Q&A With DROP Snowboard Accessories Senior Designer Chris Gougeon

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Yes, it is only October, but snowfalls have already hit several states. That means it's time to gear up for the Winter 2010-11 snowboard season. One line of accessories that caught our attention is DROP. Senior designer Chris Gougeon goes one-on-one with STACK, giving background about the company and talking about the exciting launch of the DROP goggle series.

STACK: Give us a little background about the company's history and its focus.

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Yes, it is only October, but snowfalls have already hit several states. That means it's time to gear up for the Winter 2010-11 snowboard season. One line of accessories that caught our attention is DROP. Senior designer Chris Gougeon goes one-on-one with STACK, giving background about the company and talking about the exciting launch of the DROP goggle series.

STACK: Give us a little background about the company's history and its focus.

Chris Gougeon: DROP was founded in 1998 in Montreal to fill a void that existed at the time for glove and accessories companies that were dedicated specifically to snowboarding and making riding-specific product that was both dope and affordable.

For over a decade now, DROP has been building riding accessories (including gloves, backpacks, beanies, apparel, socks and now goggles) designed, marketed and sold by people who snowboard. I know a rider-driven company is nothing new or unique, but it's the simple truth: we live and breathe snowboarding, and our product line is an extension and reflection of our passion for the sport.

STACK: Let's talk about the debut of your DROP goggle line. Tell us about the technology and innovation that went into the product.

CG: This year marks our introduction into the goggle market. Although we've had the resources to make goggles for as long as we've been around, we needed a real reason and something new to bring to the table before we were going to get into the game.

Our Supreme Fit Memory Foam is something unique that no one else was offering, and it was the tipping point for us to get into goggles. We're using fleece-covered memory foam on our two flagship models (ESPI for men and SPR MDL for women), which form to the wearer's face to offer the best fit possible, without any gaps where unwanted air can get in.

In addition to Supreme Fit Memory Foam, our line also offers both spherical and cylindrical lenses, outriggers for helmet compatibility, air valances and vents, and non-slip silicone strap treatments. Our goggles also feature incredible graphics and original frame molds that were designed and developed in conjunction with Burlington-based designer and ex-pro snowboarder Seth Neary of Driven Studio.

STACK: Tell us about your special-edition DROP Pure Inspiration Series goggles and the artists behind the designs.

CG: The DROP Pure Inspiration Series, or DPI Series, is an annual product series in which we work with people within our lifestyle that have, and continue to, inspire us; it allows us to pay proper tribute to them.

The initial DPI Series was released two seasons ago with the legendary Mark Gonzales. His custom designs were featured on two styles of gloves, a bandana facemask and T-shirt. Year two brought us an eco-friendly pipe glove designed by SF-based artist Bigfoot. And this year, we've continued our relationship with Bigfoot with his take on our ESPI goggle, as well as a glove/goggle combo featuring the artwork of the incredible Andy Jenkins, one of the creative powers behind Girl Skateboards.

STACK: Can you give us a rundown of the price point range of all the models offered?

CG: Both our goggle and glove lines are designed to offer something for every rider at every skill level and budget. Our gloves retail for $28 to $85 and our goggles sell for $45 to $130 for adults, with a $25 model for juniors. Both product lines offer men's and women's models and basically, as the price increases, so do the technical features and materials. However, that's not to say our opening price points aren't technically advanced, because they most certainly are.

STACK:
Besides price, what should a first-time goggle buyer look for?

CG: Fit is probably the most important thing to look for. Make sure the frame fits your face without any gaps and that you have good peripheral vision. Then worry about lens color and, of course, frame colors and graphics that you're stoked on.

STACK: Who are some of the team riders currently on the DROP roster?

CG: We're proud to have a roster of some pretty heavy hitters from all over the world to represent our brand. Our international team currently consists of Simon Chamberlain (gloves), Heikki Sorsa (gloves), T.J. Schneider (gloves and goggles), Romain De Marchi (gloves), Andrew Hardingham (gloves), Adam Dowell (gloves) and Forest Bailey (gloves and goggles). We also have a slew of local/regional riders that we flow product to.

For more information about DROP, visit dropmfg.com.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock