Beginner skiers, now is your chance to get a taste of the pro life. Swedish ski-apparel company Tenson is looking for two people to test its new line of jackets, pants, and base layers. Mediocre, inexperienced athletes are preferred.
“Very limited prior experience of skiing is beneficial but not a requirement,” the company wrote in a description posted on its website. The job pays $30 an hour, plus round-trip airfare to Idre Fjäll, Sweden, lodging and food, four days of skiing, an eight-hour lesson, and a head-to-toe kit of Tenson apparel. Testers also get to bring along one friend (travel, room and board, and skiing included). The assignment: use the gear all day on the slopes and then provide feedback.
The application is easy: just enter your name and contact information, and answer a few questions about your ski ability, the reason you love spending time outside, and who you’d bring with you on the trip. The application period ends February 11.
Plenty of other outdoor companies have run similar contests inviting the public to apply for dream gigs as product testers, if only for a few months. Chief among them: Columbia, which in 2015 hired two “directors of toughness” to travel the world and put its gear through the paces. But historically, brands have sought out experienced, moderately skilled outdoorspeople—those who know their way around the woods and mountains, and who are, at a minimum, proficient in the sport or sports in question.
In this regard, Tenson’s job posting is a bit of a curveball. According to the posting, qualified applicants should be “an expert at falling in the lift queue,” “have no idea what ‘pow,’ ‘ripper,’ ‘glades,’ or ‘poaching’ mean,” and “tend to change [rental ski boots] two to three times, claiming there must be something wrong with them since your feet hurt so bad.”
According to Karin Plonaitis, Tenson’s chief brand officer, the contest was designed specifically to give the average athlete a voice in gear design. “Our ski gear has been thoroughly tested for years and years, but never on the average joe,” Plonaitis says. “Apart from skiing all day and enjoying their time in the mountains, the successful candidates will also provide us valuable product-development insights to help us continue to democratize the outdoors.”
Of course, extreme testing by expert-level athletes is vital to the design process for technical gear. But all too often, that feedback loop fails to consider the gap between what pro athletes want and need and what recreational athletes want and need. To that end, adding average skiers into the testing process is never a bad thing.