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Ski Reviews

Eric Pollard Is Known For His Crazy Ski Designs. His New Skis Are Just the Opposite

With Season Eqpt, Pollard returns to the basics with skis that focus on broad-application versatility.

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After designing some 50 ski models for Line over his 22-year run as a sponsored athlete, Eric Pollard had an epiphany: The world didn’t need any more skis. “There are a lot of great options out there already,” he explains. Pollard himself helped launch many of them.

As a collaborative designer for Line, he pioneered the superfat trend back in 2001 with 130-millimeter-waisted boards such as the now iconic Line Pescado (a swallow-tailed powder ski); he bucked the directional status quo by developing “switch” models that performed equally well when skiing in reverse; he even cultivated the current infatuation with elaborate topsheet graphics. (Pollard was the first to create illustrations that spanned both skis—an aesthetic approach that’s since become commonplace).

After contributing to the hedonistic cycle of designing skis for more than two decades, Pollard craved an alternative ski universe, one where skis aren’t redesigned every few years just because that’s what the marketing cycle dictates.

“I was on this treadmill of create a new graphic, market that graphic,” he says. “I wanted off the ride.”

So in 2020, Pollard teamed up with pro snowboarder Austin Smith (of Nitro) and engineering guru Andy Hyjtan (of Armada and Line) to launch Season Eqpt., a start-up ski brand headquartered in Mount Hood, Oregon. The indie brand issued a boldly atypical proposition: Buy our skis or snowboards (Season produces both to unite two core audiences), and you won’t need or want to replace them anytime soon.

Season Equipment skis
Season Equipment makes just five models of skis and carries them over into snowboard designs. (Photo: Courtesy of Season Eqpt. )

To build skis made to last, Pollard looked to trusted manufacturers and secured a production contract with the Amer Sports ski factory in Altenmarkt, Austria, which produces skis for Atomic and Salomon. Season’s product line spans just five models of skis—the twin-tipped Kin, on-piste Aero, all-mountain Nexus, pow-ready Forma, and backcountry-oriented Pass (new for 2023).

Related: Read our deep-dive review of the Season Pass backcountry ski

Each incorporates tried-and-true materials and construction methods, including beefy sidewalls with caruba wood cores (for long-lived energy), and fiberglass that hits the middle ground for playfulness and drive.

“We’re not using crazy materials or a lot of experimentation,” says Pollard.

Instead, the emphasis is on broad-application versatility, which Pollard acknowledges is a major departure from his youthful infatuation with fringe designs.

2023 Season Eqpt Pass
Pollard chose a simple black topsheet for all five ski models in an effort to simplify the design and marketing cycle. (Photo: Courtesy Season Eqpt)

Visually, the stark, all-black Season planks look like nothing else on the market, because their only embellishment comes from a subtle logo and laser etching in the topsheet. As for the color? Pollard chose black because it seemed like a shade that he could live with for a long time. It’s also an aesthetic reference to the time-tested 35mm Leica camera (Pollard is a photographer and videographer). Like that basic black camera, Season skis are not intended to be pieces of art themselves, but rather tools to help riders create artistry on snow.

What you see with Season is what you get: Five skis and boards, with no additional models in the pipeline—though Season may make updates to existing models, particularly if emerging materials or construction processes promise greater longevity. The boards may not be flashy, but they’re utilitarian, and that’s the point.

Season is banking on you loving your skis so much, you’ll keep them in rotation with the help of Evo, the brand’s sole U.S. retailer and partner in repair: Every Season model comes with a lifetime of free maintenance from Evo’s techs.

“We want to keep these products on the hill, season in and season out,” says Pollard. “Like a Toyota.”

 

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