Sam Sandiford

September 16 2021

Q&A with Eric Pollard

Hello Eric, welcome to the FW team! How are you doing?

I’m doing good, I’m a little all over the place, we’re at the beach with the kids right now.

Where abouts?

Right now I’m on the Oregon coast. I have been surfing with my family out here, we’ve been teaching my girls how to surf.

Have you enjoyed the summer? Are you looking forward to the fall?

Well, my little girl just said, “Daddy, when are we going to be skiing and snowboarding?” and I thought wow, you are ahead of me. So she’s definitely looking forward.[Laughs] I’ve been watching the leaves turning and I’m really looking forward to the change of season. In the fall the surf gets a lot better here, the winds shift. So the surf takes you right up until when the snow falls. I’ll be surfing my brains out until snow hits the ground and there’s enough to slide around on. Then I’ll start walking up into the hills near my house to ski and snowboard.

This partnership has been a long time in the making. Will you share some of the factors that led you to join up with us at FW?

First and foremost I’m at an interesting chapter in my life and I wanted to find a partner that understood what I’ve tried to offer up in my different roles, and how I could build on that foundation and continue to offer something new. You know, being a dad, and being a professional skier for a long time, but also trying my hand at a number of things that I got curious with over the years, I was looking for a partner that recognized those avenues that I’ve been diving into. Some companies may bring you on and say, “Oh, we want you to play the hits,” you know what I mean? Like, “try to be the person you were 10 years ago” and then you end up trying to perpetuate a persona. For me it was important to find someone to work with that would allow me to inspire product development, but also allow me the freedom to continue to evolve, and I found that in FW.

As a follow-up to that question, how do you identify today?

Oh man, today? [Laughs] You know it’s funny, I don’t know what I identify as. I’ve taken such deep dives into each little area. So if I’m working on a long film project, I feel like a film maker. You know, I’m not just moon lighting [laughs], I’m owning the direction of cinematography and the general arc of the story, and doing all of the sound design, and working through all of those elements... so I love those deep dives where I’m kind of living in that world for a bit. But then the next minute I’m thinking about the form and shape and general material structure and build-out of products, and so at that point I’ll feel like a product designer or something. But I think the thing that glues it all together is just sliding down the hill, I think that’s at the heart of everything.

Boardsports culture is at the root of FW. Your first experiences on snow were at Mount Hood, at a time when snowboarders far outnumbered skiers. Did observing snowboarders influence your unique skiing style? And if so, how do you navigate and perceive the mountain as a skier, snowboarder and surfer?

I think the cultures are all very different, but there’s a lot of similarities that I love. Snowboarding has been a massive influence on me. Growing up, a large portion of my friends were doing it, so then obviously I started doing it too. Later on when I was skiing, I would transpose maneuvers... like, I watched Peter Line do a backside rodeo and I thought, how do I translate that to skis? And I would just try to work through it and figure it out. I did that with a lot of snowboarding maneuvers. From surfing, it would be certain turns. Like, is there a way to make a turn on snow in the way that I was seeing it done on a surfboard? So a lot of what I’m doing on skis has come directly from boardsports. As another example, when it comes to the actual sensations themselves, like the lift you get on a snowboard when you’re riding through fresh snow...that’s radically different than skiing. I’ve spent a long time trying to revise skis to make them feel more like snowboards.

We’re big fans of what yourself and Austin are creating at Season, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to launch this brand?

Similar to the way that I enjoy revising products, I had a lot of critiques and revisions that I wanted to make to a brand approach, and how to offer up skiing and snowboarding on equal footing. That was the foundational element of Season. Like, couldn’t we bring these things together and not partition them in the way that every other company has done? Austin and I aligned on that and put together a team to execute on it, and it’s been an amazing project to be a part of.

When we first started talking, we realized there were some deep parallels between FW and the Season brand, especially with underlying themes of simplicity and longevity. Can you explain why these themes are important to you?

Going back to that last question about Season, at the beginning we were asking: what are the big things we would do differently? And it boiled down to: how do we focus on doing less, better? Instead of coming up with 40 different models with minute differences, could we distill it, and that came down to the idea of simplicity, which I think we align on. With longevity, how could we support the idea of trying to get people to hold onto their equipment for longer? Maybe we service it, or do whatever we can to keep it on the hill for longer. We want to encourage people to not buy season-in and season-out. So there’s a few disruptive ideas there, not the least of which was having skiing and snowboarding in common. Those ideas seem to be embodied in FW as well and I’m happy to find a partner that I feel very strongly about.

You are very intentional in all that you do. Can you explain what this new partnership with FW represents to you and your vision for the future?

It’s difficult to have a succinct answer to that question because I think it’s somewhat open-ended. I’ve always followed my nose, and I’m someone who likes to tinker with products, and is curious about trying to revise things and make them better—not to overuse those words. But those are some of the things that have led me throughout my life and have pulled me into the different realms of design work, product design, filmmaking or just skiing and snowboarding in general. I wanted a partner who would allow me that curiosity, especially being someone who has a lot of stuff going on. You know, I’m the creative director of [Season] and that is a lot of work in and of itself, and I’m also working in a few other roles with the brand... I’m kind of like a Swiss Army knife. And I have a couple of girls who I really want to bring into the culture of surfing and snowboarding and skiing. So I needed to find a partner who would allow me the freedom to follow these things that are massive priorities in my life. At the same time, I wanted to engage and give back to the community that has given me so much. To me, FW is a chance for me to continue to give back to the sports that I love, and to be a part of the culture in a new capacity.

Are there any principles or mantras that serve as guide posts for you day-to-day?

Probably quite a few. All those things that you hear when you’re young, all those sayings that seem so cliché and lame, they all start to ring true when you’re older. “Stop and smell the roses” those sorts of things. It’s funny but you start to recognize why those sayings are so widely held. The one I was brought up with, that my father instilled in me, and I’m paraphrasing from Joseph Campbell, is: follow your bliss. For me, it’s the idea of giving yourself over to whatever interests you, and the form will follow. The interest itself will be the thing that carries you forward. I tend to do that, I take a step towards something that interests me, and if it starts to intrigue me I’ll take another step forward. If I lose interest I’ll take a step back.

What should the world expect next from Eric Pollard?

Hmm, I don’t know the answer to that. And I typically don’t have an answer to that question throughout the years. I’m a very project-driven guy. I’m generally parallel-pathing a lot of projects with equipment development and graphic design and film making. I guess the most recent stuff that’s coming out is all related to Season. I was able to spend the last winter behind the lens, both still and motion, and kind of point the cameras towards my immediate community, and that was really fun. It was something I’d wanted to do...‘cause I’ve been kind of directing cinematography and photography for a long time, which sounds a bit grandiose, but basically I’ve had a lot of ideas, but I’ve been the skier. I’ve had to work with many individuals and try to come into agreement of how we would shoot something, but when I’m behind the lens I get to make those decisions on the fly. So that’s what’s coming next from me, but it’s not stamped with my name or anything, it was just a way for me work with individuals from the community and capture the way they approach snowboarding and skiing.
I also really want to ski with my dad. That’s the next thing I’d like to do. One of the amazing parts of the chapter I’m in is that I’m not globe trotting and living out of a suitcase nonstop — partly because of the pandemic and partly because of the fact that I have two young girls that I like to try to be around as much as possible. I’ve been able to ski with all the friends I grew up snowboarding and skiing with, and I’ve been able to ride a bit more with my parents. So I’ve been dreaming of a project with my dad. He used to live in Austria, he was a ski instructor there and he wants to go back and ski. He’s 75 now and he’s waiting for a new hip. I think there’s something there... I want to show that passion, what it looks like from the frame of mind of a 75-year-old. I think that’s very inspiring.



Hello Eric, welcome to the FW team! How are you doing?

I’m doing good, I’m a little all over the place, we’re at the beach with the kids right now.

Where abouts?

Right now I’m on the Oregon coast. I have been surfing with my family out here, we’ve been teaching my girls how to surf.

Have you enjoyed the summer? Are you looking forward to the fall?

Well, my little girl just said, “Daddy, when are we going to be skiing and snowboarding?” and I thought wow, you are ahead of me. So she’s definitely looking forward.[Laughs] I’ve been watching the leaves turning and I’m really looking forward to the change of season. In the fall the surf gets a lot better here, the winds shift. So the surf takes you right up until when the snow falls. I’ll be surfing my brains out until snow hits the ground and there’s enough to slide around on. Then I’ll start walking up into the hills near my house to ski and snowboard.

This partnership has been a long time in the making. Will you share some of the factors that led you to join up with us at FW?

First and foremost I’m at an interesting chapter in my life and I wanted to find a partner that understood what I’ve tried to offer up in my different roles, and how I could build on that foundation and continue to offer something new. You know, being a dad, and being a professional skier for a long time, but also trying my hand at a number of things that I got curious with over the years, I was looking for a partner that recognized those avenues that I’ve been diving into. Some companies may bring you on and say, “Oh, we want you to play the hits,” you know what I mean? Like, “try to be the person you were 10 years ago” and then you end up trying to perpetuate a persona. For me it was important to find someone to work with that would allow me to inspire product development, but also allow me the freedom to continue to evolve, and I found that in FW.

As a follow-up to that question, how do you identify today?

Oh man, today? [Laughs] You know it’s funny, I don’t know what I identify as. I’ve taken such deep dives into each little area. So if I’m working on a long film project, I feel like a film maker. You know, I’m not just moon lighting [laughs], I’m owning the direction of cinematography and the general arc of the story, and doing all of the sound design, and working through all of those elements... so I love those deep dives where I’m kind of living in that world for a bit. But then the next minute I’m thinking about the form and shape and general material structure and build-out of products, and so at that point I’ll feel like a product designer or something. But I think the thing that glues it all together is just sliding down the hill, I think that’s at the heart of everything.

Boardsports culture is at the root of FW. Your first experiences on snow were at Mount Hood, at a time when snowboarders far outnumbered skiers. Did observing snowboarders influence your unique skiing style? And if so, how do you navigate and perceive the mountain as a skier, snowboarder and surfer?

I think the cultures are all very different, but there’s a lot of similarities that I love. Snowboarding has been a massive influence on me. Growing up, a large portion of my friends were doing it, so then obviously I started doing it too. Later on when I was skiing, I would transpose maneuvers... like, I watched Peter Line do a backside rodeo and I thought, how do I translate that to skis? And I would just try to work through it and figure it out. I did that with a lot of snowboarding maneuvers. From surfing, it would be certain turns. Like, is there a way to make a turn on snow in the way that I was seeing it done on a surfboard? So a lot of what I’m doing on skis has come directly from boardsports. As another example, when it comes to the actual sensations themselves, like the lift you get on a snowboard when you’re riding through fresh snow...that’s radically different than skiing. I’ve spent a long time trying to revise skis to make them feel more like snowboards.

We’re big fans of what yourself and Austin are creating at Season, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to launch this brand?

Similar to the way that I enjoy revising products, I had a lot of critiques and revisions that I wanted to make to a brand approach, and how to offer up skiing and snowboarding on equal footing. That was the foundational element of Season. Like, couldn’t we bring these things together and not partition them in the way that every other company has done? Austin and I aligned on that and put together a team to execute on it, and it’s been an amazing project to be a part of.

When we first started talking, we realized there were some deep parallels between FW and the Season brand, especially with underlying themes of simplicity and longevity. Can you explain why these themes are important to you?

Going back to that last question about Season, at the beginning we were asking: what are the big things we would do differently? And it boiled down to: how do we focus on doing less, better? Instead of coming up with 40 different models with minute differences, could we distill it, and that came down to the idea of simplicity, which I think we align on. With longevity, how could we support the idea of trying to get people to hold onto their equipment for longer? Maybe we service it, or do whatever we can to keep it on the hill for longer. We want to encourage people to not buy season-in and season-out. So there’s a few disruptive ideas there, not the least of which was having skiing and snowboarding in common. Those ideas seem to be embodied in FW as well and I’m happy to find a partner that I feel very strongly about.

You are very intentional in all that you do. Can you explain what this new partnership with FW represents to you and your vision for the future?

It’s difficult to have a succinct answer to that question because I think it’s somewhat open-ended. I’ve always followed my nose, and I’m someone who likes to tinker with products, and is curious about trying to revise things and make them better—not to overuse those words. But those are some of the things that have led me throughout my life and have pulled me into the different realms of design work, product design, filmmaking or just skiing and snowboarding in general. I wanted a partner who would allow me that curiosity, especially being someone who has a lot of stuff going on. You know, I’m the creative director of [Season] and that is a lot of work in and of itself, and I’m also working in a few other roles with the brand... I’m kind of like a Swiss Army knife. And I have a couple of girls who I really want to bring into the culture of surfing and snowboarding and skiing. So I needed to find a partner who would allow me the freedom to follow these things that are massive priorities in my life. At the same time, I wanted to engage and give back to the community that has given me so much. To me, FW is a chance for me to continue to give back to the sports that I love, and to be a part of the culture in a new capacity.

Are there any principles or mantras that serve as guide posts for you day-to-day?

Probably quite a few. All those things that you hear when you’re young, all those sayings that seem so cliché and lame, they all start to ring true when you’re older. “Stop and smell the roses” those sorts of things. It’s funny but you start to recognize why those sayings are so widely held. The one I was brought up with, that my father instilled in me, and I’m paraphrasing from Joseph Campbell, is: follow your bliss. For me, it’s the idea of giving yourself over to whatever interests you, and the form will follow. The interest itself will be the thing that carries you forward. I tend to do that, I take a step towards something that interests me, and if it starts to intrigue me I’ll take another step forward. If I lose interest I’ll take a step back.

What should the world expect next from Eric Pollard?

Hmm, I don’t know the answer to that. And I typically don’t have an answer to that question throughout the years. I’m a very project-driven guy. I’m generally parallel-pathing a lot of projects with equipment development and graphic design and film making. I guess the most recent stuff that’s coming out is all related to Season. I was able to spend the last winter behind the lens, both still and motion, and kind of point the cameras towards my immediate community, and that was really fun. It was something I’d wanted to do...‘cause I’ve been kind of directing cinematography and photography for a long time, which sounds a bit grandiose, but basically I’ve had a lot of ideas, but I’ve been the skier. I’ve had to work with many individuals and try to come into agreement of how we would shoot something, but when I’m behind the lens I get to make those decisions on the fly. So that’s what’s coming next from me, but it’s not stamped with my name or anything, it was just a way for me work with individuals from the community and capture the way they approach snowboarding and skiing.
I also really want to ski with my dad. That’s the next thing I’d like to do. One of the amazing parts of the chapter I’m in is that I’m not globe trotting and living out of a suitcase nonstop — partly because of the pandemic and partly because of the fact that I have two young girls that I like to try to be around as much as possible. I’ve been able to ski with all the friends I grew up snowboarding and skiing with, and I’ve been able to ride a bit more with my parents. So I’ve been dreaming of a project with my dad. He used to live in Austria, he was a ski instructor there and he wants to go back and ski. He’s 75 now and he’s waiting for a new hip. I think there’s something there... I want to show that passion, what it looks like from the frame of mind of a 75-year-old. I think that’s very inspiring.



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