Career and profession can sometimes be seen as complementing forces in one’s life – a driving passion for one, bolstered by a skill set for the other. For Annelise Loevlie, these forces work in concert. The CEO of Denver-based Icelantic Skis and SCARPA athlete, Loevlie has worked hard to create a partnership between her work and her craft that transcends the demands and challenges of each into rewards that are uniquely her own.
Growing up in Idaho Springs, Colorado, How did you first get into skiing and climbing?
Idaho Springs is situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, 30 minutes west of Denver and 20 minutes to Loveland Ski Area. My father is from Norway and my mother, from Colorado, so skiing and mountains are in our blood. I started skiing before I could walk, and I’ve been climbing trees, rocks, anything I could find for as long as I can remember. The mountains have always been my playground, beckoning me to explore and discover. I find joy and peace in the mountains and can’t recall a time when I didn’t, so I guess you can say, it’s in my cards.
The short answer is “no.” When I agreed to “help” my friend Ben Anderson, Founder of Icelantic with this “dream” of his, I thought it’d be a quick project I would contribute to and then move on. The more involved I got in the industry, the more I realized what a special place this is to build a lifestyle and a business. Happy, passionate and healthy people make up the majority of it, and that’s whom I like to associate with.
Does being on the administrative side and the athletic side compliment each other? Are there any obstacles or challenges that go with wearing so many hats?
It’s interesting being on both sides of this equation. I’ve managed Icelantic’s athletes to a certain extent before, and I realize the challenges that task holds—[it’s] not easy. This gives me an understanding into how the athlete looks at the Sponsor, and visa versa. It also motivates me to be more professional, timely, etc., with sponsors to respect everybody’s time and energy involved.
Is it hard to maintain the requisite fitness levels of being a professional athlete while also being a business professional?
Great question. It may be harder than it would be if I was strictly a professional athlete, with all day training and recovery. However, this is the beauty of the balance. My job as CEO is FULL time and never stops, so I have to plan my time strategically, both for training, competition and recovery. It also involves a ton of meetings, traveling, eating out and not a lot of sleep, a not-so-ideal combination for peak athleticism or fitness. This, however, is one of the reasons that I pursue my “professional” and competitive career as an athlete and try to maintain a certain level of fitness. I have integrated movement and personal challenges into my life routine so that, similar to my “office job”, training is part of my lifestyle.
Yes, Eye of the Condor is a unique ski video and photo competition held in La Parva, Chile. This competition is super innovative and intense for several reasons. First, the teams competing are some of the best filmers, photographers and skiers in the world.
Second, the time, terrain, conditions and resources are limited. Teams are expected to film, edit and produce a five-minute video and a seven-photo portfolio in five days. For anyone who’s ever produced an edit—you know how much work goes into that. Athletes are running on minimal sleep and pushing themselves to their maximum physical, emotional and mental limits. It’s really amazing. I got the official invite in May 2012, and decided to put together a team of all women to head south and take on the challenge. We ended up winning the video competition that year as well as the “People’s Choice” component this year (2013). This experience had a huge impact on me in more ways than I can express—super revealing and empowering. And now I’m in love with Chile.
What SCARPA products have you been keen on so far?
Oh boy, I’d have to say that my favorite SCARPA product right now is the Gea RS (alpine touring boot). I’ve taken those boots all over the world. From weeks in the Chugach to the summits of Swiss, French and Austrian Alps, into mountaineering descents in the Andes; I’m so in love with them. They’re super light and powerful with amazing articulation, which allows for a sensitivity that’s necessary for navigating certain terrain. I can charge hard up and down the mountain, and am comfortable and confident in my tools. Also, they are pretty easy to put on and take off. Muy Importante.
Also, Fall is my favorite time to trail run, so the Spark has been living on my feet lately (lip gloss color is the best). The tread on these shoes is perfectly contoured and grippy for trails, and it maintains a solid foundation for arch support and gnarly angles that feet sometimes end up in when trail running.
The season is taking shape nicely, I’m feeling strong, flexible and I’m looking forward to some exciting skiing and climbing adventures. Every time I ski or climb, I do it for fun. To me it’s more of a mindset than a requirement or expectation. At least this is what I strive for–heartbeats, fresh air and smiles. So much fun!