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Meet the founder – Chris Westen

Written by Chris Westen

In this picture: Chris spraying his way down 'Laub'
Engelberg, Switzerland

On doctors advise, my parents took me to the mountains when I was only three years old. The fresh air would be good for me.

In January 1978, I got my first pair of skis on in Les Arcs, the French Alps. From then on, I was addicted to snow for life.

After years of a strict ski school regiment, my parents finally let me roam ‘free’ when I was fifteen. I immediately switched to snowboarding of course. With still using my ski hard boots, I started out on a legendary Hoogerbooger in Portes du Soleil. There I was included in a local wolf pack, which showed me the new world of tree runs and backcountry powder chases.

After graduating a study Fashion management and design in Amsterdam, I was super stoked to land a job at the O’Neill Headquarters in The Netherlands. Allowing me to make products that I would also use myself.

Years flew by, I started as a production controller and soon became a junior buyer, being responsible for the development and realisation of snow outerwear and board shorts. Seven years later, I was asked to help set up the global buying office in Hong Kong and that’s how I’ve landed in Asia.

“ From Japan to Canada and from the USA to Kashmir. I'm always amazed about everything nature has to offer. ”

In this picture: Chris and his wife Jeanine

In the years after, we’ve worked on many different projects, with as my personal highlight, the development of the Jeremy Jones outerwear line. Working together with Jeremy helped me to better translate the needs of big mountain snowboarders to final garments.

His dedication to quality and sustainability gave me the first sparks of the direction and vision that we now follow at Open Wear.

I still feel that the European Alps are my home base. My personal favourite spot is Santa Caterina Valfurva, in Italy. Great easy to access backcountry zone. You have to be lucky with the snow conditions but in combination with the great Italian food: priceless.

The last couple of seasons, I’ve been focusing on split-boarding. Allowing us to access virgin powder fields is the goal, but the nice little extra work-out is also very enjoyable.

A perfect way to enjoy the mountains at a slower pace, to escape the daily chaos and to soak up the silence. Shredding down, I’m still the same young, wild animal.

I’m always longing for the winter. As a father of two, I can’t wait to pass on my snow passion to my two little ones; my extra motivation to everything I can, to keep this beautiful passion of mine alive.


It's amazing to read these stories! Can't wait to see where the brand will go in the future :)!


Ich hoffe im nächsten Winter mit euren Sachen auflaufen zu können :)


We're working on it ;)
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