Rick Alden works at business, and he plays at it, too.
The founder of Park City-based Skullcandy loves nothing more than snowboarding through fresh powder on a remote mountain. He first made this love a part of his career in 1986, when he started National Snowboard Inc., a marketing company that produced snowboard events across the country.
Spending countless days on mountains at these events made Alden frustrated with the snowboard binding systems then in use. That led to the launch in 1995 of Device Manufacturing, which made the first-ever step-in snowboard boot and binding system.
Alden sold Device to Atomic Ski Co. in 1999. But he wasn't finished innovating. Sitting on a chairlift and listening to his headphones one day, he faintly heard his cell phone ringing. As he struggled to get his gloves and headphones off while digging into his pocket for the phone, Alden wondered: Why couldn't he put two plugs on the same pair of headphones one for the music, and another for the phone?
That's where Skullcandy came from. In January 2002, Alden found a factory that produced both stereo headphones and mobile hands-free devices. Within 30 days, the first sample of Skullcandy's Link device was made. Alden convinced electronics buyers to market his products as "lifestyle" items rather than merely headphones.
He saw more potential in Skullcandy, developing an entire line of products, like the company's popular "Skullcrusher" headphones, which have two standard speakers and two subwoofer cones. Why so much bass? Because Alden likes it that way.