The Trendsetter, 40
Stocky and cocksure, Bruno Bertrand is a guy who gets paid to see what others don't. Now the sports marketing manager for Salomon's ultrahip alpine ski division, he's predicted and nurtured practically every trend in the ski industry for the last decade. After a dozen-year stint on the French mogul team, he started Skieur magazine. On its pages, Bertrand was the first to tout shaped skis—and he prognosticated the fat-ski era two years before it went off. "I went up to Valdez, Alaska, and at the time, the saying was 'fatties are for oldies,' he recalls, "but I looked at these Atomic Heli Dogs and—I'm no old fatty yet, but I'll take the fatties for oldies. That's when Salomon tapped him to be a ski-industry seer—and he promptly started championing a fledgling event called skiercross. He assembled the most dominant skiercross team (including Aleisha Cline and Xavier Kuhn), organized the Saab Solomon CrossMax tour for them to compete on, and helped design the CrossMax line (skis, boots, bindings, poles, clothes, helmets, gloves, and bibs) for them to win in. The result? Hard-charging skis are now among the hottest new products. "I'm not so smart, but I know the people who are pushing, he says. "You cannot come from the outside and become an expert on this type of thing.
The Vision: "The jibber is coming out of the park and into the backcountry. What Seth Morrison is doing—new school tricks in the backcountry—is the next trend. After that, I think I know, but I can't say yet.