Learned to ski on my Dad’s vintage 1940’s equipment in our back field as a pre-teen. Skied throughout New England, then after college landed at Sugarloaf, Maine. I spent 15 years there, starting as a dishwasher and ski instructor, ultimately becoming the Ski School Director in the late 80’s-early 90’s. During that time I also became an Examiner with the Professional Ski Instructors of America, and spent my summers teaching skiing in LaParva, Chile. In 1993, my wife, daughter, and I moved to Sugarbush, Vermont, where I began as Ski School Director and ultimately became VP of Skier Services. In 2000, I left the ski biz full time and we bought the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, a tourist attraction in the heart of ski country. I still ski over 100 days a season, am still active with PSIA, and do staff training for area ski schools. Both of our kids are ski racers, which gets us around to many areas, and like any ski nut I hit the beer league hard every Thursday night at Bolton Valley.
HOMETOWN: Fayston, Vermont
WHERE I USUALLY SKI: Stowe
FAVORITE PLACES TO SKI: Sugarbush, Blackcomb, Snow Basin, Snowbird, Portillo, St. Anton, Mammoth, Smuggs, Loveland
HOW I LIKE TO SKI:
I used to ski a ton of bumps, but at age 57 I can no longer take a steady diet of them. Like lots of people, I love powder, but here in the East you have to be there to win. Luckily I have a very flexible work schedule in the winter, so I don’t miss too many good days. Some of my favorite conditions are crud snow and steeps, and I spend a fair amount of time in the trees. When I ski out West, I always head for the chutes and bowls. I didn’t come from a race background, but did a fair amount of pro racing early in my ski teaching career. I jump in Masters’ races from time to time, but I wouldn’t be considered rabid by any means. At this point, after skiing all over the world, I will ski anywhere. If there’s good snow and good people to ski with, it makes it all the better.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR IN MY SKIING/EQUIPMENT:
Once you get to a certain level of skiing performance, the last thing you want is for that to slip away when the years pile on. Most skiers my age are moving to a more forgiving boot and more forgiving ski. I think this approach just makes for sloppy skiing. There’s no reason a professional skier can’t expect the same level of performance, it just might not happen all day long. I like to ski on a variety of skis: World Cup slaloms, rockered powder skis, all mountain carvers; but I use only one pair of boots. I have always skied in a race boot, so the snug fit and responsiveness is important. One critical part is the stance and flex. As a tall skier, it’s important to be in a balanced, athletic stance. This allows for more precise and fatigue-free skiing.
FUNNIEST/MOST INTERESTING SKI EXPERIENCE:
One time in the mid-80’s in Chile, Dave Merriam (current Director of Skiing at Stowe) and I went to the ski area next door, Colorado-Farrelones, to do some skiing with the Director, Pepo Hammph. He checked us out, then took us to one of the dozens of lift-serviced chutes they had there. It was a good snow year, but when we dropped into this thing it was death defying. It was definitely a “you fall, you die” kind of ski experience. On top of that it was a warm day so the snow was spring glop. We hopped turned down this thing which more resembled a cliff with snow patches than a ski run. We were bricking the whole way down, sweating bullets, and completely terrified. When we got to the bottom we looked up to see what we had skied and couldn’t believe it. Pepo said he didn’t want to show it to us first because we probably wouldn’t want to try it. He was right. Then he told us that the first time that chute had ever been skied was just the week before.
MOST INTERESTING SKIER I KNOW/ WHO I’D LIKE TO SKI WITH MOST:
Glen Plake. Talk about a guy who has reinvented himself time and again over decades. He has great energy and enthusiasm for the ski world which I find infectious.
WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT DODGE SKI BOOTS:
Besides all the obvious benefits of a carbon fiber boot, the thing I like the most, and a by-product I did not expect, is that my knees don’t ache anymore after a day of skiing. I don’t know if it’s the stance, or the fact they don’t deflect when you are carving a turn, or what. All I know is the money I’ve saved on ibuprofen, creams, neoprene sleeves, and PT has paid for my boots twice over.
ANY OTHER THINGS YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD (FAMILY, FRIENDS, ETC):
I like to think of myself as a pretty decent skier, but I’m only the 4th best in our family of four. My wife Gayle attended Burke Mtn Academy, then skied for UVM when they won the national Championships. Both kids grew up skiing the trees at Sugarbush, then also attended Burke, and our daughter Makenzie then skied for Middlebury after graduation. Our son Griffin will be a freshman at UVM and is rostered on the ski team. It’s a sobering feeling when your 12 year old goes by you but the sport has made for some great family times.
RANDOM RAMBLINGS/THOUGHTS/ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
We own a small Vermont company and like to support other small Vermont companies. I was intrigued by the whole Dodge Boot approach: breaking the mold with some total out of the box thinking, building a company from a grass-roots level, and developing a small but loyal following. Based on the interest I’ve seen in the boot, it could catch on.