One of the first blogs I wrote back in 2010 was 10 Reasons Why Skiing Is Better Than Snowboarding… honestly didn’t think much of it and for whatever reason that has been one of the most read and commented on posts I’ve written.
Which isn’t saying much.
Anyway, we’re here 4 years later (this time with a website!) and people are STILL commenting on it… not to mention that the world seems to be obsessed with lists lately… I decided to update it with 10 more reasons skiing rules!
10. Unofficial Networks has a list of reasons why snowboarding is better… they could only come up with 8. Math.
9. Instead of facing front you have to go down the hill sideways. The only animal I could think of that walks sideways is a crab. Crabs get dominated by other animals ALL the time.
8. Carrying your skis on one shoulder and your boots on the other just looks cooler than dragging your board across the parking lot.
7. If you’re going to crash, you might as well do it the right way. Yardsale with all your $hit flying all over the hill. Go big or go home.
6. Pond skimming is way too easy on a snowboard. Challenge yourself bro.
5. With all due respect to Art Of Flight… there’s no such thing as 80’s snowboard movies. Here is the trailer for Aspen extreme… “Top Gun On The Slopes”
4. More on the 80’s… it’s a privilege to rock a onsie, not a right.
3. Nails on a chalkboard, an ’89 Toyota Camry with shitty brakes, a snowboard scraping the mountain.
2. WTF is a shot-board? Exactly.
Everyone deserves a second chance. At work, in relationships, in life.
The saying goes; fool me once, shame on me , fool me twice, I’m an @sshole. But in this case the second chance happens to be a ski house. And that house happens to be a sanctuary to call home.
When I was growing up my family had a house on Mt. Cranmore in New Hampshire. In the summertime we would head up there and catch tree frogs in the pool. Hike up to Diana’s Bath, and catch lightning bugs at night. When my grandparents passed away we were already living in Ohio and just couldn’t keep it. I never realized how much I missed, or took it for granted, until this season.
My one goal when I walked off the beach after Labor Day was to make this winter ski season better than summer. I was single, Ski Till I Die was starting to get big, and life was about as wonderful as it gets. What better way to perpetuate that than by getting a ski house with 10 friends for 6 months.
Things suck at work? Your significant other isn’t what you had hoped? Life in general, wherever you are, just sucks huh? Well… on the mountain, everything is alright. It’s your getaway. Time to think. Time to relax.
The skiing has been awful this season. Really. terrible. I can’t even tell you about a memorable dump so far this season. Oh, there has been some? Yea, not anywhere I’ve been so far. Don’t let that disappoint you. Find yourself a mountain cabin somewhere – someplace – because what’s made it alright has been this house.
Everyone gives me a lot of flack; and deservingly so. I own a ski company and I don’t ski. So what?! I ski when it means something. When there is a foot of fresh pow on the ground, believe I make first tracks. But right now? I’ve been to the house… Le Bon Apres as we call it… probably 10 times since November. And I’ve been on snow 3 days. That’s right, 3. And I’ll still ski circles around you. I find that when I get up to the cabin I am just as happy lounging in the hot tub, Apres-ing it at the bar, and relaxing by the fire as I am on the mountain.
Ski Till I Die is an idea. It’s a lifestyle. So if you cant live the life, then what’s the point? The point is… enjoy yourself. You have a chance to get away? Do it. You have an opportunity to relax and forget about all the bullsh*t that’s waiting for you back in Manhattan? Then do it! You want to shred some gnar in the meantime… then click in and put down those tracks.
Every single time I’m up there I think about my family house in Conway. It brings me back to the glory days with Grandma and Grandpa “O”. It helps me forget about anything that matters besides how many snowflakes are gonna fall through the ski and land on my face and get me cold again. Then I dunk in the hot tub and come back up with the smile on my face that says – yea, this is my home… I’ll be here until the snow melts and nothing else matters.
Getting away is important. Enjoying what you do is even more relevant. But doing both? Now that’s finding paradise. Away from anything else that matters. Because on the mountain, everything’s alright.
I’ll shred the gnar this season… but getting away to Le Bon Apres is just as important.
WE’RE BACK BABY!
I love the HBO series How To Make It In America. Obsessed. When I watch the show I feel like the plot follows the last year of my life almost to a T. But that’s not what really turns me on to it. Besides the theme song; no matter what they deal with, in the end it always works out. Look past the Hollywood / Entourage / fairy tale BS and it’s still there.
I haven’t updated the blog since we failed to hit our goal with the Kickstarter Project. At that point I had kind of given up… I wasn’t inspired the same way I had been prior to the summer. No job, playing Sherlock Homeless at the beach, betrayed by friends… I wasn’t in the best place 6 months ago.
But now I’m here. Back on top might be presumptuous, but here is the rundown. Thanks to true friends I got back on track and got a job. Moved into Manhattan with a buddy of mine, and really started to push Ski Till I Die back in the right direction. Got in the shops, made our buy and we were off. Then life got in the way.
Work. Dating. Work. New York. Work.
Bottom line is I didn’t have any time, I needed an investor badly, and I hadn’t heard from any of the shops since they got the first delivery… bleak outlook, but we decided to follow up before Thanksgiving.
First shop – High Country Ski & Sport in NJ… great selling, wanted to collaborate on a lifestyle website, wanted a reorder.
Second shop – Skier Shop in Stowe VT… almost sold out, loved our gear, wanted a reorder.
Third shop – Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington… 100% SOLD OUT, WANTING A REORDER.
I was floored. Couldn’t believe it. After all the ups, downs, forwards, and backwards… it finally felt like we made it. Shortly after that I got an email from a friend of mine from New York City:
My little sister (don’t get any pervey thoughts) came home from college in one of your Ski Till I Die shirts! I asked her about it and she says all the kids at her college (St. Michaels in VT) LOVE the brand. She was really excited when I told her you had started it. She said she’d be happy to sell them for you in her student center, I don’t know if you guys do that kind of thing but her school is a big skiing school. Hope you’re doing well- Kate”
Validation. We’re back… and we aren’t going anywhere. And it feels good. SKI TILL I DIE BABY!!!
The Beatles had it right when they wrote the song – St. Peppers’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / I Get By With A Little help From My Friends…
That’s why I am posting this.
Recently we got accepted as a project on Kickstarter – a website designed to help fund projects like ours and similar in concept to venture capitalism without sacrificing any equity in the company.
It’s a great way to help us get additional funding, give us more exposure, and provide another excuse to show off some of our custom designs. Not to mention that trade organization membership fees are expensive and for some reason cotton has almost doubled in price over the last 6 months. Check out the project here and let me know what you think!
If you have any questions you know where to find me! Until next time, cheers-
Ups and downs are the theme for this part of the story – ups, downs, and extremes. I don’t think that I deserve any type of credit for doing what I am doing – it’s what I love and believe in. But I like to think that being able to overcome adversity as it is presented to you not only defines you as a person but leads to success in the end.
March started off with the EWSRA Expo in Edison, NJ. It was nice to finally have something close to home and mid-week to occupy our time. Before we got there I’m not going to lie, I was a bit intimidated. All the major players where there presenting their lines for next season – North Face, Mountain Hardware, Shred – all had something to offer… just not anything like what we were putting on the market. We walked out with a new sense of – we can really do this – we were up.
We still had events to sponsor too with the entire month being booked up in Pennsylvania and Vermont. We started out up at the second mogul comp at Blue Mountain. It was a good test because Blue saw us before we really had a collection. This time around we had our catalog and tshirts to present and it was well received, very well received. After that we took a road trip up through Vermont and hit every ski shop we could find along the way. We came home gas poor (literally ran out of gas on the Mass Pike on the way back to NJ – thank you AAA) and with 5 new shops – bitter sweet.
After that though we started to tumble, well – I started to tumble.
I had been living with my girlfriend at the time and thought things were great. She obviously did not. I guess I didn’t see it. I’m sorry for the cliche but love is blind isn’t it? And I was unable to see what was right in front of me. She came home one night from work – and after a fight we had over dinner she told me she wanted me to move out. I was too exhausted to fight for it anymore. I guess she got tired of me, tired of my dream, and tired of waiting for my bank account to have more than a 3 digit sum in it – just tired.
I moved my stuff out the next day before she got home. It was over, and I was once again houseless. My lack of an address or key to an apartment was overshadowed by the fact that I had just lost the girl I loved. I moved onto my best friends couch, again, and proceeded to go on a 2 week bender paying no attention to anything else other than my bar tab and trying to forget about her.
Why is it that whenever you go through a break up everyone wants to take you out and feed you shots? Maybe the next one will take the hurt away? In my case the next one only made it hurt worse.
I was at a cross roads. My parents wanted me to move home to Memphis, I did not want to leave my business back in New Jersey, overseeing operations from 1,000 miles away. I booked a ticket to Cleveland to stay with my brother. Half way home and back to some normalcy. Then out of the blue I got a phone call from my buddy Mike: “Hey Ryan, I was talking about it with Christina and we wanted to know if you wanted to move in with us for the summer. We know how much this business means to you and we don’t want to see all the work you’ve put in go to waste.”
It was done – 3 days later I had all my stuff in the back of the truck and I was off to live on a beach for the next 4 months. It was the first time since September that I could settle in, sit on a bed that was mine, take a deep breath, and just experience a sense of relief.
Back to stability, back to focus, back to business… I had left a career, lost a girlfriend I loved, and had $27 to my name. But I had gained new perspective on friendship, sacrifice, and life in general.
I was ready to get back to the Ryan who started Ski Till I Die with the passion and energy and intensity that makes even the most pessimistic individuals believe. Losing my girlfriend hurt more than anything else – everything up to that point was easy for me, That wasn’t. But sometimes you have to define the moment before it defines you… this was one of those circumstances and that’s exactly what I did.
See: Journey – Don’t Stop Believing – The summer chapters come next week just in time for the 4th of July weekend. Until then, cheers!
We were in the meat of the season. The snow never stopped falling and storm after storm kept pounding the East Coast like it was Mother Nature’s prerogative – and she was doing a really good job at it.
The month started at Winter Jam NYC with me literally looking for cover. It was supposed to be a huge event held in Prospect Park, BK with ski companies from all over the place looking to have a good time and give away $5,000 worth of free tees. I was just happy that it was close to home and I could sleep in my own bed for the weekend.
We sure did give away a lot – and I have never been so miserable standing under a tent for 6 hours in my life. It was 30 degrees and POURING. Everything was soaked, no one bought a thing, and when people came to the booth looking for free stuff they actually got angry at us for not having any tees left. Hey man, they were FREE in the FIRST place… and you don’t even ski! I am the last person in the world to get mad when someone decides we aren’t for them, but instead of looking for a hand out how about you buy a hat and help me pay rent this month – then we can talk.
But I digress… I probably stayed in the shower for a good 40 minutes when I got home praying that I didn’t end up with ammonia.
The line up after that was significantly more pleasant. We had the Telefest at Hickory Ski Center (favorite mountain of the year, no question), the Big Air event back at Tuxedo, and my favorite weekend of the season – the alumni race for McBrine. It was nice to get to the mountain and have everyone know who we were that weekend. Not to mention that Brandeis was there sporting their custom hoodies we had done up for them – hey Jaimee & Erica, I love you guys.
My recently signed pro skier, Bridgette, entered her first extreme skiing competition & did great! “Now skiing, bib #42, Bridgette LeBear, sponsored by Ski Till I Die”… it was sweet to hear. We had new stickers, new designs thanks to Steve, and had begun work on our 2011 / 2012 catalog. All was well with the world.
We started having weekly meetings at a local spot in Hoboken, Duffys – $2 beers, cheese balls, and no one ever went there so it was a perfect dive for us to get down to business.
I keep looking for some turmoil during February because every good story has a triumph from tragedy plot line (or is you’re a Bill Shakespeare fan – a tragedy to tragedy one) but everything seemed to be going according to plan. Little did I know that this was the calm before the storm and the ephemeral sense of security I was engaged in would soon come to an end.
March & April come next… and if you’re looking for the triumph from tragedy storyline, that’s where you can find it.
Until next week- Cheers!
January was an interesting month. A lot of ‘it’s my first times’, some close calls, but for the most part – smooth sailing and open roads.
First stop was Bozeman, MT for a Montana State Rail Jam. Then 2 days before the trip I got a phone call telling me the event had been canceled. With the flight already booked I didn’t have much choice; plus there were worse places I could have been flying to (see: Bridger Bowl Mountain Review). I’m not going to lie, I definitely made the most of it and don’t regret spending $$$ on airfare to get there. Not to mention that I found our first sponsored skier in Ms. Bridgette LeBer.
Our first real even was the following weekend at Blue for the mogul comp. After a close call at the airport I made it just in time Friday to start packing the car and getting ready to head to PA. It was the first time we had seen the tent actually set up- not only did it look amazing, but it was an absolute in legitimizing the brand.
Every sale we made had a personal accomplishment attached to it and we actually saw our stuff start to sell! We were officially in business.
With the rest of the season dedicated to the mountains our next stop was just 45 minutes outside of NYC. The rail jam at Tuxedo went even better for us than Blue. Front and center at the base lodge with everyone taking note of who we were and stopping by to check it out the gear.
We started to see more traffic on the site, the blog was gaining notoriety, and I was starting to feel really good about the direction we were headed.
Other than that it was business as usual. I was trying to crank out at least 2 blogs a week, confirming with mountains about our attendance, and desperately looking for ways to spread the word about Ski Till I Die – through cross promoting, partnerships, or selling my body to get more exposure.
We had also begun stepping up our design game. Steve was a local Hoboken kid who I knew through reffing kickball. He had taken note of us when we started and asked if he could jump on board. Initially I was a little reluctant to bring on another person… until I saw the concepts he brought to the table. Truly this was going to redefine who we were – in a good way.
Stay tuned for Chapter 6 next week. Winter gets wild and so do the Ski Till I Die guys. Until next time!