While many 10th birthday parties involve batting cages or bowling allies, for this birthday, we're celebrating by standing on top of a mountain peak, snuggling into a backcountry hut or sitting on chairlifts. Instead of cake, we’re observing the occasion with cold skin-track air in our lungs and face shots on powder days. Because this year, it’s Stio’s 10th anniversary—a brand that has spent an inspiring decade creating apparel for those of us that love and live the mountain life.
10 years ago, Stio was born in the town of Jackson Hole and from the mind of Stephen Sullivan, a mountain bum-turned-formidable figure in the apparel industry. He created the company around all the things he loved—backcountry skiing, fishing, climbing, biking—and rooted it deep within the mountain lifestyle. He recruited a crew of friends to help him out, called in a few favors and then promptly exploded onto the ski industry map with Stio’s first jacket in 2012 that he called the “Hometown Down.” It was a jacket that embraced necessity in making a western ski town home. Learn more on Sullivan (Sulli) here.
“At Stio we all remember what it was like to make the big move to a mountain town, but we also remember how cold that first winter felt,” Stio scribed in its catalog. “For most of us, that meant our first paycheck purchase was a warm down jacket—which is why the Hometown Down emerged in Stio’s first winter. Ten years later our signature style still reigns for its comfortable utility, reliable warmth and essential-in-our-town nature. A true mountain town original, it still holds a very warm place in our heart.”
That jacket started a domino effect of production. Throughout the last decade, Stio has built an empire of mountain apparel—jackets and pants, flannels and fleeces, hats and socks—while continuing to remain deeply ingrained in ski culture. The brand was born and continues to be bred in the mountain—the design and development team is always on the ski hills, skin tracks and trails to ideate and test apparel.
In addition to merging durable technical materials and fashionable style, Stio also acts as a steward of its mountain homes. The company has set impressive sustainability goals, focusing on recycled, responsibly sourced and organic materials in all of their gear. They created a new mantra: If there was a more socially responsible way to do it, the company would implement it. In 2020, Stio took a major step and increased its use of sustainable materials to 30% of its total inventory, with a goal to reach more than 50% in 2021. (Read our full piece about Stio’s sustainable vision here.)
As a primarily direct-to-consumer brand, you may have missed out on the opportunity over the last 10 years to feel the amazing fabrics woven into each jacket and see how the responsibly sourced chemicals allow the snow to roll right off the pants when sitting on the chairlift. To get their gear in the hands of more outdoor enthusiasts, Stio launched a program called “Outpost” in 2016 — which is a group of select retailers across the country that has product available for you to touch and feel. So although you may not be located in Park City, Jackson Hole, Teton Village or Boulder, you can try on these technical and fashionable pieces of gear throughout the U.S. to see what you should add to your collection this winter.
The anniversary celebration has already begun for the company, who will be observing the occasion throughout the season. There’s a stunning commemorative 10th-anniversary book, which includes tales about the people, passion and places that have inspired the composition of the brand over the last 10 years. Stio just sent out the book to their top 1,000 costumers—a nod to the people that represent the heart and soul of the brand and that helped to make this milestone possible.
10 years down. So, what’s up for the next 10 years? Stio has already expanded into a four-season brand and is looking to continue to grow into those new categories—bike, hike, lifestyle. It’s also working hard to incorporate the use of more of those recycled, responsibly sourced and organic materials within its lines. The brand just became 100% Climate Neutral Certified, which meant it reduced and offset all of its carbon emissions for 2020 and will continue to do so for all its future years to come. Impressive, right?
So this year, when you’re pulling on your Stio jacket to hit a powder day at Snowbird, or are slipping on your Stio flannel for an après beer at High West Distillery and Saloon, remember that you’re celebrating a birthday. You’re helping to mark 10 years of a company working hard in small mountain towns to employ locals and promote recreation in the mountains that surround us. You’re applauding their long-lasting commitment to sustainability and keeping our earth as a place we can enjoy for years to come. Be sure to stop into their Utah store in Park City and give each employee a high five and say thanks.
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