Wednesday, August 28, 2013
We hadn't either, until Terry sent us some...
What we have here, is essentially a White Gold wax, with ten times (10x) the active ingredients as "regular" White Gold (which was already, super duper extra mega crazy fast and insanely responsive).
Anyone wanna guess how incredibly quick this stuff will be....?!
Terry Hertel. The guy that never stops innovating.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
For the past few seasons, I've thoroughly enjoyed my position as the team manager of one of the smallest, most elusive, most mysterious, most underground, and most secretive ski and snowboard teams ever assembled. In fact, some may say that I've enjoyed it a little too much... and why not?! I seriously have one of the best jobs in the whole world...! Scouting talent, designing graphics, shipping packages to some of the coolest people that I'll ever have the pleasure of knowing- it's a great gig that I've got here, and I wouldn't give it up for the whole wide world...!
In order to celebrate all that the team has accomplished over the past few seasons, I've decided to write a short anthology of "The Jolly Roger Program" (aka, the Hertel amateur team). As the team manager, I'd also like to take a few moments to thank the guys, and the gals, for everything that they've brought to the team, and for their hard work. Here's to you...! -B.S.
When I first started brainstorming the concept for a factory-sponsored Hertel amateur team, I wanted to do something a little bit above and beyond the traditional “team” concept. Terry, for his part, probably would have preferred that the am team to be called something simple and logical, like “Team Hertel”. Actually, right from Day One, all of the team tees have had small “Team Hertel” logos on the front and back, as a little nod to our beloved boss.
But we also decided very early on, that we were all a little bit tired of the same 'ol, same 'ol, "Team Whatever" paradigm. So right off the bat, the consensus was that we had to have some completely separate name, and image, quite distinct and removed from the company. It was time to change the game, and try something new and different, and a bit more unrestrained uninhibited than your "typical" ski or snowboard team.
With that, the search for the right team, with the right concept, and the right name, was on...
2011/12, The First Jolly Rogers Season: Simple "Team Stripe" logo front, with the OG Skull and Crossbones Logo rear (with "Team Stripe" logo underneath), white on black colorway. Terry's objection to the "Team Stripe" logo lead to this logo only being used on the 2011/12 tees, and (mistakenly) used on some of the 2012/13 line. This is the only Jolly Rogers tee to not have any sort of saying, slogan, or soundbyte on the front.
More than anything else, I wanted to put together a team of really relatable guys and gals, that anyone and everyone could talk to, hang out with... and (if they chose to), emulate. The sad fact is that, most pros aren’t all that relatable to most people. Most people will never be a pro. Most people will never snowboard (or ski) like a pro. Most people will never make pro money, get pro perks, or live the pro lifestyle.
And this might be a personal bias here... but really, I’m far more inspired by the everyday rippers that I see at my local mountain, than I am by any pro.
What I really wanted to build, was a team of everyday rippers that anyone and everyone could be a part of. And, I wanted to have guys and gals on the team that truly wanted to be a part of it for the love of the pastime, the love of the product, and the love of the company, and the team. Money, after all, corrupts everything. But love is always the best reason to do something. Besides, pros get enough recognition as it is. I thought that it was time to give the amateurs a little bit of the spotlight for a change.
Considering that an “amateur”, strictly defined, is someone that does something purely for the love of it… I thought that sponsoring amateurs was by far, the best way to go.
And if “amateurs” are good… then fun, intelligent, relatable, clever, troublemaking amateurs must be even better! Right…?!
2011/2012 Late-Season Release: "Slay the mountains" (with "the Team Stripe" logo) on the front, with the "Heart and Dagger" (with the "Team Stripe" logo) on the rear, off-white on red colorway... this is the only red Jolly Rogers tee ever made. All Jolly Rogers tees are black from here on out. Terry's objection to the "Team Stripe" logo lead to this logo only being used on the 2011/12 tees, and (mistakenly) used on some of the 2012/13 line (see the OG, above).
Truth be told, I wasn’t immediately inspired by pirates, or by anything at all related to the seafaring life. My immediate inspiration was actually an infamous World War II fighter squadron (VF-17) that flew F4U Corsairs… and later, VF-84 and VF-103, which flew F-4 Phantoms, F-14 Tomcats, and F/A-18 Hornets... all bearing the “Jolly Rogers” insignia. Being the aviation buff that I am, these squadrons have always been the source of great aviation history, and even greater aviation stories. For the full anthology of “The Jolly Rogers” (the aviation variety), click the link below:
F4U Corsairs of Tommy Blackburn's original VF-17 "Jolly Rogers" squadron. Photo from Wikipedia.
F-4B Phantoms of VF-84's "Jolly Rogers". How badass is that...?! Photo from Wikipedia.
F-14 Tomcat in the definitive VF-84 "Jolly Rogers" paint scheme. Photo from Wikipedia.
It wasn’t until I started doing research for the annual “team tees”, that I became fully aware (and appreciative) of the pirates’ history and legacy surrounding The Jolly Roger (the seagoing variety).
As far as naming the team goes, it was a pretty simple leap of logic. Snowboards and skiers could easily be considered “flying pirates”, couldn’t they…? And, I liked the badass imagery of The Jolly Roger. The skull and crossbones motif pretty much says everything that needs to be said about this crew. Elaboration or explanation isn't really necessary.
With that, “Team Hertel” was out, and “The Jolly Rogers” were born.
2012/13 Season (I think): What we have here, is camera-ready artwork for the team stickers. You can't really can't have a team without team stickers, can you...?!
The most frequently asked question that I get (understandably enough) is, how exactly does one become a Jolly Roger…? It's actually not all that hard to do. Provided that you're the right kind of person, with the right mindset.
At first, we simply picked up longtime Hertel customers and supporters. Hertel customers tend to have the "right mindset", right from the get-go. Being Hertel customers means that they're already fairly far removed from the "mainstream" of wax users, most of whom still ride (and swear by) that crappy crud that our competition puts out year in and year out. Just by being Hertel customers, they're already bucking trends and breaking established "rules" by tirelessly supporting a small, American-made, underground, performance-minded company.
To recruit the first round of Rogers, we ran an impromptu contest (via Facebook), where prospective Rogers had to submit a short essay, explaining why they thought that they should be on the factory team. Later, the original team started recruiting fellow Rogers from their friends and acquaintances. The team grows a little bit each year, as more and Rogers bubble out of the woodwork, and join the original crew. We don't usually go looking for new Rogers; they tend to find us just fine.
We’re very particular about who makes the squad. Generally speaking, you don’t have to be the world’s best skier or snowboarder to make the team. It’s more of a mentality, a matter of perspective, an attitude, and a lifestyle. This team is more about bringing together kindred spirits, then it is about promoting a slippery and durable base lubricant.
The bottom line is that if you belong, then you’ll make the team. And if you belong, you’ll definitely know it.
2012/2013 Early-Season Release: "Slay The Mountains" (with the original "Team Stripe" logo), with the "Heart and Dagger" (with the "Team Stripe" logo) on the rear. This one had the new cream on black colorway, to replace the red colorway from the previous season.
This one should have had "New Logos" front and back, but a mix-up at the screener caused the "Team Stripe" to remain. This one introduced the website sleeve-screen in Cooper Black.
While The Jolly Rogers were originally intended to be a promotional tool for the company, the first mission for the original Rogers was to field-test the reformulated Racing 739 for the 2010/2011 season. This is one of the great perks of being a Roger: getting to ride the very best, new, unbeatable wax formulas before the general public gets their hands on 'em.
One of the first assignments for The Jolly Rogers, was field-testing the reformulated Racing 739. Getting our paws on Terry's newest brainstorms is always one of the neatest perks of being a Roger...!
Since that original lineup, The Rogers have also field-tested the top-secret “RacingPLUS+” (2011-2012), and the reformulated Spring Solution (2012-2013).
The Rogers do lots of other things as well. They promote their local scenes, and make tangible contributions to those scenes. They keep people stoked on snow sports, show folks how to tune up and wax their gear, and generally bring a fun, positive vibe to the mountain. Many Rogers have homegrown tuning shops, where they'll happily wax equipment for their families and friends. By bringing in new participants to snow sports, and by encouraging them to cut loose, be creative, and have fun, The Jolly Rogers insure that snow sports can stay happy, healthy, and fun for a long, long time.
2012/13 Season: "We'll poach your runs..." (with the "New Logo" team logo) on the front, with the "Top Hat" graphic (with the "New Logo") on the rear. Website sleeve-screen in Cooper Black. Cream on black colorway. Bleed (due to lackluster printing at the screen shop) caused the graphic to appear smudged. (We'll fix that for the upcoming re-release...)
2012/2013 (The "unauthorized" team tee): "Ask me about the fastest wax ever" (with the "New Logo") front, with the "OG Skull and Crossbones Logo" on the back (with the old "Team Stripe" logo). Website sleeve-screen in Cooper Black, white on black colorway. This one should have had "New Logos" on the front and back, but a mix-up at the screener caused the old "Team Stripe" to remain on the back.
Terry's objection to the "fastest wax ever" bit kept these from being the "regular" season tees this year. So we made a very limited run of these, and snuck them out to The Rogers as a late-season surprise release. It ended up being one of the most effective "team tees" ever made; I think that we all got asked a few thousand times, "So, what is the fastest wax ever, anyway...?!" (The answer? Hertel White Gold...!)
Every summer, every Roger gets an e-mail, unveiling the “team tees” for the upcoming season, and taking product requests for fall deliveries. Every Roger gets one, well-filled package every year, containing a crap-ton of exotic waxes, stickers, scrapers, base cleaners, or whatever other tuning supplies they may need… as well as a handful of that season’s “team tees”. Terry is also available all winter long, to send additional supplies as needed.
Kris' very first "team package". Note the hand-drawn skull-and-crossbones...! It's supposed to be fun, right...? Well then, let's have some fun with it, shall we...?!
The “team tees” change for every season (see the “team tee” chronology for details). So far, we’ve tended to run a couple of designs every year, just to keep things fresh and fun. Most of them are approved by Terry... but not all of them. “Unauthorized” Jolly Rogers tees have been made, just for troublemaking purposes. We’re pirates, after all. As pirates, breaking rules is just part of the gig.
Everybody on this crew lives to get busy, ride hard, ride often, cause trouble, wreck stuff, party hard.. and have a damn good time doing it. Because that’s what it’s all about. Right…?
New for 2013/14! The 2013/2014 (Unauthorized) Reissue: "Ask me about.." (New Logo) front, with a revised "OG Skull and Crossbones Logo" (New Logo) rear. White on black colorway.
For this year, the revised OG Skull and Crossbones logo has more symmetrical shadowing on the lower bones (previous OG's had more shading on the right bone, than on the left). Terry's objection to the "fastest wax ever" bit continues to keep this one extremely limited to only Hertel factory team riders.
In the past, the only people that were allowed to get Jolly Rogers/Team Hertel gear, were the team riders. In the spirit of inclusion, we've decided that, for the 2013/2014 season, we're going to make Jolly Rogers tees available to the general public on a very, very limited basis. That way, anybody that wants to rock a Jolly Rogers tee, can. These will be available exclusively through Tognar Toolworks, at www.tognar.com.
New for 2013/2014: :"Every mountain needs a resident badass" (New Logo) front, with the "Bones N' Dagger" (New Logo) rear. This year, these tees will be available to the team (as usual). But for the first time ever, this one will also be available to the general public, exclusively through Tognar Toolworks (www.tognar.com).
This crew grows slowly and steadily every year. This year, we unveiled the “Sponsor A Buddy” program- just to make sure that wherever and whenever The Rogers ride, nobody has to ride alone. Every year, new sponsorship requests and recruits trickle in. And every year, a couple more lucky guys and gals secure permanent places on the squad. Because once you’re a Roger, you’re a Roger for life. And just as The Jolly Rogers have stayed steadfastly loyal to Hertel, Hertel remains steadfastly committed to supporting The Jolly Rogers.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
A couple of years ago, we started to take a hard look at who the "typical" Hertel customer is. What we found out, is that the "typical" Hertel customer is hardly "typical" at all...
These are, by and far, people that truly appreciate high performance. These are skiers and snowboarders that are highly knowledgeable about the importance of regular maintenance and tuning (and oftentimes, know full well how to do it themselves). These are smart, inquisitive, and articulate people. These are people that understand what "structure", "beveling", and "overlays" are, and how they work (or don't work). And, they enjoy riding the very best that money can buy.
In this regard, we might consider the "average" Hertel customer a pretty typical "tech nerd".
The problem is, the average Hertel customer isn't quite that one-dimensional...
Truth is, there's another side to all of this. Once you get them out of the tuning room, and onto the mountain, you'll find that the "average" Hertel customer isn't quite your "average" snowboarder or skier, either. The average Hertel customer is the guy (or gal) that's up at 4 am, hiking into the backcountry, and getting their first drop on a fresh powder day before most "average" skiers and boarders have even had their first cup of coffee. These are people that are out hiking the terrain park in the driving rain, just to get those last hits in before the season ends. These are people that live to out-run the Ski Patrol at every available opportunity (until Ski Patrol gets their hands on some Hertel of their own, and evens up those odds... at which point, all bets are off). These are people that are passionate about what they do, and are dedicated to the art of having fun. And they don't mind breaking "the rules", or stirring up a little bit of trouble along the way. They're the black sheep, the rogues, and the badasses. But they're also some of the most capable, most competent, most experienced, and the most knowledgeable skiers and snowboarders on the entire mountain. This puts them right up there with "the best".
What we have here, is basically a smart and savvy group of outlaws. In a word, "pirates".
This was our first concept for a "Team Hertel". Definitely "cool enough". But still, not really what we had in mind. This graphic did make it to the fronts of the "Team" shirts, though. Just so everybody knows exactly who you are, and what you represent, from every possible angle. Stand tall, y'all.
This realization was the starting point of The Jolly Roger Project. Part "community outreach", part "research and development team", part "promotional and sales force", part "ski and snowboard club", and part "customer rewards"... The Jolly Rogers takes the old idea of what a "factory team" should be, and brings it fast-forward into a 2012 world.
Now, this is more like it...! This is the back-graphic of the "Team" tees. So, so boss.
In the past few weeks, there's been an intense interest in who The Jolly Rogers are, and what we're doing. Lots of people have signed up to be a part of the winning program. Before we start getting overwhelmed with requests, we wanted to point out that being a Jolly Roger is a pretty big responsibility. But, it's a responsibility that also comes with some pretty cool rewards.
Let's start with the "average" ski and snowboard team. These are basically people that get free gear, to ultimately do very little for their community. They essentially "promote a brand on the mountain", and that's about it. Which is cool, if you're the "average" company, with "average" customers, that wants to build an "average" team. Hertel, though, is none of these things.
We have several shirt designs for The Jolly Rogers. All badass, all distinctive, and all slightly different from each other. We'll probably use them all eventually, just to change things up from year to year.
The first and foremost goal of The Jolly Rogers, is to do "community outreach". These are the people that will put themselves out there, to make the world of skiing and snowboarding a better place for everybody. We're the guys and gals that will lend a hand to a newbie, and show them the ropes of making it down the mountain in one piece. We're the guys that will happily offer you a snack from our tailgating stash of cheeseburgers, brats, and pork chops in the parking lot. We're the ones that'll thank a Ski Patroller for their years of dedication and hard work, and give them a block of Racing FC739 as a "token of appreciation" present. We're the ones that'll give good gear advice to people that are doing the shopping, but not quite sure what they're looking for. It's all about spreading good vibes, sharing the know-how, giving back to the community that gave us so much, and promoting "the way it should be". Specifically, The Jolly Rogers are also huge proponents of wax use, in general. We know that something like 95% of the ski and snowboard universe just doesn't bother to wax their gear, and that's a travesty. Getting these people onto a wax- any wax- is a great start. Many of us will spend hours waxing people's gear in the parking lot, just to get them onto something that'll make their day more fun, more enjoyable, safer, and easier. It's just another way that we give back to the community around us.
As we mentioned earlier, The Jolly Rogers also help with the research and development of new products. One of the best perks that I've ever had as a Roger, was getting my first blocks of the "experimental", reformulated Racing FC739 in the mail last season, with a note from Terry that simply said, "Hey, try this!". For two solid months, I simply out-ran and out-shredded everything that my home resort could throw at me. And that's a great, great feeling. Being part of a group of people that are collectively responsible for fine-tuning a brand-new product is an experience beyond comparison.
Being part of the Racing FC739 Project was definitely the high point for most of The Rogers through the 2010/2011 season. Lots of good times, and good memories were had by everyone that took part. There's a lot to be said for knowing that you have the best-performing wax on the mountain on any given day, and this stuff sets the benchmark. You just can't put a price on that kind of confidence.
Members of The Jolly Rogers also get the added perk of having their own "members" password for the Hertel website. Which essentially allows them to buy all the wax they want, at wholesale prices. This allows many of The Jolly Rogers to become independent Hertel dealers. The truth is, several of The Jolly Rogers are long-time Hertel supporters and loyalists that have been spreading the word for many, many years anyway. This program allows them to profit a bit off of their hard work and promotional skills. Some re-sell their wax stockpiles at retail, which makes them a dandy profit, while others have gone on to become outside sales reps that sell Hertel waxes to their local ski and snowboard shops on a commission basis. Either way, they're spreading the good word about Hertel, and making a few bucks from their efforts.
We even developed a "racer-specific" logo, for all you racers out there. Let the competition know right away that there's just no competing with the best.
Then there's the "club t-shirts". Which are totally badass, super cheap, and even available in big and tall sizes to boot. There's been a lot of interest in making these available to the general public of Hertel loyalists, on a limited basis. We might just have to do that. We do, after all, consider all Hertel customers "part of the crew". Just by being Hertel customers, they've already taken that step that makes them legit.
Being a Jolly Roger means being part of a select club of like-minded skiers, snowboarders, and Hertel enthusiasts. Any time you see somebody rocking The Jolly Roger skull-and-crossbones on the mountain, you'll know that person is "one of us". Somebody that shares the same values, passions, and outlook on what it truly means to be a snowboarder or a skier. Somebody that'll buy you a cold one in the lodge, share a tuning tip, toss you a smoked sausage, or barge that next chair to some secret, hidden run somewhere. It's becoming a very effective network, and a great way of making new friends in faraway places.
Being a Jolly Roger is good work, and fun times. If you want to get on board, send an e-mail our way. It may take us a few weeks to wade through all of the responses, but trust us: we will get back to you.