Chris O’Connell, or OC, as he's known, became the Global Brand Director and pro team manager at Armada by default: he founded the company. As a commercial photographer for the ski and snowboard industries, he saw a hole for freeride-based ski companies. With a small team of employees and a vision for an athlete-driven brand, Armada was born.
Why were you so motivated to start your own company?
I came from working heavily in the snowboard world, and things were so much more advanced as far as the freeride scene was concerned. All the companies were getting behind athletes in films in comps. The big ski companies were sinking millions into racing and not much into freestyle. Salomon was the only company really supporting their team— and it takes more than one company to make a change. Skiing as we knew it was dying. Out of that frustration, we wanted to create a company that was freeride based and driven by the ultimate team of athletes. Bottom line, that kind of skiing was what we were into.
Suggestions on how to get started in the team-managing biz?
The best bet is to reach out to current team managers, ask them for intern positions, and see if you can shadow them at certain events. Pick up a camera. If you don't know how to write a web article and take video or shoot photos, then you are not much of an asset as a team manager. It's not a job for a wanna-be pro or overstoked bro-ho. There is so much more to being a team manager than most people perceive— it's a marketing job for someone who loves the ski industry.
Is this your dream job?
I just consider it my life. It's not really a job, because it doesn't feel like work. It's just something I do and have been doing for pretty much my entire adult life.
(Extracts taken from an article published in Skiing Magazine [date of consulted: 23/11/2010])