Who would have thought that Kilian Jornet would leave his sponsor, Salomon?
The duo seemed in perfect synergy:
Salomon is Kilian.
Kilian is Salomon.
As Kilian said on the 30th November 2021, ‘I remember like it was yesterday in the summer of 2003, a friend of a friend gave me a few pairs of trail running shoes. This guy was the director of marketing for Salomon Spain. From that moment on, Salomon not only came a sponsor but a life partner…’
Together, Salomon and Kilian dreamed big… ‘From winning trail and skimo races to climbing high mountains. I was able to make dreams come true that I didn’t even believe possible, and it was in large part thanks to this team.’
For many of us, me included my journey in trail, mountain, ultra and skyrunning coincides with Kilian’s meteoric rise to be the ‘GOAT’ – Greatest Of All Time. We have absorbed his journey, jaws have dropped at his ability, we have had our minds blown by his escapades but now, a new period of history will be made.
I first met Kilian in 2012 and I feel lucky to have shared his journey, notably in skyrunning which Kilian holds very close to his heart. Ask Kilian who provided him the motivation to pursue his dreams and set goals and he will respond with, ‘Bruno Brunod, Fabio Meraldi, Marino Giacometti and Marco De Gasperi.’ This was reflected in his ‘Summits of my Life’ project and particularly his record on the Matterhorn.
Since November, we have all looked back and remembered our journey with Kilian and wonder what is next?
Notably, there have been significant changes for Kilian in recent years. His relationship with Emelie Forsberg, his life in Norway and the arrival of two children most certainly would make one assess and look ahead to a different future. But importantly, the planet, environment and going ‘Green’ has been a very important part of the ‘new’ Kilian. So, it is or was fair to assume that any new project would have ecology at its core.
We have been teased. On the 2nd of February Kilian posted a video of him running with his shoes blurred. He called it, ‘Testing.’
On February 14th he ran a 100-mile race, the Tjörnarparsen Ultra in Skåne, much of the attention was about what was on his feet.
February 23rd he announced his 2022 calendar: Pierra Menta, Zegama, Hardrock 100, Sierre Zinal and UTMB. It was a classic KJ year starting with skimo, a return to the iconic Zegama, Hardrock 100 which is maybe Kilian’s favourite race, the fast and athletic Sierre Zinal and the surprise, UTMB.
On March 5th, Kilian announced he would no longer partner with Suunto, a significant departure as Suunto and Salomon go hand-in-hand. On March 7th, he announced he had joined Coros.
Finally, March 21st we are teased with, ‘Want to find out what’s behind the pixels of the last few months?’ There were some clues in the post, notably the sign-up details linking to The Normal Company, S.L. Which in turn links to Mountainlife SL and again links to Lymbus who manage Kilian. One thing was for sure, links to Mallorca and the brand ‘Camper.’
Well now, that future is disclosed.
It seems a lifetime since November 30th but today, March 2022, Kilian announces his project.
NNormal – Kilian Jornet and Camper will blaze a new trail with NNormal.
A new outdoor sportswear brand, designed and tested between the coasts of Mallorca and the fjords of Norway. The brand’s first products will be launched this Fall. The name reflects the Norway/ Mallorca (Nor-way + Mal-lorca) – designed in Mallorca and tested in Norway.
Kilian speaks on the new project:
“Sharing the same values was a strong motivation to start this project. We agreed that we need a new way of thinking and acting in relation to our environment and outdoor activities… We want to be very honest on how we produce the equipment and on the role the company wants to play for the society and the environment. This means transparency and working to avoid overconsumption by building products that are durable.”
Notably, CEO of Camper, Miguel Fluxà commented:
“Building a new brand is always a very exciting adventure, although we are aware of the challenges involved… We are complementary partners of NNormal. Having the opportunity to conceive it with someone like Kilian is unique: to combine performance with personal responsibility strongly resonates with our DNA. He brings his strong product development expertise and unique vision of the outdoor world, while Camper brings innovation, shoemaking, and design know-how.”
The NNormal assortment will be launched in FW22 in Europe & North America via nnormal.com and specialist outdoor and running stores. The first drop will be limited, focusing on footwear, apparel and accessories for trail running and hiking. Kilian Jornet—the first ambassador of the NNormal team which will be revealed in the coming weeks—will wear them during this year’s race season.
Welcome to NNormal. Your Path, No Trace.
As mentioned above, until early March, Kilian’s new project was a ?. However, with research, it was possible to find out certain things and all my research led to Mallorca and Camper, so, it’s interesting to see that confirmed. Tofol Castanyer is ex Salomon and lives on Mallorca – no doubt instrumental in helping Kilian. As for the new team, it goes without saying Emelie Forsberg will join NNormal but it is not confirmed. There are also some other key names linked if you know where to look… For now, I will hold those names for fear of upsetting any future announcement. However, they can be seen here: https://www.nnormal.com/en/community/
As expected, a strong reference to respecting nature and ecology is paramount and the mission statement includes a reference to products that should be repairable, reusable, or repurposed or recyclable. Camper have already pioneered this with several projects. https://www.camper.com/en_GB/content/social_responsibility
The brand wishes to explore new ways to do things with product, sustainability, business, and social responsibility.
Of course, Kilian and his team will be able to pave a new way and lead by example. That will be relatively easy with Camper backing the project. Of course, the question mark will come how paving a new way still makes the business profitable and viable.
One thing is for sure, this new project will raise a few eyebrows. Camper and run shoes are not the obvious synergy. But Camper has the money and experience and no doubt, this partnership with Kilian must go back many months if not years. A shoe takes a long time to develop, especially a shoe that Kilian will endorse.
“All talk and no action equate to nothing. We know it’s not what we say, but what we do, that defines who we are.”
To conclude, the NNormal manifesto
We run for simple reasons and with a clear mind.
1. We blaze our own trail
Someone once said, we are our dreams… and if we don’t dream, we are no longer
alive. Our unique creative path drives us to give back to people and the planet.
2. Our home is outdoors
We’re passionate about outdoor sports—but above all we’re people. Reaching
the summit is also about the emotions and memories of everyone who’s come
with us on our journey.
3. We empower simplicity
Simplicity means that with less, we can do more. The simplest solution will be
the most efficient, but also the most difficult to imagine.
4. We take responsibility
In the outdoors, just as in life, you rely on the strength of your partners. We won’t
lose our way because there is no set way. We’re responsible for all our actions,
good or bad.
5. We act louder than we speak
All talk and no action equate to nothing. We know it’s not what we say, but what
we do, that defines who we are.
Instagram – @iancorlessphotography
Twitter – @talkultra
Web – www.iancorless.com
Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com