Ski biz unveils Trump, Clinton skis

Hillary and The Donald are hitting the slopes together this winter, thanks to a Vermont ski company.

Cyrus Schenck of Renoun ski in Burlington has introduced limited edition Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton skis — Trump is the right ski, Hillary is the left ski — featuring ornate artwork by local graphic artist Jamie Tam.

"It's one of those things we expect people to hang on their wall," Schenck said. "It is artwork."

The skis also are a no-holds-barred, comic book portrayal of the voluminous indiscretions, faults and weaknesses of the candidates in a presidential election unprecedented for its controversy and general distaste for the American public.

"I gave Jamie some sketches, he was like, 'All right, I got this,'" Schenck said. "He went to town. There's so much detail."

The tops of the skis — red for Republican Trump, blue for Democrat Clinton — feature portraits of the candidates wearing buttons that say "#1 most disliked" for Trump, and "#2 most disliked" for Clinton. A police tape weaves in and out of the collage of images on Clinton's ski, intended to reflect the lack of trust some voters feel in her, Schenck said. A border wall runs throughout the images on Trump's ski, reflecting his plan to wall off the United States from Mexico.

"We didn't hold back on this," Schenck said.

That's clear in the image of a naked Trump covered by a fig leaf and a character pointing to him, saying, "Tiny hands..." On Clinton's ski, a ringing phone is captioned "Benghazi is calling." Yet, Schenck is unconcerned about offending anyone.

"Any kind of offense we might stir up will pale in comparison to what has already been said by the candidates," he said.

Schenck said Renoun will make 50 pairs of the Trump/Clinton skis, at a retail price of $2,016 per pair. Non-partisan Renoun skis that don't make a political statement cost $1,150 to $1,395 per pair.

Schenck, 25, launched his company in 2015 utilizing a new technology — a layer of non-Newtonian material that allows the skis to instantly change their characteristics to suit conditions, whatever they might be.

Non-Newtonian is an umbrella term that can apply to a wide range of materials that don't exhibit a linear stress/strain relationship, including ketchup, Schenck explained last year.

"Think about a ketchup bottle," he said. "Turn it upside down, and it just stays there. It doesn't come out. If you shake it, it comes flying out. So the more of an impact, the less viscous, the runnier it becomes. The stuff we use is the opposite. The harder you hit it, the more thick it becomes."

Schenck said his skis have been met with skepticism in some circles — until the skeptics strapped them on.

"Guys want to call you out, but they get on them and they can't," he said.

Renoun has increased production by about 70 percent this year, Schenck said. He expects to generate about $250,000 in revenue this ski season. All Renoun skis, including the Hillary and Trump models, are sold exclusively online, direct to consumers.

"We just sent out 100 T-shirts to customers, thanking them for being part of the family," Schenck said.

Schenck declined to say who he will be voting for next month.


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