If there’s one thing that has stayed constant about Mike Arzt and Frank Phillips’ friendship over the years- from their initial introduction working together at Burton almost twenty years ago - it can be found in the statement they collectively wrote about Hellbrook, a backcountry snowboard run near Stowe, Vermont.
Hellbrook has never been about a place. It is about a feeling, a philosophy, a goal, a friendship, new friendships, passion, fear, excitement, new challenges, failures that result in a desire to do better, a dream. It is about life and what we want out of it. Hellbrook is different to everyone, but our goal is to create an environment that helps everyone find his or her own “Hellbrook”. If Hellbrook is the same experience each time you go there, we have failed. Hellbrook cannot be static. Hellbrook is about getting up earlier, hiking harder and faster to get their first. You could wait for someone else to come down to tell you it sucked, but you would never hit the major score. If you get up first, hike faster only to find out it’s not good, what should you do next time? Get up first, hike harder and drop in first. There are many people along the way that help you find Hellbrook. Some may play only a small part, but you would never find it on your own. Welcome to our Hellbrook.
There is a moment inside every adventurer that resonates as unparalleled. For the winter enthusiast it’s a white blanket wrapped around you as you carve into the fresh film of snow beneath those salt-shaker skies. It’s the feeling you get on a Tuesday afternoon, because sometimes you need to clear the schedule for an epic powder day. A grin emerges across your flushed cheeks, exhaustion lends a euphoric ease and you look around the room with your buddies who, like you, sit slouched, sweat-soaked, and fully satisfied. Your muscles tingle, your toes have gone numb, but you feel good, really good. You know if you were to take off your beanie the smell of sweat is going to linger, but you do it anyway. You remove your gloves, cup your hands around a cold PBR, tuck down your neck gator, take a swig, wipe the beer head off your upper lip and let your body sink, full-weighted, into the base of your chair.
Being on the mountain commands moments like this to be made. Moments that turn into memories. The mountain becomes a place, early on, that perks some of the best conversations, and some of the best silence because the mountain is free from the stressors of a city. For the adventurer, that moment, is what it’s all about.
Battery621 became a reality back in 2010 and for the adventurer it became our mountain away from home. A series of thinking, working, and living outside of certain expectations that exuded its own natural momentum. Curated by the characters that filled its walls over the course of nearly a decade, this momentum drove an infatuation with the space, a place unlike any other in the Denver community. Sure, to the co-working community it had all the amenities, it even had an incredible rooftop deck made out of Skatelite - for practical purposes, of course - but the fact that we had a ping pong table and beer on tap wasn’t key in the crucial connection that made Battery621 what it is. Once a pioneer in the industry of co-working, creative spaces, or however the modern day categorization might envelop it, in a time of trends taking over the market, Battery621 remains an art all its own. A chance meeting here means a lifetime friendship, one we made within four walls, and one that even when the relationships moved beyond our space we continued to depend on, a foundation it laid nearly ten years ago, and the foundation it continues to build upon: The Backstory.
To tell the story of its origin, the story of the people that curated the energy behind the walls, the story that keeps enveloping new adventures moving into 2019 is a story of evolution.
Battery621 is unique. It comes from a lineage of outdoor enthusiasts, from a compilation of diverse perspectives, but at its foreground it is a compliment to human growth and to connection — something we can all agree keeps evolving with each new tenant and their contribution to our community. The founding partners Mike Arzt, Frank Phillips, Ellen Winkler, and Jason Winkler carried its culmination for the past several years but have since taken new routes in business. The Winkler’s having developed their own concept INDUSTRY, departed from the partnership May of 2018 inviting a new lean into Battery621 and its next phase of storytelling from founders Mike Arzt and Frank Phillips, co-owners of The Public Works.
The name “Battery621” was Arzt’ brain child, a name that defines a group of barracuda and grew to represent the greater collective: a power element, a fortified unit of soldiers and their artillery, and then, the endless attributes Battery621’s community has made to it since. A creative cadre emerged in Mike and Frank’s time working together at Burton when the two of them and their girlfriends, now wives, moved into an old rundown house to spend their days smitten by a love for immersing themselves into everything from wrenching dirt bikes and boats in the garage, fixing up the house, and figuring out the future of snowboarding. Frank recalls, “During those many hours together we had plenty of time to talk about what we wanted out of life if our dream job at Burton happened to fade away. In those conversations, we put together the rough ideas for The Public Works, and then sketched out the idea for what kind of environment we wanted to show up for work to every morning. What we felt would encourage The Public Works to flourish as a company helping other settled in helping other great brands tell their stories well. ” Battery621 was a place dedicated to curating an energy source for the creative mind.
Collectively Mike and Frank have tackled their passion for the outdoors working in conjunction with some of the world’s leading brands such as Jeep, Airwalk, Airstream, Veuve Clicquot, Red Bull, and Levi Strauss. The two have their own enclave within Battery621, The Public Works, Cirque Distribution, and Supple Collection. Frank’s enthusiasm for engineering plays synergistically aside Mike’s passion for photography and brand storytelling. When not shooting photos or developing a new product you can find them hiking to a favorite nearby peak, exploring oceans, rivers, canyons, deserts alongside family and friends.
The backstory of Battery621, in hindsight, is more of an understory, a current that keeps propelling us forward, planting new ideas and watching them seek their fruition. How we’ve developed our brand relies on the character we’ve curated — this origin of people redefining the role of work. Nine years wiser, the longstanding vision of its curators encases here, within its walls, the storytellers of a currency that didn’t build its foundation in money but in epic moments.
A wild burst of creativity and originality emerges from the unexpectedly quiet character of the adventurers within our walls and we’re simply along for the ride. Everything is changing, nothing is static, and Battery621 keeps evolving. The spirit of Battery621 exists in a landscape that grew beyond our brick and mortar in its original onset with companies like Icelantic Skis, Spyder, Jiberish, Company Be, Mackey Saturday, First Descents, and so many more. It continues on with a present dialogue of our current tenants: Something Independent, Waste Farmers, Global Sales Guys, Weston Snowboards, Powder Fiend, The Pine Cone Project, Pure Brand, Golf Kicks, Handll, Zenman, Studio Hippo, Back Forty, Better With Bacon, InFlow, Pyptek, FeltSoul Media, Traverse Image, Atlas Marketing, VR Visage, HireuAV Pro, Character Builders, Vesica, Noronna,The Cabinet Face, Cirque Distribution, Supple Collection, Ascendeur, and of course, The Public Works.
Our community is very much alive, our impact far exceeding the followers we have on social media. A nine year stint at “B621” the foundational brick and mortar continues to thrive. With each new connection we’ve built another memory, another moment. How we categorize the foundational pieces of our complicated backstory begins and ends within the many stories that have passed through these four walls. Discovering the secrets to a world of wellness in work lent an opportunity to tend to the big picture.