Have you been in the swanky Rossignol pop-up store in the Benton Building on Hyman Avenue yet? It’s quite the place. For now, it’s just a pop-up (though it’s likely to return), but excitement abounds as it’s the first North American apparel boutique for the brand.
After browsing the racks of ski fashions and trying on all the amazing new fashion-inspired street collaborations – Tommy Hilfiger, Wallpaper Magazine and the stylish offerings from Rossignol’s lead designer, Jean Claude de Castlebajac – I went upstairs to investigate Atelier by Ski Butlers, as I was curious about another first.
Ski Butlers is a mobile high-end ski and snowboard demo shop that currently exists in 47 North American and European resorts. In short, they’re the effortless way for resort visitors to rent their ski equipment.
Too tired from your flight? Ski Butlers will bring suitable equipment to your hotel, private house or Airbnb condo directly. They stock only inventory from Rossignol, and they’ve never had a brick-and-mortar location before.
I’d heard stories about some very high-maintenance clients asking for an equipment change midday at the top of the Gondy, and, yes, when the Ski Butlers are able, they are known to accommodate such calls. After all, they pride themselves on being rehearsed in all the detailed tech knowledge and giving of personal attention. Such a hands-on service, I am sure, can maximize a weekend warrior’s time.
Located right above the store, the Atelier is tricked out as a high-performance demo center in a bright, plush, comfy, modern loft. Lining the walls are this year’s offerings: the Experience and Soul 7 series, just like at Four Mountain Sports locations but with additional high-performance and racer options and butlers Harry, Mike, Jon and Anton to show you around.
I wanted to try something not yet available here in the U.S., a unique opportunity. I selected the Strato W for women, a sleek, black, technical on-trail ski. The blurb next to them said “for groomer enthusiasts.” The vital statistics read 74 mm waist and a turn radius of 12 meters.
“Those would be nice for tight carve-y turns, right?” I said.
“Yeah, they’re purported to ski like a slalom ski but a touch more forgiving, not as stiff,” said one of the helpful butlers.
“There’s a metal rod running through the ski, making it stiff enough to hold someone aggressive, ripping fast but not at race speed, plus carbon fiber makes them lightweight and titanium keeps them responsive,” he added.
“I’m a shorty-pants. I’ll try the shortest available,” I said, claiming the 149 cm.
The only thing holding me back, ironically, was the weather! Since we’re in Snowpocalypse I, like everyone, have been occupied with the pow-pow. A week later, finally a pow lull, and I zipped down Racers, Javelin and Sterner on Tiehack, on what passed for groomed. They were precise and balanced and so so fun, and the race-inspired technology made them feel effortless and fast. They also looked totally gorgeous, black with a gold logo, like props from a Vogue photo shoot. In seasons where we get weeks of hard-packed only, with a barebones groom overnight, these would become my besties.
They’re in limited quantity, and the only place you can buy them in North America is at the Aspen Atelier right here. They normally retail for $1,100 but are selling for $990, bindings included. A day’s demo through Ski Butlers – skibutlers.com – costs approximately $125 or 5 percent off using your own boots, which is $117.