We got on the phone with Niklas Lundgren, the Marketing Manager for Peak Performance, who spoke to us about working with athletes – in particular Tessa Treadway.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you got into the business with Peak Performance.
My name is Niklas and I work as the Sports Marketing Manager at Peak Performance HQ in Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve been working here for almost five years, and started my journey in a retail store in the north of Sweden. After getting offered a position at HQ, it was a no brainer for me to take it. My biggest passion has always been skiing. Even when I’m not in the mountains physically, I’m at the top of some mountain in my mind.
My main focus as the Sports Marketing Manager are the athletes we work with, and how we as a brand can incorporate them as much as possible. It is incredibly inspiring to work with all the amazing people we support, and naturally, I have to do a little bit of skiing myself too.
Peak Performance has sponsored Tessa’s family for a few years now. Aside from gear support, do you also help differently once athletes become parents?
We have had a long relationship with the Treadway family. We started working together with Dave over a decade ago and loved every minute of it. Dave was so much more than just an outstanding skier and a great ambassador; he was a true family man who loved to share his passion for skiing together with Tessa and the kids.
Over the years the whole family got more and more involved in his, and therefore our communication. As the Treadway family did everything together, it felt natural for us to kit the rest of them up with clothes too.
How do you manage your athletes’ love of sports and their partnership with Peak Performance, and the balance with other responsibilities like family or school?
Like any relationship it’s a constant give and take between us and our athletes. We believe that high performance is connected to happiness. The Treadway family has always shown that they find their energy and happiness by spending time together, therefore, we have always encouraged that. Many of our athletes are studying or even running their own business on the side of their ski career, and we don’t want to stand in the way of that. Instead, we have seen that it’s often very rewarding (for us and the athletes) for them to progress in other areas than skiing.
Before every season we go over our season plan together with our athletes. During this talk we discuss their plans, ideas & focus for the season, and together find the best way to merge our plans together. As the season starts we keep close contact with the athletes and try to support them as much as possible. Whether the support is finding a photographer for a project or giving a second opinion for an essay they are about to hand in, doesn’t really matter.
Do you always support the whole family, or does it depend on the situation?
We have a close relationship with all our athletes and our ambition is always to work long term with them. They truly become close friends to not just me, but many within the organization. Therefore, we often get to know the rest of their families too. With that said, we don’t have a specific strategy or program for our athletes family members.
As mentioned before, Dave was always including his family so it was beneficial for both parties to support the rest of the family too. It has been the same story for Henrik Windstedt. We started working with him when he was 15 years old. Two decades, a wife and two kids later, naturally, his family situation is different from when we first started working with him. As (similar to the Treadway family) the kids are some hard charging skiers too, we try to dress them to be the best-looking kids on the mountain.
How are athletes, friends & family involved in product development?
As we work with some of the best skiers in the world, we have the luxury of getting the best possible input on how to make the best ski products. We are continuously making our products better, and the expertise and feedback from our athletes is incredibly valuable for that progress.
This year we launched our most technical ski Jacket and pants yet, the Vertical Pro. For this set, our designers worked closely with two of our athletes that compete on the Freeride World Tour, Kristofer Turdell & Hedvig Wessel. Kristofer & Hedvig were included in everything from choosing materials, giving input on design details, sharing their thoughts on colors, and of course product testing.
This kind of collaboration with our athletes is a big part of our product development process especially for technical ski wear.