Getting to Know TSL Outdoor PROFILE S nowshoes were invented more than 10,000 years ago, and a lot has changed since these early models were first developed. One company that’s been on the front lines of innovation is French brand TSL Out- door. We caught up with TSL general manager for North America Marion Gal- lay to hear what makes TSL unique. Inside Outdoor: How did TSL get its start? Marion Gallay: TSL was born and raised in the middle of the French Alps, in La Clusaz, which is a pretty cool place to grow up, I can tell you. It all started 40 years ago. After a Canadian trip, Jean-Claud Bibollet brought back some wooden Canadian snowshoes and decided to make his own plastic versions. My dad, who was a mountain guide at the time, was us- ing them to take his customers into the backcountry to eat cheese fondues. Not long after starting the company, Jean Claud Bibollet decided to sell, so my dad borrowed 8,000 Francs ($1,250) from his father, and the company ended up in my family’s garage. That’s the power of cheese fondue on French peo- ple. My dad and granddad then started to build snowshoes in our garage and to develop the inexistent market in France. A few years later, TSL started to de- velop worldwide, the garage became too small, and they had to move the factory 20 miles away from home. Year after year, the company expanded from just my granddad and dad building snowshoes in our garage to 80 employees during the season building snow- shoes in our factory in France. But don’t worry, we didn’t forget our roots; my granddad is still building snowshoe parts in our garage. IO: How is TSL changing the way consumers think about snowshoes? MG: Indeed, TSL snowshoes are very different from what you are used to in the U.S. Even though it’s a standard in Eu- rope, we just have different roots. When we think of snowshoeing, we think safety, comfort and efficiency. All of our frames are hourglass shaped for the most natu- ral walking experience. We even built a 100 percent flexible snowshoe for an even more natural stride, the Symbioz Hyperflex, which is one of our top sellers. Our high range snowshoes are equipped with alpine style crampons to enhance the grip on any type of snow, even on the steepest terrain. And then, there are our bindings. I think that our bindings are what really set us apart. Our bindings are made to be pre-set and are all equipped with a glob- al memory system. This means that once they are pre-set, they are super easy to take on and off, whilst holding your foot perfectly secure, just like a snowboard binding, without forgetting that the heel- lift is attached to the binding, allowing it to always be well positioned whatever foot size and freeing the user from any pressure points. It’s all about having the most natural experience. IO: What are some of the other products TSL currently offers? MG: TSL is also offering poles. We have ski touring and snowshoeing poles, of course, but we also have more summer/all-season oriented poles. We have a range of trekking and hiking poles, and we have more specific prod- ucts like Nordic walking and trail run- ning poles with a pretty cool magnetic handle, a TSL patent. I know poles in trail running are not a big thing yet in the U.S., but it is quite big in Europe, and our trail running poles are our summer top sellers in Europe for sure. IO: How has your company navigated COVID-19? MG: Well, pretty well! Because we produce our snowshoes entirely in our factories in France (Annecy-le-Vieux, in the middle of the French Alps), from the plastic molding to the expedition, it’s easier for us to control the produc- tion and to adapt to any situation and to demand. We have the capacity to produce 3,000 pairs of snowshoes per day, so we are ready to follow all the market fluctuations. IO: What’s in store for TSL in 2021? MG: I can’t tell you everything yet, but we have a new binding coming that will be even more global, and I am re- ally looking forward to being part of the first test of this product. Then we have some exciting summer projects but nothing I can talk about yet. You’ll have to wait and see. m TSL’s Marion Gallay InsideOutdoor | 21