SNOWBOUND: Snowmaking has given way to actual snowfall, and skiers have a new label — Orsden — to test out on the slopes.
The direct-to-consumer performance-oriented outerwear was launched by Sara Segall and her husband Steven, a former competitive collegiate skier at Colgate University. Shopping for high-performance, stylish ski jackets two years ago, they were dismayed by the lack of options that retailed for under $600 and started exploring how to launch their own company. In April, she resigned from her day job in brand development at Revlon to focus on Orsden. Her husband and cofounder continues to work full-time as a strategic consultant.
Pronounced “orse-den,” the name is derivative of the French term for snow bear, “ours de neige,” a mythical creature that is believed to combine toughness and playfulness. The company uses Stratton Mountain, southern Vermont’s highest peak with 97 trails and a lively resort village that is popular with the New York crowd, as its home mountain. Orsden also has a New York office. But this week the Segalls are in Utah at Alta Ski Area for a photo shoot. They also hosted an après-ski event and pop-up shop Sunday at the Alta Peruvian Lodge.
In the next 12 months Orsden expects to sell 2,000 units of women’s and men’s ski jackets and 1,000 units of ski pants. Some of the ski jackets’ performance features include five pockets, internal stretch cuffs with thumbholes, zippered underarm vents and an adjustable hood. They are made of four-way stretch, waterproof, breathable materials to help keep wearers out on the slopes.
Orsden is one of the latest additions to the $1.88 billion snow sports outerwear industry. The company’s founders pegged the average specialty shop retail margin as 47 percent, and said the savings are passed along through their e-commerce model. Both the women’s “Lift” jacket and the men’s ”Slope” style retail for $330. Orson will start preselling $200 ski pants later next month and they will officially be launched next ski season.
The site also features interviews with Skiing Hall of Fame inductee Gretchen Rous Besser, a Q&A with freeride skier Claudia Aliaga, workout tips for slope-ready strength and an Orsden’s Skier Gift Guide. Readers will also find Ski Layover information for Waterbury, Vt., Portland, Maine and Santiago, Chile — all useful info for this winter’s inevitable extended stays, due to inclement weather.