On the way back from Colorado to Chamonix, I stopped off at Lowe Alpine UK for a meeting with the team there to chat through the latest in product development.
Quite often, folk will ask me if I’m sponsored by Lowe Alpine; to be honest that depends on your interpretation of “sponsored”. To me, being sponsored implies being paid to wear the kit with very little other responsibilities, and sometimes just a matter of displaying the logo of the sponsor.
My relationship with Lowe Alpine is very different to that. It started in the 90’s when I was presenting the BMC Winter Lecture Series, with the event being supported by Lowe Alpine. At the end of the first series, Martyn Hurn (then marketing manager) gave me a jacket. A couple of months later, I sent him a report on its performance , and he sent me another jacket and a pack, and so it went on.
Fifteen years later, I am now a technical consultant for Lowe Alpine – it’s a job, reporting on performance of kit, advising on designs, and above all subjecting kit to wear tests in an accelerated time scale, using and abusing it beyond all that’s reasonable to see how it stands up.
The clothing team is based at Lowe Alpine International in Italy, and I liaise with Claudio and his team by email on a regular basis. The pack team is still in Kendal, now headed up by Matryn Hurn, and I get to see them to discuss development when I’m over there for the Kendal Mountain Festival. Together with the UK sales team , Andy Cave and I looked at the clothing range for Fall Winter 2009/2010 as well.
So in reality it’s a job, contributing to product development rather than being a sponsored hero.