Thursday, January 20, 2011

Skiing AJAX with the POC crew! What a DAY!

Today is one of those days when you are really, really glad you showed up for work. I wandered into ski school to see if there were any lessons needing instructors, and I ran into Jarka Duba, the CEO of POC USA, my very first sponsor.

POC took a chance on me, opening the door to so much opportunity, and keeping my head, spine and hands safe while I learned to huck myself down the hill. I love their stuff, and I'm grateful for the trust they put in me.

"What are you up to Jarka? Are you free skiing?" I asked.

"Yup, we are skiing around, you are welcome to join us!" he said. I had no idea who "us" was, but I wasn't about to miss a chance to go play in the snow with these guys, its nice to say thanks by sharing a big grin on a bluebird powder day!

Turns out that "us" was Josefin Lowgren, head of Promotions for POC, Oscar Huss head of Helmets and Development, and Stefan Ytterborn, CEO of the whole shebang, as well as Jarka himself.

The snow was amazing on Aspen Mountain, and we skied everywhere, from groomers to the steeps in Walsh's, quitting for lunch at the Ajax tavern, where I got to know Stefan and Josefin a bit.

Like most excellent companies, this one is headed up by open, interesting, creative thinkers. We had a wonderful lunch talking about art, food, skiing, dreams, family, and so much more. I was struck by the similarities in my experience skiing with the TREW crew the other day, the folks heading up the company are real, they love to ski, they are dedicated to their product and driven to make it the best. I was proud to be a part of POC before, I'm really psyched, now.

I spoke with Oskar a bit about how the R and D department at POC is different than at other companies, what sets them apart? Oskar spoke passionately about the process of research and development for POC, they have several doctors; a brain specialist, a spines specialist, a neurologist and a doctor who deals almost exclusively with skiing induced trauma. Then they have a team of engineers. This unorthodox group meets in a "ski lab" setting and builds product from the injury up: what kinds of injuries are we seeing, and what kind of protection would reduce or eliminate this kind of trauma?

The engineers listen to the doctors and come up with solutions to the real world problems that high impact athletes face.

The company is so out of the box and progressive that they even designed a concept car based on the crash and impact data that they have gathered over the years.

It was a wonderful day of skiing, a real treat to be able to say thank you to the guys driving the product that I live in every day, and really nice to make some new friendships.

There's a possibility that there may be some exciting things that come out of this relationship... stay tuned for some (truly unreal) developments!

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