Tim Petrick at K2 Sports headquarters in Seattle.
Tim Petrick’s all about that base—snow base, that is. And Seattle has proven to be the right base for K2 Sports. Founded in 1962 as a pioneering maker of fiberglass skis, K2 Sports now comprises a global portfolio of 14 brands that includes several lines of skis, snowboards, snowshoes and inline skates. It’s a company Petrick has been associated with since the 1970s, when it sponsored him as a skier, instructor and coach. He joined K2 as a sales and marketing executive in 1989 and three years later was named general manager of K2 Skis. Petrick left in 2009 to work for French ski brand Rossignol, returning to K2 in 2012 as global sales and marketing president. He became king of the K2 hill a couple of years later.
SKY: What brought you back to K2?
PETRICK: I came back because it’s home. It’s a brand and a business that has been a part of my life for a very long time. We sell products in extremely competitive categories. There’s a lot of business travel, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. But being a part of K2 is a dream job and it never really feels like work.
What was different?
Coming back to orchestrate a portfolio strategy with multiple brands and many more product categories—it was substantially more complicated than the job I had [at] Rossignol. There’s a lot of elasticity to the K2 brand. It’s been able to become the No. 2 or No. 3 snowboard brand while maintaining a significant market share in alpine skiing and selling millions of pairs of inline skates. Rollerblade and K2 are really the last remaining players in that category.
In the past several years, ski sales have declined. Can that be reversed?
Lack of snow has been an issue for every brand in the industry. Luckily, this season we did find powder and enjoyed some great ski days across the USA, Japan and Europe. Despite the lack of snow, K2 has seen growth in the backcountry/adventure skiing category.
I’m immediate past chairman of the SnowSports Industries America board, and we’ve been doing all sorts of things to grow participation. We’ve been working on increasing retention of new skiers—a lot of people try snowboarding or skiing but they don’t necessarily stick with it.
Why is Seattle such a good city for your headquarters?
It’s a vibrant place with great hotels, restaurants, museums, music and some 6,000 acres of public parks. Beyond that, Seattle offers access to world-class mountains where we can test our products and endless recreational opportunities for our employees. It’s really the variety of experiences that you can find here.