Face masks to take on the cold - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Face masks to take on the cold

East Burke, Vermont - January 9, 2012

Knitting, sewing and ironing. Twenty-seven year old Steve Mahon is not your typical crafter.

"I guess I  just wanted to learn to do something new," he said.

Mahon comes home from his day job at Burke Mountain, managing the terrain, to this second job, keeping faces warm on the mountain.

"They keep your neck warm, keep your face warm and we're trying to develop a good system to keep your goggles from fogging," he said.

His company, Face Mask, is better known on the slopes as Face. "On the slopes I'm out there everyday and people say, 'hey man, that looks awesome, I want one.' And then their friends want one," he said.

It all started when he bought a pink knitted neck warmer for a dollar and decided he wanted to learn how to make his own. He learned to knit through Youtube.

"Knitting was kind of tough. I was like, oh man this is taking forever, so I got a sewing machine and started learning different ways to put a face mask together using fleece and whatever fabric I could," Mahon said.

It could be considered a more fashionable and warmer approach than say -- growing a beard.  The masks come in all sorts of colors combos and patterns.
"It's a style thing now too -- everyone's wearing their face mask and they may not have it all the way up. They may not have the mask over their nose. They may have it down around their neck only. It kind of finishes the whole ensemble though," Mahon said.

Most Velcro on like a bandana. Then there's the face sleeve that slips over your head for warmer days. The fleece lined gear costs 20 to 27 dollars.  

Two years ago Mahon sold about 30 Face masks. last year he quadrupled sales, selling 120.  And this year demand is heating up for the face warmers. He's now hired a part time sewer in Saint Johnsbury and he has ambitious plans, hoping to open a store and make face a well known brand.

"When you think about Vermont you say -- Vermont, there's cows, there's Cabot Cheese and Ben and Jerry's. Vermont is also synonymous with cold weather," he said. "You come up to Burke Mountain in February and your face is going to be cold."

Stitching together a new local way to stay warm on the slopes.

Mahon's Face Masks are sold at the Burke Mountain store, Village Skate and Snow, The East Burke Sports Shop and online at www.thefacemask.com


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