In 2008, Vermont-native Corinne Prevot—just 16-years-old—began the handmade hat production that would grow into her winter headwear and accessories company, Skida. After being disappointed by available options for headwear while skiing at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont, Prevot decided to sew one herself. Prevot wanted something that combined fashion and function, so she worked to design a hat that was both bright and colorful and that performed well for cross-country skiing.
Her friends, teammates, and the great skiing community quickly took notice of the hats sporting funky and fun prints and started asking Prevot to make hats for them. That positive response from the community is what sparked Prevot to continue her business.
Prevot went from selling these hand-sewn hats for a few dollars to creating a handmade, locally manufactured headwear and accessories company. By the time Prevot graduated from Burke and began attending Middlebury College, demand for her products had increased, so Prevot continued to run her business while studying and racing on Middlebury’s D1 ski team.
Skida has since moved to Burlington, Vt., where it has continued to grow with eight full-time team members and six part-time team members. The company’s seamstresses work from home, just two hours away from Skida headquarters. For Fall/Winter 2020, Prevot released one of her most personal collections to date—headwear and accessories influenced by the life and legacy of her late Aunt Ilse.
Ilse Prevot was known by those who loved her as an adventurous spirit and a dedicated skier. In 1963, Ilse picked up her life and moved to France for her senior year of high school to follow her passion for ski racing. She went on to University in Grenoble and attained French citizenship. After her time in Grenoble, she moved to the Alps to pursue ski racing and instructing.
“We always heard these tales of her adventures at a young age,” remembers Corinne. “She became a ski instructor, which in France is an extremely rigorous program. To be a certified ski instructor you have to go through years of training.”
Ilse went on to start her own ski guiding business that members of the Prevot family continue to run today. In 2003, Ilse tragically lost her life in an avalanche while guiding a tour in Switzerland. Years after her death, the stories and memories of Ilse’s pioneering mentality and adventurous spirit continue to inspire Prevot and her business.
Prevot says that after Ilse’s and her Grandmother’s passing, going through her families memorabilia showed Prevot just how incredible Ilse’s life was.
“When my Grandmother died, I grabbed some photos from her mantle of Ilse hiking around with her skis on her back wearing these big ’80s sunglasses and dressed in a pink sweatshirt,” says Prevot. “She is on some knife-ridge on the Alps and the photo has this really playful, light-hearted spirit to it. But what she was doing pretty wild in retrospect.”
Prevot gained inspiration from the courageous spirit of her late aunt for her own endeavors. Skida is a primarily female-focused company both in its target demographics and its company leaders and employees. The encouragement of female entrepreneurship and leadership is mirrored in both Corinne and Ilse’s stories.
Neither Corrine nor Ilse let the idea of working and innovating in predominantly male industries affect them. According to Prevot, Ilse was a pioneer in the “epitome of a male-dominated industry.” Now Prevot is following in those footsteps.
“Obviously there is a big learning curve and there are a lot of things that you have to fight for, but more often than not, people are very supportive,” Prevot says of working in the ski industry. “I like to think that I have had a positive experience rather than a negative one as a young female.”
Learn more about the new collection from Skida on their website.