Stöckli enables both amateur and professional skiers to reach new heights in the practice of their sport. A look back at the 86-year history of this celebrated Swiss manufacturer.
Back in 1935, downhill skiing was just as popular with winter sports and outdoors enthusiasts as it is now. However, the equipment used at the time would appear very rudimentary to today’s skiers. Ski equipment was prohibitively expensive in the early 20th century, so Josef Stöckli, like many young people of his era, would hit the slopes with slats of wood tied to his feet. In the mid-1930s, his natural curiosity and inventiveness inspired him to improve the performance of these simple wooden boards. He made his first pairs out of ash, a malleable wood that he could easily bend into shape after steaming it over a boiling washtub. The son of a carpenter, he also had the idea of carving grooves into the underside to make the skis lighter. By 1935, he had already made fifty pairs for his intrepid skier friends, who demanded more. A brand was born.
An accomplished skier, Josef Stöckli continued to innovate and experiment, only selling skis that he himself had tested. When he constructed his first pair of laminated skis out of ash and hickory in 1945, unlike other manufacturers, he used a steam press to create a constant distribution of heat and make the skis more durable. In 1957, he began manufacturing metal skis, three years before Frenchman Jean Vuarnet won gold at Squaw Valley wearing metal skis.
While the company’s reputation grew, Josef Stöckli was far from satisfied with the way that retailers treated his products. Deciding to go it alone, he made a bold move in 1967 and began selling his affordably priced high-quality products directly to consumers, a distribution system the company still uses today. Josef Stöckli died in February 2010, leaving his family and descendants the only Swiss ski manufacturer still in operation.
When Josef’s son Beni Stöckli took over for his father in the late 1970s, he also had to deal with opposition from various sports equipment retailers who were unhappy that Stöckli sold directly to consumers. To raise the company’s profile, management decided to equip Elmar Reindl, a high-level regional competitor. The strategy paid off with immediate results. There was fierce competition among all the companies to attract young Swiss skiers and be accepted as a supplier in the prestigious Swiss Ski Pool. Stöckli was finally accepted in 1994.
Beni Stöckli wanted to strengthen and broaden the foundation his father had left him. In the early 1980s, he began manufacturing clothing with the help of his wife, Rita. Back then, sportswear was still bulky and heavy. The company focussed on waterproof, windproof, lightweight clothing designed to appeal to customers interested in the latest trends. This diversification enabled the Swiss giant to introduce its style to the slopes. In 2008, the founder’s grandson Beni Stöckli Jr. took over the reins, infusing the company with the same spirit and determination as his predecessors.
The Stöckli brand is inextricably linked with major downhill ski events and Olympic gold. On March 25, 1995, Urs Kälin brought the manufacturer its first official title when he won the giant slalom at the Swiss championships. The following year, he placed first at the World Cup race in Austria and won silver at the World Ski Championships wearing Stöckli brand skis. From that moment on, the company was a player on the global stage. A string of successes followed and, at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, the name Stöckli was associated with not one but five medals.
Stöckli’s brand image has always been associated with Switzerland and “Swissness.” It’s synonymous for high quality, expertise, and innovation. Still uniquely proud of its products, the firm continues to operate a selective distribution network. Its clothing and skis are sold only by handpicked, preferred suppliers to ensure that customers receive the best in-store advice when making their purchase. In North America, Stöckli USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company, has managed sales and marketing for the United States and Canada since 2016. Their highly diverse product line includes a variety of ski models designed specifically for the snow conditions in our regions and the team at Ski Lachance in Mont Tremblant is well placed to counsel you. The range of equipment can confuse novices as well as experienced skiers looking for the model that best suits their capabilities. Dustin Cook, a former member of the Canadian ski team, super-G silver medallist at the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek and winner of the 2015 World Cup finals in Méribel, closed his career wearing Stöckli skis. An avid admirer of the Swiss manufacturer, he spoke about the differences between ski models and the importance of getting advice. “These skis are, in my opinion, the very best on the market. I still use Stormrider 95 and Stormrider 102 skis. The 95s can work in any terrain, while the 102s are perfect for powder and provide excellent stability. Stöckli offers a wide range of products that are not only meant for experts. If you’re a beginner, the models I use might not suit you. It’s important to choose the right model for your skill level.” Stöckli can meet the needs of everyone and even provide a coat to match the skis. Talk about Swiss efficiency!