Cheap Ski Wear Flooding Social Media — A Look at Dope Snow and Montec

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Dope Snow
Has your social media feed been looking like this lately? | Picture: SnowBrains / Facebook / Instagram

You may have noticed either on your local mountain or even on your social media feed an influx of ads from skiwear brands Montec and Dope Snow, and wondered about these brands. I will admit, I liked some of the Montec designs, but never clicked on any of the ads, thinking it was probably some sub-standard gear made in China.

If you ask Redditors for their opinion on Montec, or Dope Snow, you will find a plethora of scathing comments, calling it the “Insta-brand” or even worse, the “Jerry-brand.” Of course, there are also fans of the brands, but we all know, nothing is worse on the mountain than being referred to as a Jerry. More importantly though than the image, is the quality really sub-standard, and who is actually behind Montec and Dope Snow?

Redditors are often scathing about Dope Snow and Montec. | Picture: SnowBrains / Reddit

To my big surprise, it turns out Montec and Dope Snow are not Chinese but are branded by the Swedish company RideStore. Swedish brothers Linus and Emil Hellberg founded RideStore in 2006. Initially, Emil had started the company as an e-commerce retailer for onselling US brands. From there the company moved into producing their own outerwear, with first the Dope Snow line and later the Montec line of snowsports apparel.

Dope Snow is more of the park-rat clothing while Montec is targeted at the backcountry skier. Their ski clothes are functional, on-trend, and cheap. The million-dollar question of course is: Is their gear any good? There are some online reviews of their gear, oftentimes by people sponsored by the brand, which naturally have to be taken with a grain of salt. YouTuber ‘steepsteep’ flew to Sweden for a review and visited the factory in Sweden and came away impressed. However, seeing the company expertly uses social media and provided ‘steepsteep’ with free gear, I would be reluctant to take everything he says at face value.

The company claims to be using its own fabrics for the outer shell because established brands like GoreTex are too expensive, so they produce its own fabrics instead. This is supposedly the reason behind the affordability of the brand. However, materials are typically just a small fraction of the costs of an item of clothing. In reality, a big part behind the affordability of their clothes is the fact that they only have an online presence and rely entirely on e-commerce. The markup from manufacturer to retailer in the fashion industry is typically 100%. By cutting out any retailers, they can sell at wholesale prices to the end consumer, which frankly is a brilliant model.

Montec seems to be the Aldi or Trader Joe‘s of the ski wear industry, having optimized the supply chain to enable them to undercut competitors. Like Aldi, Dope Snow and Montec divide the population into loyal shoppers, who appreciate decent quality at unbeatable prices, and those who turn up their noses at what they consider sub-par quality, and would not be seen dead in Montec or Snow Dope.

If you trawl through online reviews on Reddit or TrustPilot — and not those potentially fake ones companies like to pop on their own website that you cannot verify — customers seem overall happy with their gear. However, most will be quick to admit, that the quality does not quite compare to other more expensive brands. Many fans of the brands point out that for skiing only five days a year, the appealing design and affordability justify their purchase decision.

Jesper Tjaeder
Freestyle skier Jesper Tjäder in Dope Snow’s JT line, produced in collaboration. | Picture: Jesper Tjäder Instagram

In an industry, where barriers to entry are as high as they are in the ski industry, and a dropout rate of 80% for first-timers, it is understandable, that many new to skiing would be drawn to a brand that will not set you back $1,000 for a jacket and pants, if you are not sure that this is a hobby you will continue to pursue. 

There is nothing wrong with making skiing more affordable, so every little bit helps. But affordability should never come at the price of sustainability, and what the world does not need, is a fast fashion ski brand that pumps out poor quality clothing that ends up in the landfill after one season. Textile production is a major contributor to CO2 emissions and also consumes vast amounts of drinking water. Each year, about 11.3 million tons of textile waste, or 85% of all textiles sold end up in a landfill. That’s a staggering 81.5 pounds (37 kilograms) per person per year. Unfortunately, 80% of clothing donations end up in a landfill, as there simply are too many items of clothing.

Polyester production is responsible for 1.5 trillion pounds (or 706 billion kg) of CO2 emissions. | Picture: World Resources Institute

To address this problem, RideStore partnered with Swiss company Texaid to offer the RidesStore Renewed program, where people can buy recycled/upcycled ski gear. In the YouTube video, RideStore states that they sold 11,000 items from renewed products, but since this is a private company, these claims cannot be verified.

Information provided by Montec versus information provided by a Swedish competitor. | Picture: Montec Website and Peak Performance Website

What is concerning is that the company appears to be omitting some legally required information on its website about its products. According to the Textile and Wool Act, a company is required to share the import status and the fiber types of the fabric. The consumer cannot be sure what they are buying exactly as they provide no information on their website and while it may be on the label, which I cannot confirm, that is of little use when their products are only available online.

Another often cited criticism is that neither brand “gives back to the sport” — aka they don’t sponsor athletes or events. However, it appears from recent announcements and initiatives that the brands are actively changing this. Dope Snow is sponsoring various skiers and boarders, such as Jesper Tjäder, and is sponsoring ‘ride-days’ such as the Dope Snow Ride Day at Perisher, Australia, on July 22, 2023. Dope Snow has been advertising these events on social media.

Personally, all of the negative points above will stop me from buying any gear from Montec or Dope Snow. I ski 150 days a year and I need high-quality gear that keeps me warm and that lasts for years. I have taken some of my gear back to get fixed and have never been charged for repairs, even those from wear and tear. I like gear that is timeless and stands the test of time — and most of all, weather. I cannot assess Montec or Dope Snow’s quality having never bought these brands, but I understand how, for those who ski or ride just a few days a year, the purchase makes sense.

Have you bought an item from Dope Snow or Montec, and do you have any feedback? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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One thought on “Cheap Ski Wear Flooding Social Media — A Look at Dope Snow and Montec

  1. I purchased a Montec ski parka and I am quite happy with it. I don’t know how the author can conclude that the product is only good for a part time skier without ever buying and trying the product?

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