The North Face's Global General Manager on What Inspires Him About Aspen

By Tess Strokes | March 21, 2019 | People Lifestyle

Inspired by Mountains and Modern Design, This Guy has the Coolest Job in Aspen.

While Scott Mellin revels in the irregular and complex lines of the mountains he climbs and skis, the global general manager of performance sports for The North Face craves strict symmetry and clean design in his home, a Swiss modern house he shares with his wife, Heidi, and two teenage children. Mellin runs a $1.6 billion business unit for one of the biggest outdoor brands in the world from Aspen, albeit with a lot of travel. Mellin ensures The North Face authentically designs, builds and markets products for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, mountaineering and trail running relevant to changing consumer habits in the mountains. The 53-year-old who sat on the board for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver for several years believes in the importance of aesthetics. “I have an appreciation for the power of design in product, art and my own home,” says Mellin. “It communicates a lot about what you stand for.”

Prototype Design

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“Having an eye for design certainly helps. What’s equally important is innovation. When we have really powerful design and innovation, that’s where the magic happens.”

Aspen Art Museum

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“For a mountain town to have a world-class art museum is an extraordinary thing. What I love about fine art is the amount of risk an artist takes. Brands have a very low risk tolerance. I like bringing a high level of risk into my work—that breeds innovation.”

Testing in the Wild

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“Living in Aspen has helped me maintain a close relationship with the outdoors. We’ve developed a system where we ideate in the mountains on the weekends and build prototypes during the week. I have a curated collection of friends and professionals who help me debug all that product and optimize it for the public.”

Lift Line Inspo

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“From a design perspective, there’s a richness in Aspen because it’s so global. I love observing what’s happening in the lift line, how people are dressing for a Highland Bowl hike and what people are wearing on the Ajax Tavern patio on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a constellation of different people with a wide-ranging style base, whether it’s high fashion or mountaineering gear.”

The Mountains

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“The iconicness of the Elks never fades. The difficultness of the Elks has forced me to be a better skier. I have an affinity for the Aspen backcountry and the Braun Huts.”

My Kitchen

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“Heidi is a chef. My favorite place to eat is at home.” (Mellin’s wife was also the general contractor during the remodel of their house, working with S2 Architects.)



Photography by: PROTOTYPE PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT MELLIN; MUSEUM PHOTO BY MICHAEL MORAN COURTESY OF THE AAM; SKIER PHOTO COURESTY OF SCOTT MELLIN; PATIO PHOTO BY STEVE GOFF COURTESY OF AJAX TAVERN; ELK MOUNTAINS PHOTO BY ETTA MEYER; KITCHEN PHOTO BY MICHAEL BRANDS COURTESY OF S2 ARCHITECTS