STORIES FROM THE FRNT : The MSP

January 27, 2018 11 Comments

I begged my parents to let me skip a semester of college in Minnesota to ski Squaw for a winter. I wrote a contract and everything. My parents didn't ski, I learned from my uncle. They knew how much I loved it but didn’t know what it was all about. I had met all of my closest friends on a chairlift at Wilmot Mountain, a tiny bump in the fields of Southern Wisconsin. Once high school was over, they all moved to Tahoe to chase their dreams. I made the decision to attend college, but my head was always out West. They would send me letters and pictures, which I posted on the backside of my dorm room door. I was completely obsessed. When my parents finally agreed, this sealed the deal for me to make skiing my life, and that life was to start at Squaw Valley.

In Truckee, with a spot on the floor to sleep, next to a pool table in this small A-Frame house where I now called home. Everyday at 5:30, one of my roommates would leave the house for Squaw and would return at 6. I now had a ride, and found the best job. Turns out, if you liked to ski a lot working in the parking lot was the gig to have. My boss at the time, Fly, told me that, and he backed it up with skiing everyday. The best part is, when a customer pulls up and shifts their rig into park, your job is done. Also, at that very moment, everyone else’s job at the hill has just begun. Basically, once the lot was full, we stripped our stripes and ski’d till close. It was the best.

As soon as I officially graduated, I drove myself out west, rented my own cabin in town and got my old job back. With a degree in my back pocket, I now made skiing my number 1. With a few local sponsors at the time paying my way to get to comps, I ski'd dawn till dusk, day in day out. In the summer I built homes and bussed tables to build up enough travel budget, and hit repeat, season after season. A few years in and I was on a good roll, winning big air comps and learning the ways to compete in Slopestyle, a distant resemblance to my early mogul comps back in the USSA Central Division. Surrounded by inspiration at every turn, I grew anxious for more, and one day in the parking lot, on the back window of a San Francisco Bay Area SUV, I scribed the mark: 4FRNT.

At first I thought this would become nothing more than a name for our ski crew, a tag we used to leave our mark, get some stickers and try out making some skis. Then my friend DT called from Powder and said he heard the news, that I was starting a ski company, and so I did. I was naive to the ways a ski company would need to survive; I drank the Kool-Aid of my peers and launched the company with my first ski, the MSP. It was an all around Squaw Valley shape that made the mountain ever more playful, and meaningful.

For the next 10 years I put it all on the line to keep the company in check. We moved to Salt Lake City, started a family and ski’d everyday if not on the hill, from my desk. I surrounded myself with skiers of the same mindset and we built it up, pair by pair, and 4FRNT grew into its teens. Through it all, my love for Squaw Valley never wavered. So when we were closing in on our 15-year anniversary this year, I knew the only way to ring it in, was to reshape the model that started it all, and bring it back to the 4FRNT crew at Squaw to give it a go.

I wanted a ski that was playful, but crisp on edge so I shaped this version to be more directional, with a quicker sidecut and rockered tip and low-rise tail. I knew it had to have some mass so I added metal to the semi cap construction so it could handle the chop at high speeds but still pop on and off edge with ease. My main focus was versatility, like it was back in the day, from top to bottom; it needs to do it all.

Last April, I called up the Squaw Valley parking lot crew to see if we could bring our Utah family out to test our latest creation. They obliged and even reprinted an old nametag for me to shoot our parking lot scene. For 5 days during a wet and windy midweek storm, we had the mountain to ourselves. Squaw had more snow than I had ever seen and the local vibe was all time. With MSP’s on my feet, I was home again. Here’s to 15 years with the MSP and Squaw Valley, and to the lifestyle and people who inspired it all!

Enjoy,

-Matt Sterbenz

Check out the all new MSP ski HERE 

Photo : Sam Watson

Video Credits:

Principal Cinematography:
Cam Riley 

Editing by:
Austin Ramaley

Special Thanks

Squaw Valley:
Clayton Coates
James “Cliffy” Clifford
Jessica Richitelli
Aaron Tippett
Michael Gross
Chris Lemacher
Kyle Crezee
Roy Richner
Jackie Megnin 

Inspirators:
Rob “Fly” Kronkhyte
Colin “Omar” Otte
Jeff McKitterick
JT Holmes
Mike Rogge
Aaron McGowan
Bryce Raney
Jon Somich



11 Responses

Matty G
Matty G

January 29, 2018

Cool video and story. Seeing Cam’s name on everything these days, that dude is prolific. I dig the Uptrack Col’s, MSP’s might be next for me.

Dan "DJ" Gish
Dan "DJ" Gish

January 29, 2018

You came out to CO to compete that first season out west. We only had an frozen mouse-infested abandoned cabin to stay in. You didn’t care and still threw down one of the most stylish cork 7s I’ve seen to date.

Wes Schimmelpfennig
Wes Schimmelpfennig

January 29, 2018

I have a pair of 4FRNT

Alexzander McBeath
Alexzander McBeath

January 29, 2018

Great story & congratulations on your 15 year anniversary.

Eric "Bomber" Cade
Eric "Bomber" Cade

January 29, 2018

Love ya brother! I miss those careless days at Wilmot, bumpin, Q’in and raising hell! Cheers to skiing till we die!

Peace!

Steven Voorhees
Steven Voorhees

January 29, 2018

Matt, You have an inspiring story of Love, dedication, perseverance to tell- I enjoyed the summary on the inside flap of the cover… keep writing more chapters! About three years ago, i got back on a pair of rentals skis, boots and poles at Mammoth mountain headed up to one of my favorites face of chair 5 and the first time in 30 years took few runs down hi slope. It was amazingeverything just clicked back in to place – like riding a bike, except, way more fun! Well, long story short – 2 years ago bought boots and this year got my MSPs – what an amazing ski so versatile and is super quick and responsive in crud, carving turns through stuff that was extremely hard like it was butter, my 1st excursion didn’t get any pow look forward to the coming opportunity! Thanks for the awesome MSPs! I’m ready for anything now…

Joel
Joel

January 29, 2018

Great read.

Jay Grube
Jay Grube

January 28, 2018

I love my new MSPs!!!

jkosc1
jkosc1

January 28, 2018

Bought a pair of MSP’s this fall….very pleased that part of your success is the MSP as I’ve enjoyed the ride since their first launch off the lift with them underneath my feet. A great all mountain ski for the northern Rockies.

Jay Tapia
Jay Tapia

January 28, 2018

Great story and glad to have seen it from the bumps of Wilmot!

Isaac Peerman
Isaac Peerman

January 28, 2018

I love this story and my whole family skiis since i love in Colorad. That story is an inspiration to me and what i do thank you for sharing with me?

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