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Alden started skiing in Massachusetts in 1970, moved to Colorado in 1975, and started snowboarding in 1985. While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, Alden began managing the Wave Rave snowboard team which included snowboarding legends such as Tim Windell, Dave Dowd, Kevin Delaney, the Pappas Brothers and Jim Gardner. Alden's brother, Dave Alden, was a professional snowboarder riding on the Burton Pro team from 1983 to 1990.
Education and career
While studying the University of Colorado at Boulder, Alden co-founded his first company with Jim Gardner in 1986—National Snowboard Inc (NSI). An events and marketing company producing consumer, amateur, and pro-snowboarding events nationwide. As quoted by Rocky Mountain News reporter, David Lewis, on February 5, 1992,"Gardner and Alden did not invent snowboarding, but they distilled it, translated it, and marketed it. They were instrumental in making snowboarding an industry and not just another youth-culture fad." When NSI moved to Denver in the late 1980s Rick transferred to the University of Colorado Denver, where he received a his Bachelor of Arts in political science. Alden sold NSI to the American Ski Association in 1991. After years of snowboarding, Alden launched his second venture in 1995, designing and patenting the first ever step-in snowboard boot and binding system. This venture was co-founded with snowboard industry veteran Brett Conrad, and launched under the brand name, Device Manufacturing. A few years later, Conrad and Alden sold Device Manufacturing to Ride Snowboards. Later, Alden re-acquired the company and sold it again, this time to the Atomic Ski Company.
In 2003, Alden formed Skullcandy designing products that offered consumer audio solutions conducive to an active lifestyle. The first Skullcandy product – the Skullcandy Portable LINK – was introduced at the 2003 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where it won its first Design and Innovation Award. A few weeks later, the brand was launched to the action sports industry at the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show. An initial tough sell to the action sports market, the first store to branch out and carry the brand was Milo Snow & Skate in Utah. Alden's Park City, business hit $35.7 million in sales in 2007, according to Inc.. CNN Money reports 2008 sales as "...approaching $100 million dollars."
The launch of Skullcandy brought a variety of new opportunities for Alden...In October 2008 CEO of Skullcandy, Rick Alden, debuted 2XL to the general consumer marketplace. A new line of audio electronics, 2XL offers "music to the people" and is available in Best Buy, Circuit City and a variety of other mainstream markets. A bold and unique line of headphones and audio accessories rooted in lifestyle and culture, 2XL offers today’s generation “individual style with universal appeal”, including a level of unprecedented self-expression and diversity. A youth-centric brand, 2XL speaks to all facets of the youth market with timely, attention grabbing aesthetics and meaningful performance.
Awards and recognition
As CEO of Skullcandy, Alden, has been named one of vSpring Capital's "Top 100 Venture Entrepreneurs" in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, and holds a patent for technology that integrates mobile phones and music players. In addition, Alden was named Enrst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for the state of Utah during the spring of 2008. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes men and women who have excelled at growing and sustaining market-leading businesses. As CEO and Founder of Skullcandy, Alden has built a company dedicated to producing high-performance audio products, successfully saturating both the mainstream and action sports markets.
In September 2008, Alden was featured on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. In 2008, he was also featured as #31 in (#1 in Consumer Electronics Category) Inc. "Inc 5000 Award" for Skullcandy's three-year (2004–2007) growth of 24,077.4%. In addition to his national recognition, Alden's company, Skullcandy, was noted as being "the world's coolest ear bud," by both CNN Money and Fortune magazine during December 2008. A multimillion-dollar company, Entrepreneur magazine named Skullcandy a "Top 100 Company to Watch" in their June 2009 issue.
During early 2009, Alden was honored as being named CEO of the Year for Utah, as seen in the March 2009 issue of Utah Business Magazine. His award recognition was due to Skullcandy's tremendous growth and development through 2008, as well as Alden's overall managerial style and core leadership with driving the companies direction.
In December 2009, Rick was named Entrepreneur's Entrepreneur of the Year and appeared on the cover of the January 2010 issue. Alden was also selected as a national finalist for Ernst & Young's entrepreneur of the year. Over the years, Alden is often called on to speak in various entrepreneurial settings, as well as panels such as an executive panel at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, CO.
In addition to Alden's entrepreneurship, he is the holder of numerous patents in the snowboarding, audio and electronics industry and fly fishing industries, including a design patent for the Orvis Batternkill Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel.
Alden is grandson of Rose Marie Reid, recognized as being one of the most famous women during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1955, Reid, an American swimsuit designer, was named Designer of the Year by Sports Illustrated and Woman of the Year by Time magazine.
He is a known resident of Vail Colorado and Park City, Utah
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- Skullcandy Home Page
- 2XL Home Page
- Article: Entrepreneur's Aim to Build Brand Loyalty - Wall Street Journal
- Article: Rick Alden Featured as Top 5 CEO's of 2009 - Entrepreneur Magazine
- Article: Inc 5000, 2009 - Skullcandy Makes Mark as #14
- Article: Inc. Magazine Interviews Rick Alden
- Article: Skullcandy's CEO -- What Makes a Good Salesperson
- Dealerscope Talks 2XL with Rick Alden
- Article: Utah Pulse Magazine Spotlights Rick Alden
- Article: Inc. Magazine Interviews Rick Alden on "What Makes A Great Salesperson?"
- Article: LaunchUtah.com
- Article: Transworld Business
- Article: Rick Alden as featured in Rocky Mountain Voices
- Article: Rick Alden Nominated for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- Article: Inc. Magazine Spotlights Skullcandy
- Article: Salt Lake Tribune Talks Skullcandy, Alden, & Success
- Utah talks local success
- Article: Rick Alden as spotlighted by Deseret News
- Video: Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference panel