Founder Jason Levinthal once said that the ethos of Line is, “going down the mountain in a different way.” Take one look at the company’s products, advertising, or history, and it is clear that Line doesn’t just talk it, they live it.
Levinthal founded Line 1995 while studying product and graphic design at the University of Buffalo. He was frustrated with the rigid nature of skiing, especially compared to America’s newest fad, snowboarding. While the riders pushed counterculture and youth, skiing was beginning to look like a sport for curmudgeons and elites. After graduation, Levinthal decided to devote all his time to creating a new type of ski–one that would allow for the same type of creativity as snowboards.
Line’s first factory was the Levinthal family garage in Albany, New York. There, the twenty-one-year-old Levinthal crafted prototype after prototype of what would come to be known as skiboards, and eventually, twin-tipped skis.
Check out: Skiboards: Bored? SkiBoard!
After a stagnant first year, Line received acclaim when multinational skiing mainstays began to produce skiboards as a novelty. That same year, 1997, Line received the first-ever patent for twin tip skis. After placing two team members—Mike Nick and Levinthal—on the podium for the inaugural “skiboard slopestyle” event at Winter X Games 1998, Line quickly developed the reputation of an athlete-driven, every-man brand at the forefront of newschool skiing.
The first Line ski model that resembles modern twin tip skis came in 1998 under the joint guidance of Levinthal and professional Kris Ostness. Ostness wanted a ski optimized for freestyle tricks, but long enough to tackle the powder of the backcountry (which was, at the time, the only place that a skier could access kickers). Together, the two designed the Ostness Dragon—a 193 centimeter, center set-mounted twin tip ski that paved the way for today’s models.
Ostness was one of the first major names in freeskiing to join Line’s team, starting a tradition that includes some of the sport’s most innovative minds and talented bodies. Eric Pollard has been with the company since the turn of the century, and his unique designs remain some of Line’s most popular models. Tom Wallisch, one of the first to build a following through the internet instead of the competition circuit, is one of the most accomplished skiers ever. Andy Parry and Will Wesson, creators of the ingenious Traveling Circus, have built a cult-like following by traveling the world in a beat-up yellow van and filming videos that are as funny as they are impressive.
Line has become one of freesking's most recognizable brands, but hasn’t lost the carefree attitude that comes from a kid building skis in his parents' garage—even after Levinthal left in 2013 to start a new venture.
Today, Line is a subsidiary of K2, operating out of their headquarters in Seattle and produce skis in K2’s Chinese factory. The company embodies the creativity and upstart nature of freeskiing, something that is unlikely to change even in an ever-shifting industry.
Learn more about Line on their website