charming wife Tammy as well as their team greeted us with open arms, even lending us the keys to their van as well as map straddling three states, setting us off on a journey full of amazing revelations and encounters. A road movie leading us through mountains and deserts.

I watch the ground approaching through the porthole and ask Layla if we are about to land in a cornfield. Denver airport is far away from the city centre and we are grateful that Jordan and Spencer have come to collect us and our big ski bags.

Marty greets us with his eternal smile and takes us to see a magnificent cube of concrete and steel where he has his headquarters conveniently located on the road up to the ski resorts.

Layla Jean Kerley
Marty+Bruno dans le studio photo dans le bâtiment dans lequel se situent les bureaux de Marty

It’s a really spacious building that he shares with other companies. The structure runs over three levels and there’s a communal meeting room, a kitchen area and a chill out zone…Creatives, design, photography, video and quite a few different companies from the action sports world are grouped together under one roof. The atmosphere is young, dynamic and relaxed. This closeness also allows the residents to be high-performance: between having an idea for a project, drawing it up and carrying it out, things can move really fast. In the basement there’s a photo studio and a really well equipped workshop for doing whatever you need to…It’s really impressive. In one of the garages, skis destined for testing are perfectly arranged by model and size. It’s clean and you can tell there’s a great organisation behind it.

We go straight into visiting the shops and the very first one sets the whole tone for this tour around Uncle Sam’s homeland. It’s difficult not to feel the gulf between here and Europe. Enthusiasm cannot merely be reduced to the 2017 winter when North America was firing while Europe was in times of dearth. Here, from the moment you meet the bosses and the employees, you see real passion for skiing.

The terrain and the vertical drop don’t matter, we listen to them enthusing about the pistes and off-piste that wouldn’t necessarily capture our interest in the Alps. If the shop is located in resort, there’s a good chance that the employees will ask you to go skiing with them on their lunch break. Share a few runs together, talk about skiing and business, then go for a beer before getting back to work.

Layla Jean Kerley
Steamboat ambassador

When we launched black crows with Camille and Christophe, we would tour around Europe the three of us…That was the good old days but I don’t remember skiing with any of the employees or the bosses of the shops.

Another thing is clear to see, here people still buy skis and the shops have racks of skis that are 50ft long with a choice for every discipline.

Ultimately it’s exactly what we are talking about above, everything is bigger, wider…except the mountains that you can’t compare to ours.

Next stop: Jackson Hole


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