halfdays brand interview

Kiley McKinnon, Karelle Golda, Ariana Ferwerda

How did you all meet and what brought the three of you together to create Halfdays?

Ariana- About two years ago I moved to Denver and I was super frustrated with the lack of women’s ski wear on the market and I became really frustrated in the shopping process. I wondered why there was nothing that was a cool consumer company for this modern female consumer that is both fashion forward, but also functional for ski wear. I ended up settling on something I wasn’t super excited about. A few months later I met Kiley who is an Olympic skier and we both agreed on the fact that we’ve never found a brand that we loved; from a brand of finite perspective but also the actual product itself (e.g. fashion and function). If me, a recreational skier, and Kiley, a professional skier, both feel this way, there have to be a lot of other people that want a product that’s both fashion forward and functional and has this brand around it that connects with the female modern consumer. A few months after we got started with the brand, we were introduced to Karelle through one of our first investors in San Francisco. Karelle was working for Serena Williams at the time and she was actually drumming up this idea in her spare time of starting a ski wear brand, really similar to Halfdays. We were introduced to her and we were chatting and realizing if we were both going to start a brand that’s really similar, lets just join forces and take this on together. 

Are there any upcoming plans youre particularly excited about for the next year?

Karelle- Halfdays for us is about creating a community of people that are excited to get out on the mountain. One thing we really want to do is take the intimidation out of outdoor athletics and invite people to the mountain, regardless of their level or experience. So, what we’re most excited about is launching some how-to videos and doing some in-person ski events that will be coming up in the next few months. 

What is the inspiration behind the color palette of the collection?

Kiley- We weren’t able to find a ski wear brand that we connected with and a lot of that had to do with the colors that came along with the current ski wear that was on the market. For us, we really wanted to come out with something that represented our personal styles and we felt like we couldn’t find that. We are focused on that street style vibe, something that you would find in your own closet. We took a look at what we would wear on a daily basis and what we wanted to wear while we were skiing on the mountain; to feel comfortable in ourselves when we are on or off the mountain. I looked at my closet and asked myself what do I wear the most often and it’s black, tan, white, olive green, and of course we do have that pop of color, yellow. Yellow is a happy color and we wanted to bring that into our line as well, but we really wanted to have that minimalist look with the monochrome tonal vibe and that’s really how the line came about.

What colors should we look forward to seeing the base layers in?

Kiley- Currently, we only have our yellow, but we are launching our base layers in our green, our canyon, and our black. We are going to have four different colors. We initially were going to do the white, but we figured white is not for everyone when it comes to active layers, so we veered away from the white. We want people to be able to mix and match. You can either wear a full tonal vibe, having the yellow as the bottom and as the outer layer, or you can totally mix and match. Its cool because we’re allowing people to go with their personal style and whatever color they like, and choose what works best for them. 

Do you prefer skiing the first half of the day or the last half of the day?

Kiley- I prefer the middle of the day, not early or late. I like to ski the few hours from 10-11 to 2-3, depending on how feel. I do enjoy sleeping in, so I have no reason to rush to the mountain. But, I also like to have those hours in the afternoon when you can sit at the Lodge with your friends and hangout. It’s all about that causal skiing, having fun, and getting out there whenever you want and doing whatever works best for you.

halfdays brand interview

Ariana- I would choose first half of the day. I like to spend the afternoon hanging out with friends at the Lodge. It’s such a huge part of our brand because we want to promote taking a half-day and not taking it too seriously; you don’t have to get out on the mountain all day long and be so hardcore. 

Karelle- I am definitely the early riser out of everyone, especially when there’s powder, I love to be on the mountain early. I feel half-days are my way too and I love the fact that we’re surrounding ourselves with people that don’t make you feel bad if you’re done at lunch and that no one’s making you ski any longer than you have to. I think this sport gets a bad reputation where people feel if they don’t get a full-day in, they’re not getting anything in. But I love that we’re for skiing as much or as little as you want. 

If you were to produce any ski accessory, what would it be?

Kiley- Accessories are definitely something we want to pursue in our next line. We had a whole plan for a few different accessories launching for this year, but with COVID and finding out that accessories are harder than we expected them to be, we had a few issues with them. Luckily, we were able to come out with beanies. Moving forward with our product line, we definitely have a lot of things in mind, whether that’s ski socks or neck warmers. In the future, I would love to be able to collaborate with brands doing things like goggles or gloves. I think there’s a lot of different things we can do where we can bring Halfdays into other aspects of skiwear, but for now the beanies, the neck warmers, and the socks are something we want to continue to work on and produce. 

What has been your favorite place youve skied and why?

Kiley- If I had to say my favorite skiing experience ever, it would be the Olympics. When I’m doing my sport of freestyle aerials, I’m not skiing per se. I’m not going down the mountain and taking many runs, I’m going off huge jumps and doing flips and twists, so it’s a different type of skiing. For me, nothing will ever top competing at the Olympics, but I would also say skiing in Vermont with my family. I grew up skiing when I was three years old, every single weekend in Vermont. You also can’t top skiing in places like Colorado and Utah because the mountains are amazing. Right now I’d say my favorite mountain is Snowbird in Utah, but it’s always changing every time I ski somewhere new.

 

halfdays brand interview

Ariana- I would have to say Keystone in Colorado. It’s my favorite place because it’s where I skied so much when I first moved to Colorado. We would go with big groups of friends and ski three days in a row every single weekend and go during the week randomly to ski a half-day. It’s a really fun place and I know the mountain so well now and it’s where my friends and I hangout a lot. 

Karelle- I would say Aspen, just because of the après. Also, the skiing. It’s been amazing to come here and to be able to ski with my cofounders and experience the aprés at Dante Snow Lodge.

Where do you want to bring Halfdays to next?

Karelle- Park City and Jackson Hole. I think both of those cities are completely unique and have their own vibe and Halfdays certainly vibes with both of them. Park City is such an incredible après town, it has its own unique perspective on skiing and is definitely one of the best mountains in the world. Jackson Hole because it’s so unique and is a really beautiful mountain.

Kiley- Definitely Park City because I used to live there for 8 or 9 years. That’s where I used to train. I definitely would love to have a popup in Park City, I know a lot of people there and it would be cool to get a whole different experience of now not being an athlete anymore, but showing people what I’m doing instead.