Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
A while back, I happened to come across a picture on my Instagram feed from one of my favorite skiers sporting what looked to be some kind of small bag hanging around his neck with this rad-looking tree logo stamped on it.
I learned later that this accessory was called the “Traveler’s Trunk” and was one of the best selling items from Mount Hood’s own Treefort Lifestyles, an adventure brand created by local freeskiers Jeff Curry and Kevin Perron, focused on bringing the stoke of adventure to the masses.
I found the company’s Instagram account and clicked on their website. From neck accessories to suspenders to camera straps, these guys knew exactly what skiers needed and had developed a brand not just for skiers, but for people who want to see things from the “elevated perspective,” which Treefort founder Jeff Curry defines as “lifting everyone up around you and building and growing together.”
I consider myself quite fortunate to be a correspondent for Shred Hood because it gives me the opportunity to follow my passions and spread the stoke for all things related to skiing. Due to this, I was able to meet Jeff Curry, a Line-sponsored athlete from the East Coast, at Portland’s own Snowvana Festival. Taking a break from the Shred Hood booth, I walked right over to the Treefort booth and immediately started fan-boying over Treefort. Jeff, being the rad guy he is, just shared what the brand was and what it meant to him. He even gave me the inside scoop on one of his newest creations, “The Jackson,” a small, hand-made leather wallet, designed with simplicity.
Once Snowvana came to a close, Jeff swung by the booth and I asked him if I could interview him. With a smile on his face, he said, “Yeah, for sure, man.” After getting the green light from my boss, I found myself with my photographer and best friend Christian Walker, driving up to the Treefort Lifestyle headquarters, aka Jeff Curry’s house on Mount Hood.
We found Curry creating some leather logos by hand in his garage. Everything Treefort makes is 100% handmade, right here in the USA. It was fascinating. I decided to start the interview there:
SHRED HOOD: How did Treefort Lifestyle start?
JEFF CURRY: It all started when KP [Kevin Perron, pictured at left] ran over to my house with this gnarly looking bag, it was made from all sorts of scraps and had been put together really quickly. But it basically was the first Traveler’s Trunk. From there we made the tree logo and just ran with it from there.
Is everything made here in the garage?
No, I only make all of our leather products here in the garage and then we sew all of our logos onto the trunks, camera straps and suspenders.
So you don’t actually make the other products?
No, we have some people in Portland that make the other products, but we did start out originally making everything.
It’s at least American Made right?
Oh yeah, of course!
Who do you take inspiration from?
Jason Levinthal [founder of Line Skis]. I've known him since I was 15 years old and I got to see LINE from the beginning. Seeing his hard work and determination lead to conquering the freestyle sector of skiing: That just amazes me. Me and KP really want to shape our brand and our company the same way.
What is the “elevated perspective?”
For me, it’s two things: Lifting everyone up around you and building and growing together. When you do this, you’ll see that people are more important than making a quick dollar. This is what elevated perspective means. It also has to do with once you separate yourself from everyday life, you go out on a hike, change your perspective and climb up high to the point where you can see and think things truly the way they are and what truly influences you. Straight from nature.
At this point in the interview we were greeted by the other half of Treefort Lifestyles, Kevin Perron. He had this to add on the subject of the “elevated perspective:
"Elevated perspective represents the idea of not limiting your imagination and creativity. When we look at a place or an object, a simple switch in perspective will allow you to see that same place in a completely different way. We notice this when climbing into a fort or from a viewpoint at the top of a mountain. Things aren’t always what they seem, and if you take things for as they are, they won’t ever change or get better. We think like this often and try to see a product differently than others, allowing our product to have genuine and creative feel. This mentality will keep us from being “copy cats” and forces us to design products from our own mind."
Is Treefort Lifestyles just for skiers? Like was that the sole market?
Ya know, it obviously is seen quite often in the ski industry, I mean skiers just love our products, but we aren’t trying to cater to just one sport or even a handful, we are trying to spread the stoke of adventure. Skier’s aren’t just skiers, they do other stuff too…
Like fly fish? (paying homage to Tall T Dan)
Exactly! We wanted to create products that people can use on their adventures and their sports alike.
Jeff, Kevin, thank you for your time.
Treefort Lifestyles is an American made brand that has started out as a company in 2011 simply making rad neck accessories for skiers. Now it is 2016 and the tightly rooted company is stretching through the ski industry and into other audiences. This is due to the fact that most skiers aren’t just your average Joe. We are thrill seekers, we ride motorcycles at 140 mph, we fly-fish in the Columbia, we climb mountains and answer the call of adventure wherever it may be, we always find it, it attracts us. That is why Treefort Lifestyles exists, to assist in the discovery for new horizons, to keep us looking from the elevated perspective.
Mac Heffernan is a skier and writer who will be serving as a Shred Hood correspondent on Mount Hood for the 2016-17 winter season.