As the ski talents that we were, we arrived at the ski boarding school in Austria. We were looking forward to improving our skills there, but this excitement diminished a bit when we heard about the house rule that forbade us to wear our beloved jeans.” This is the story of Marcel and Roger Grivec, founders of Grivec Bros, who survived a few months of their life without wearing hardly any pair of jeans.
Besides our passion for jeans, there used to be something else that Roger and I really loved: we loved skiing. It all started with some friends of our parents. Going on a winter sports holiday was something they regularly did. They influenced our folks to do the same. You know how that goes with friends. Our parents figured it would be good for Roger and me to practice a bit with skiing before heading off on our winter sports holiday. We were around seven years at that time. Before we knew it, we found ourselves on our way to Baraque Michel in Belgium where the ski journey began. Covered in lots of snow, this part of winter wonderland seemed like the perfect venue to practice skiing for the very first time. Thus, we rented some skis over there and did not hesitate to start our first practice in the Ardennes.
This first experience with skiing in nature was fun, but in order to be well prepared for a winter sports holiday, some professional ski lessons seemed to be necessary. And that is exactly what our parents arranged for us. In Brunssum, there was a ski slope, where we got our first ten ski lessons. This way, we would learn the basics. However, it didn’t take long before our ski teacher noticed our outstanding talent for skiing. One thing led to another. We became a part of the ski team that was called Sigi Moser. This resulted in us participating in competitions and winning prizes. If only we knew back then that many steps would still follow in our ski journey…
Our next step was national competitions. The Dutch ski association was also present at these competitions, and we definitely impressed them. How did we know that? Well, we were invited to their ski camps for boys and girls that excelled at skiing. These ski camps took place during school breaks. Every Christmas break, spring break, summer break, you name it. More competitions followed, which led to our next step: the Dutch ski team. But this still wasn’t the end of our ski journey.
But what could potentially be the next stop in our ski adventure? Well, that was the ski boarding school in Austria. This seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Upon our arrival there, we were looking forward to improving our skills, but this excitement diminished a bit when we heard about the house rule that forbade us to wear our beloved jeans. As the children of owners of a jeans store, the sudden transformation from denim to Tenue de Ville was - as you can imagine - a big one for us. You could even say that we were born in jeans. In every single childhood picture, we are wearing jeans. The only moment in our childhood that I remember us not wearing jeans was at the time of our Communion, when we had to wear a pair of itchy trousers. The absolute worst. I assume you can already guess what the first thing was that we did after we got home from church. Indeed, we put our jeans back on. And I could go on and on like this, but my point is clear: denim was a big part of our life. How were we going to survive without?
Fortunately, the ban on jeans didn’t last long, because there was resistance from within. Even though there were guys that absolutely never ever wore jeans, there were luckily also some dudes that shared our love for jeans. There were even some teachers that were not too fond of the rule that forbade them to wear jeans. Our resistance paid off. After a while, we were allowed to wear our beloved jeans during weekends. Then Fridays followed, and Thursdays. And eventually, after three months, they also couldn’t stop us from wearing jeans on the other weekdays. Although it was never officially announced that it was allowed to wear jeans from that moment on, they couldn’t hold us back anymore. In a sneaky way, we made sure that the jeans won. Yes!
Did we benefit from our time at the ski boarding school in Austria in terms of our ski skills? Yes. We, unfortunately, were no international superstars, but we had the honor of skiing against international stars, such as the Italian skier Alberto Tomba. Although we were talented and had flair, this couldn’t make up for the years of experience that these international top skiers had. Just like we took swimming lessons from an early age, they took ski lessons. I guess you could say that they were born on skis, the way we were born in jeans. But that’s okay, because who can tell a story like this?