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Westward Season 6 / Episode 1

Corinne Prevot

Corinne Prevot was a 16-year-old high school Nordic skier at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy when she realized she couldn’t find a hat that felt good to ski in. She wanted something that could handle sweat and moisture but that was also warm. So, she found some fun, fleecy fabric and sewed one herself. Then she started sewing them for her teammates. The idea took off. She came up with a name for her hats—Skida, the Swedish word for ski—and started selling them.

By the time she was enrolled at Vermont’s Middlebury College, she was running a full-scale business out of her dorm room. “It just grew organically,” Prevot says. “There was no pivotal moment. It just continuously and gradually seemed to get bigger and more elaborate.”

The product line expanded into headbands and neck gaiters. Prevot was still selecting all the fabrics, working with a network of sewers in Vermont, and spending hours each day packing and shipping hats. By the time she graduated college in 2013, she didn’t have to go out and look for a job like everyone else. She already had one.

Skida is now headquartered in Burlington, Vermont, where Prevot, the company’s CEO, manages a staff of nearly 20 people. “The community in Vermont is very receptive to a locally made product,” she says. “We’ve been really lucky to grow the business in a small city like Burlington and a small state like Vermont. Here, the story supports itself.”

Skida hats are now sold in hundreds of stores across the U.S. and Prevot, who’s just 29, was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. She still finds plenty of time to get out and ski. “I call myself a skier, through and through,” she says. “Lately, it’s been a lot of backcountry touring. It’s a delicate balance. I try to do something active every day.”

Westward Series: Season 6

What is it about Vermont? There are places with bigger mountains that get more snow and less subzero temps. But there is no place with a more committed core of skiers. Raining? No problem. Bulletproof? They invented bulletproof. Negative 20 and 30mph wind? Better be ready at 6am so you can get first chair at Stowe.