Pro skier Lynsey Dyer wasn’t necessarily looking for a new ski sponsor. But when boutique ski maker Sego Ski Co. opened a new 5,000-square-foot warehouse and showroom literally steps from her house in Victor, Idaho—just over Teton Pass from the ski hub of Jackson Hole, Wyoming—Dyer couldn’t help but wander in.
“When the Sego guys literally moved in next door I took it as a sign,” Dyer says. “I’d spent years being told ‘maybe next year’ from various ski brands I’d worked with when I would ask manufacturers about pushing a women’s ski with higher-end technologies and materials. I’d tried a lot of skis but my dream ski still hadn’t been made.”
Luckily, Sego CEO and co-founder Tim Wells happened to be in the shop when Dyer walked in. They got to talking and eventually, Dyer joined the brand’s growing team of athletes and Wells offered her the chance to finally make that dream ski.
“We started talking and we got her on some of our skis,” says Wells, who launched Sego with his brother, Peter, in the fall of 2014. “We wanted to give her control and empower her to be the decision maker. We really do care what Lynsey thinks about the skis—she had complete signoff with the construction and design.”
Dyer would test a prototype on the mountain and give her feedback on the ski’s shape, materials, flex and more. Within a week Sego churned out a new prototype incorporating her feedback. This was possible because all of their skis are produced in-house, in that warehouse in the heart of the Tetons.
After much fine-tuning, they arrived at Dyer’s perfect setup. Since Dyer majored in graphic design in college, she was also able to create the topsheet graphics for the skis. The colorful illustrations were inspired by her love of rainbows and unicorns, the emblems of her film company, Unicorn Picnic Productions, where she produced an all-women’s ski film called “Pretty Faces” in 2014.
Sego now has seven models of skis, including the two new women’s models that debuted this fall, thanks to Dyer. The UP Pro, named for Unicorn Picnic, is a wide 110mm-waisted ski built for powder, crud and big-mountain shredding in the West. The Gnarwhal, named after the unicorn of the sea, is a slightly narrower, 98mm-waisted all-mountain tool that’s nimble and geared toward intermediate to expert skiers.
“Sometimes as athletes we don’t have as much say in product development as we’d like, but with a smaller brand like Sego there’s no bureaucracy, there’s only heart and ski passion,” adds Dyer. “The Sego guys are super skiers and I love that about them. Plus, they love the community as much as I do.”
Source: REI Blog