Renoun Skis feels the Bern

Renoun Skis, a Burlington, Vermont-based ski manufacturer founded in 2011 by Cyrus Schenck, is making waves in the ski industry through their use of a non-Newtonian polymer in their skis’ cores that’s designed to increase dampening qualities. But this deep-space-sounding material is not the only thing setting Renoun apart.

In late February, the team at Renoun decided to make a pair of skis with their hometown presidential candidate’s likeness on the topsheet—glasses, crazy hair and all. As Schenck says, “It’s funny how this industry works; it’s a Bernie ski that really puts you on the map.”

The Bernie ski will be presented some time in the next week to one lucky individual who entered a giveaway. And while Schenck has been fielding requests from those looking to buy the ski, he says that’s simply not what this ski is about—Bernie is not for sale.

As a Vermont-based publication, we were interested to hear more about the Bernie ski and why Renoun dove into political waters. Here’s what Schenck had to say.

Backcountry Magazine: Before we talk about your striking topsheet choice, tell me about Renoun.

Cyrus Schenck: Renoun was started in 2011 when a group of engineers got together. Being engineers, we were exposed to materials that are atypical for the ski industry. One of them was this non-Newtonian polymer, and we said, “Hey, how come no one has put this inside of a ski.” We spent a year designing it, and then we started testing it.

Because of this material, the dampness factor, which for most people can equate to stability and confidence on a ski, just goes up and up [as the ski gets pressured more]. We can get the feeling of a stiff, heavy ski without the ski actually being stiff and heavy.

BCM: How does being from Vermont affect your brand?

CS: I have heard that Vermont and Colorado are the two most brandable states in the country. But ultimately, it all comes back to authenticity. People trust the Vermont brand because we have good, hardworking people here. Our products have that extra value-added quality to them even before they get out of the state.

BCM: Why make a Bernie ski?

CS: With Bernie, you have someone who has built a campaign around this Vermont brand. He won’t even take a donation of over $2,700. In comparison, when you look at Renoun, I don’t lie about my skis. We don’t say, “Hey, this ski makes every condition better.” We don’t say, “This is the best ski in the world.” It is up to you to decide that. You have no idea how many testers have called me back and said, “Dude, this might actually work. If you skis are doing what you are saying they are doing, that’s real technology.” That’s not just putting a label of innovation on them. It is real innovation.

Everything we are doing we are trying to do different. That’s why we sell directly to consumers. That’s why we use these materials. We strive to push boundaries and break the rules while staying authentic. Same with Bernie. He’s got some attention by sticking with a story for decades. We’re in it for the long haul and won’t compromise a good tag line for the authenticity of our brand.

Also, his office is two blocks away. I could walk to his office in five minutes. Bernie is a Vermonter. I am a Vermonter. We are both using this state as a launching pad. I figured, why not support the guy who is two blocks away.

BCM: Why did you do a giveaway instead of selling the skis?

If we ever do a Trump ski, we are going to sell them for a quarter-of-a-million dollars. Bernie’s fans would be like, “Everybody gets a chance; everybody gets a piece of this thing.” It worked really well. We had 2,600 entries and I got several hundred clicks on my site. That’s invaluable for me.

BCM: Will you do something like this again?

CS: Honestly, I would do a pair of Trump skis with a toupee on them just for kicks. I think everyone would get a kick out if that. For me, Trump is the complete opposite of Bernie and I think it might round out this project we have started.

Find out more about Renoun at

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