I am obsessed with skiing. So Sunday was a very special day for me.
It felt strange as I threw my ski boots in the car and headed south on the Maine Turnpike instead of north towards Sugarloaf or Sunday River. Instead of Carrabassett Valley or Bethel, I was heading to Westford, Massachusetts just 30 miles outside of Boston. But even though I was headed south instead of north and there was no monster storm brewing, I felt as giddy as I do on a powder day in Utah.
Because I was on my way to ski with two world class skiers: Olympic downhill racer and World Cup gold medalist, Pam Fletcher, and the legendary world champion freestyle skiing pioneer, Wayne Wong! My dear friend from Boston, Geoff Why, is Wayne’s cousin and has for years been encouraging me to meet Wayne on his annual sojourn to Nashoba Valley. Wayne has visited Nashoba Valley every year since 1972 due to his deep relationship with Pam’s delightful family whose members own and operate the property. Geoff also knows that I am a ski gear fanatic and knew that I would love to demo the innovative new ski design from Anton Skis, a company whose product excites Wayne so much that he has thrown himself behind it as a principal.
Needless to say the skiing experience was awesome as Wayne and Pam are obviously wonderful skiers and it’s beautiful to behold them ripping up the slopes with grace and panache. More importantly, they also are wonderful embodiments of the joyful skiing ethos that makes me proud to be part of the skiing community. It’s people like Pam and Wayne that make skiing not just a hobby for me but instead a fundamental part of my lifestyle.
But it wasn’t just about the skiing. As the professionals here at Opus are wont to do, I couldn’t help but discuss Wayne’s and Pam’s businesses. I plan to write in more detail about my take on both the design of the Anton Gliders as well as all of the offerings at Nashoba Valley Ski Area but time constraints will force that to another day. In the meanwhile, I encourage you to find more information on their respective websites:
I will summarize however:
I skied the Anton Gliders, and they deliver. Jon Damon, Nashoba Valley’s tech guru, nailed it when he told me, “you can’t get in the backseat on them.” I analogize the Anton Glider experience to the feel that I get from my custom boot liners which make me feel connected to the snow at all times. The innovative ski/binding system of the Anton Gliders provides a similar continuous connection with the snow surface. Wayne thinks it can revolutionize the skiing experience especially for new and improving skiers. I agree wholeheartedly.
Nashoba Valley Ski Area has soul. I can’t think of a more unlikely location for a ski area. Having lived in Boston and New England for my entire adult life, I have driven within five miles of Nashoba Valley hundreds of times. I never suspected that a vibrant ski area with so many families having the time of their life would be that close to Boston. I had a ball and look forward to returning not just to ski but also to take advantage of the year-round event planning opportunities on the Fletcher’s beautiful property. The Fletchers have had the creative vision to make an unlikely ski area thrive for almost 50 years, and they have further used that creativity to develop innovative uses for a beautiful piece of property that their customers find valuable.
Anton Skis and Nashoba Valley Ski Area are very different. One is a ski equipment manufacturing start-up. The other is a 50-year old, family-owned service business. Yet they are also similar. Both are fundamentally about innovation. One is about technological innovation. The other is about knowing your customers and using your resources to develop innovative services to meet their needs. Most importantly, both businesses are rooted in a passion for the skiing lifestyle — a passion embodied in people like Pam and Wayne.