Skida Brings Joy, Love, and Compassion to the Winter Apparel Industry
STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY SKIDA
From the early days of her childhood, Skida’s founder Corinne Prevot’s life has always been defined by her two most beloved passions: skiing and fabrics. Corinne’s lifelong love affair with textiles began in preschool, where she began to hone her prodigious stitchwork skills through a series of increasingly complex hobby projects. At four years old, she was sewing buttons onto cloth. In elementary school, she was creating her own curtains by combining multiple types of fabric together. As her creative repertoire expanded to include inventive items such as homemade fleece pants and handmade wallets, her athletic talents were also rapidly progressing.
Corinne first stepped into a pair of skis at the age of two and began to develop and refine her athletic capabilities during subsequent family expeditions to Burke Mountain. After becoming increasingly enamored with Vermont ski culture over the course of multiple winter vacations, she decided that she wanted to attend Burke Mountain Academy and participate in their ski program. Although she had initially trained as an alpine skier, she made a calculated switch to Nordic skiing during her time at Burke due to her excellent physical endurance.
The aerobic intensity of her newly chosen winter sports discipline required headwear that was both
breathable and warm. As Corinne searched far and wide for a stylish winter hat that was suitable for athletic competition, she observed a noticeable dearth of colorful and eye-catching headwear
products. In her sophomore year of high school, she made a decision that would change the course of her life forever. She purchased some Lycra® fabric from a nearby craft shop in Lyndonville and created her first run of winter hats for her teammates at Burke.
Word of Corinne’s colorful hats soon spread throughout the Northeastern high school ski circuit like wildfire. According to Skida’s Communications Strategist Eliza Nixon, that’s when everything started to fall into place. “Competing skiers from other schools saw Corinne’s hats and wanted their own. The buzz just snowballed from there. It was a really organic growth pattern that allowed the business to naturally develop at a sustainable pace.”
After graduating from Burke Mountain Academy, Corinne attended Middlebury College, where she continued to run Skida with the help of her mother while maintaining a rigorous academic course load. While enrolled at Middlebury, Corinne became creatively inspired by the Nepalese tradition of ornamentally-patterned “Topi” hats. Eliza reveals that Corinne’s interest in Himalayan aesthetics led to the development of one of Skida’s most celebrated product lines. “Our cashmere line came as the direct result of the business relationships that Corinne built with local manufacturers during the time that she spent studying abroad in Nepal. We still source some of the materials that we use for our cashmere product line from those suppliers to this day.”
Eliza adds that the cultural and aesthetic influence of Nordic ski culture also helped to define the Skida brand from its inception. “Our Nordic hats are our original flagship products. They pay homage to the Nordic ski culture. The word ‘Skida’ comes from the Swedish word for ‘Ski’ – as in ‘to go for a ski.’ Over the years, Skida’s product range has expanded past the original ‘Nordic’ hats to include a variety of products, including neck-warmers, beanies, cashmere cowls and shawls, and more. Many of our products are designed for different activities. Our ‘Alpine’ product line is meant for colder pursuits. They have a fleece lining on the inside that keeps you nice and cozy while still offering breathability. The Nordic line has the same outer layer, but it doesn’t have an inner fleece lining. The Nordic line is great for Nordic skiing, hiking, and other active pursuits. They’re the perfect way to stay warm and dry while you’re working up a sweat on the snowy slopes.”
After Corinne received her degree from Middlebury College in 2013, she headed north to Burlington, where she rented office space on Pine Street for two years before relocating to Skida’s current location on Kilburn Street. After planting firm roots in the Burlington business community, Skida continued to broaden its presence in the winter sportswear market in the years that followed. With products currently available for sale in over 300 retail stores all around the country, Skida has now become one of Vermont’s most successful brands. Eliza believes the secret to the company’s sustained success lies in its adherence to small business values. “I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘corporate’ when talking about Skida’s work culture. We’ve got a growing team, but it always feels like everyone has autonomy. Everyone has a voice. Everyone’s opinion is equally weighted. The workspace is really bright, inviting, and colorful. We also have a few dogs that our employees bring in who love to hang out around our office building. Those kinds of things really help people feel at home when they’re at work here. It all goes back to Skida’s philosophy of holistic integrity. Our fulfillment and our offices are in the same space, so you see everything that’s happening. Our team is incredibly well-connected and tuned in. Everyone cares for each other, respects each other, and looks out for each other. It might sound cheesy, but we really feel like a family here. It’s a special place to work.”
Skida’s community-minded business practices are further manifested in their collaborative efforts with other independently-owned companies and charitable organizations. A recent collaboration with Vermont Glove yielded a comfortably-chic “Country Mitt” that seamlessly integrated Skida’s fleece lining with Vermont Glove’s durable and timeless goat leather shell. A paracord cinch strap on the wrist adds a delightfully charming touch of colorful Skida flair.
The distinctive “RCS Arcs” print collection was made in collaboration with World Cup alpine ski racer and native Vermonter Ryan Cochran-Siegle. It came as the direct result of Skida’s athletic sponsorship program. Eliza explains that “40% of the proceeds from the collaborative prints we make with the skiers we work with directly cover whatever racing costs they may incur during the season. Skida sponsors a few skiers through a print collaboration each winter, so for this season, we are collaborating with Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Sophie Caldwell, and Paula Moltzan. Skida also collaborates with the Vermont chapter of the High Fives Foundation – which helps to provide resources to survivors of life-changing injuries – and ‘Little Bellas,’ which is a female mountain bike mentoring organization that was founded with help from Vermont-born Olympic mountain bike racer Lea Davison. Our recent partnership with the ‘Legion of LA’ bike team out in California was incredibly special to us. They’re an elite cycling team that is dedicated to the cause of advancing diversity in their athletic community. They’re working to break through cultural stigma, promote some diverse voices, and bring new people into the sport. We’re donating 40% of the proceeds from our print collaboration directly towards supporting them.”
Skida’s team members have also channeled their altruistic instincts into a series of heartwarming philanthropic healthcare initiatives. A stellar example is their celebrated Skida [+1] program, which donates hats to people who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. In addition to providing a joyful and cozy source of comfort for cancer patients all across the nation, Skida has simultaneously helped frontline medical workers solve an all-too-common workplace problem with their innovative and timely “Helper Headband” line. Eliza divulges that “the idea for the helper headbands actually came from nurses and doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. They started sewing buttons onto the sides of their headbands to hold the elastic loops of the facemasks so that their ears didn’t have as much pressure on them during long shifts. We decided to start producing them in large quantities to help get this product out to more frontline workers, and the response was incredible. It felt amazing to be able to help the doctors and nurses who work so hard to make a daily difference in our lives.” Skida’s generosity also extends to the local Vermont community. After Skida debuted their facemask line in 2020, they chose to donate a portion of their mask sales to the Vermont Food Bank for the month of December. Eliza says that the decision was made due to the fact that Skida’s employees “thought that it was incredibly important to support a local organization that was helping to protect Vermonters in need. Our ‘Vermont values’ run very deep, both for our employees and our business as a whole. We’re incredibly proud of our Vermont roots. All of our products in our main ‘Vermont Collection’ are locally produced in Vermont. We try to work with local companies as much as we can. We feel like it’s the right way to run a business and support our community. We’re also incredibly proud to be a female-founded business. It’s all been built off of the hard work of Corinne and the entire Skida team.”