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Big Sky Mountain Products pineapple logo

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backcountry ski and splitboard EQUIPMENT

November 5, 2016

The legend of the pineapple

 

What began as a simple prank, became a lifelong symbol of friendship, goodwill and fun in the mountains for my buddies and I.

Shopping for a night ascent of Lone Mountain I hid a large pineapple deep within a friend’s backpack. Arriving on the summit after a long slog and some tense words then laughter and eventually the realization came to us that nothing tasted better than fresh pineapple after so much effort!

 

What is more absurd than a spikey heavy fruit on a mountaintop?

 

My penance was to carry the next pineapple to a summit. It became a right to carry one from then on. Our crew expanded in those wild days, skiing the Bridger Ridge and Lone Peak years before the Tram. Doug Coombs challenged us to have fun and be silly as we skied harder and harder. For Jim Conway everything was a race and I was up for that, at least trying to keep up. Scot Schmidt raced me head to head in a dual slalom season finale in about 1980, winning handily and partially giving him the confidence to seek his path in Squaw. Scot returned to his roots in Montana and spends every winter skiing. Jim guides in Alaska and Doug is with us in spirit.

 

Readying to descend in to a new line in the North Bridgers with Scot Schmidt

 

Deviated Septum (above), 1984 photo by Paul Dix for Rolling Stone Magazine

The list goes on, the circle of friends grew and like so many after us, new lines and great tales were created. I searched to find my skiing style and the soul of skiing.  Travelling, climbing, skiing and finding the balance of work, family and adventure led to a full and interesting life.

 

Skiing the Grand Teton with Kristen Ulmer and Alex Lowe

The pineapple became the logo of Jungst Bikeworks, mountain bikes I made in Bozeman and represents everything fun about those youthful days. When you are young and carry an extra 10lbs for fun, that is how memories are made!

 

Over 20 years the Bikeworks evolved in to a state of the art manufacturing company, Jungst Scientific, and expanded its customers in to the medical, electronic and outdoor industries. When we sold it to Blackhawk Products I immersed myself in to education and today teach manufacturing processes at Montana State University and manage Big Sky Mountain Products.

1984 and the beginnings of Jungst Scientific

For all of my years in business the goal was to provide the best product development and manufacturing service possible. Jungst Scientific employed bright young passionate people in Bozeman, we served the outdoor industry, manufacturing parts and pieces of other companies’ products. But, in the back of my mind was the goal to create outdoor products under the Big Sky!

Today I carry a few dried pineapple slices to remind me of my roots and my passion has always been to build the best products possible. Today we are doing that, starting with climbing skins.

I want these skins to carry you to new places so you can share those adventures! Be happy, have fun and carry a pineapple for all of us!

 

 

Sarge's take: aka Jim Conway

Why the pineapple? Is there a more unlikely fruit you would bring into the mountains (well, a banana, but for different reasons). Perhaps it is best explained by looking at the background of Big Sky Mountain Products founder Tom Jungst and the posse of athletes he ran around with in the 70's and 80's.

Tom and a group of like minded mountain athletes grew up in or migrated to Bozeman Montana in the late 70s and formed an informal tribe of mountain athletes with one purpose in mind; explore the wonders of the mountains and have as much fun as possible doing it. People pursuing this lifestyle were neatly described by Yvon Chounard as "Fun Hogs". Fred Becky also described the culture stating there is a "Leisure class at either end of the social spectrum" (guess which end we were on). At the time, there was no such thing as a professional free skier and snowboarding hadn't even been invented yet; it was all for fun!

 

This crew included free skiing godfather Scott Schmidt, ski legend Doug Coombs, extreme ski and Alaska snowboard guide pioneer Jim Conway, Emil "more turns per square inch" Tanner who went on to be a member of the US Cycling Team, and Dave Wachs another Montana local who's son is now one of the top freeride athletes in the country. A day with this crew was a competition, ALWAYS! Who could get to the top of the run fastest, who could ski it best, who could trick Emil into carrying beer to the top.

 

This group came of age in the wake of the counter culture movement of the 60's and 70s. With a group like this, what OTHER fruit would they chose to bring into the mountains. Young men full of piss and vinegar eager to challenge themselves and the old school. The pineapple was a symbolic middle finger to the traditional ways. It represented a defiant, "we know this is stupid to carry but we are young and strong so we do it because we can!" statement.

 

The crew has since evolved; each pursuing their dreams in the mountains in their own ways; and each having his impact on the ever changing sport they love. The pineapple has now become their tradition. Big Sky Mountain Products is the latest evolution where we bring that pioneering spirit tempered with decades of experience to bring you products that just make sense in the back country.

big sky mountain products

619 North Church Unit #3

Bozeman, MT 59715

406-404-1123

info@skiskinsonline.com

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It became a right to carry one from then on. Our crew expanded in those wild days, skiing the Bridger Ridge and Lone Peak years before the Tram. Doug Coombs challenged us to have fun and be silly as we skied harder and harder. For Jim Conway everything was a race and I was up for that, at least trying to keep up. Scot Schmidt raced me head to head in a dual slalom season finale in about 1980, winning handily and partially giving him the confidence to seek his path in Squaw. Scot returned to his roots in Montana and spends every winter skiing. Jim guides in Alaska and Doug is with us in spirit.

(above), 1984 photo by Paul Dix for Rolling Stone Magazine

Big Sky Mountain Products pineapple logo

backcountry ski and splitboard EQUIPMENT