Old School Ski Gear Meets Modern Materials at Owner Operator


Owner Operator’s retro looks belie its modern functionality. The waterproof Sport mittens, seen above, deliver solid 70s styling, but are made from the latest technical materials.

Rhode Island may not be known for it’s big mountain scene, but that hasn’t stopped Owner Operator from creating a sought-after line of snow apparel from right here in the Ocean State. With its technical outerwear, luggage, and accessories, the brand packs some serious cool into its designs. Driven by classic lines and a 1970s aesthetic, Owner Operator’s wares might look like they came from a snow-covered time machine, but those throwback looks belie their technical capacity, which features all the functionality of modern gear.


Owner Operator’s signature 111 Parka was the first piece they produced in 2008. The nostalgic snowboarding jacket is still a popular item from the line.

Launched in 2008 by Steve Kimura and Pete Sieper, who grew up snow- and skateboarding in upstate New York, the brand was conceived as a way to recapture the style that inspired them as kids. But if you’ve never heard of Owner Operator, don’t be alarmed – the brand’s biggest market is in Japan, where they’ve had huge success, especially in Sapporo, famous for its epic snow.

Not headed to Sapporo anytime soon? Not to worry. While you won’t find Owner Operator from any RI retailers, the gear is available through their website and in their Pawtucket factory store. “We never intended to build a hard-to-find boutique brand,” says Steve, who moved operations from Boston to more affordable Pawtucket, RI in 2010 (Pete works primarily from New York and some pieces are manufactured there); consumer demand just drove it that way. “We dug in, and sought to create something cool,” says Steve, “and found a way to give back to and grow the scene we’d always loved.”


Steve Kimura holds up a backpack in Owner Operator’s Pawtucket studio.



Jillian Tullgren is a native of upstate New York, happily transplanted to Newport, RI. A natural born explorer, she enjoys green juice and a daily dose of yoga and is motivated by the idea of endless possibilities and inspired by everything and anything. You can find her at the beach sipping Yerba Mate and planning her next adventure. Follow her on Instagram @gypseachild.

    1 Comment

    • Reply February 20, 2016

      Official JT fan club

      It’s time to dip dive dip, these jackets won’t rip, these rhymes are legit, this writer is a hit.

      As I provide the slide, it’s time to take a ride, this stuff with take you higher, glide glide glide, as I go by – everyone breaks their necks just to admire

      Flow with the flow its time to hit some snow, I dip slide rip, ski ride flip, make it down the mountain in this gear and just dip dive dip.

      Then get some coco

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