Over the years we receive superb feedback on the knowledge, passion and experience of the team here at Ski Independence. So we thought it would be an idea to give you a bit of an insight into who’s who..
Nick, Product Manager at Ski Independence
For the benefit of our readers could you explain your role at Ski Independence and what you’re responsible for?
As Product Manager for the USA, Canada & Japan side of our business, I’m involved in all aspects of the product from contracting to brochure production to sales development to staff training to operations to logistics and strategy. It’s an all-encompassing and ever-changing role which keeps me on my toes. I work closely with my staff to make sure they have the knowledge, experience, resources and tools to deliver exemplary customer service. Our staff are our biggest asset, and I can’t praise them highly enough.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to work for Ski Independence?
When I was 8 years old, my mother sent my brother and I to a 5 day Ski Camp at Hillend dry ski slope in Edinburgh during our school summer holiday – little did she know that it would be the catalyst to a future career as a professional ski bum…(she still asks me when I’m getting a proper job). I’ve worked in the ski industry since I was 23, initially working 4 consecutive winter seasons working on the snow in the Swiss and French Alps. As a grounding in business it was invaluable. Over the years I’ve worked for various ski companies in various roles. I started with Ski Independence in August 1994, and have been Product Manager since December 1994. My passion for skiing still burns brightly as ever – I just ski on shorter, fatter skis now…
What is the most interesting part of your job as Product Manager?
A long time ago when I first started working on the snow in the Swiss alps, a good friend had the following three things to say about the travel industry – he said ‘Expect the unexpected. Everything is subject to change. Nothing is ever as it seems’. Back then I thought he was a bit mad. Now that I’m older and much more experienced I now recognise the value of his sage advice. No two days are ever the same! Even after 26 years working in the ski travel industry this is true. Every day brings a new challenge and I have never had a year without a major incident to steer the business through, I must say I’m getting a bit fed up with volcanic ash clouds though!
What are some of your favourite Ski Independence destinations and do you have any top tips to share?
Whistler – always number one on my list. Has something for everyone. End of April is amazing! Rent yourself a pair of fat rocker skis and shred!
Jackson Hole – needs to be on your list. Stay in the town, rather than at the mountain. Take a peek at Corbett’s….
Mammoth – late season skiing on spring snow in the sunshine. The business. Combine it with LA for some beach action.
Jasper – one of the best family destinations. Vastly under-rated. Overnight in Calgary and then drive up.
Aspen – number two on my list of all-time favourites. Drag yourself up Highlands Bowl – hit it right, then head for Cloud Nine Bistro for the afternoon.
And finally, what would be your ultimate ski holiday?
I get asked that question a lot and my initial response is always the same – ‘it depends who you’re skiing with’. Travelling with family would get a very different response, but if I was let loose to rip with like-minded friends and money/time was no object we’d do the following: fly into Calgary on BA Club World, rent an SUV (biggest and baddest we could get), drive to Banff and stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs in a Fairmont Gold Suite, ski 2 days at Sunshine (hitting Delirium Dive and the Wild West), drive across to Panorama for a day’s heliskiing with RK Heliski in the Bugaboos, drive to Lake Louise and stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in a Fairmont Gold Suite (lakeview of course), ski 2 days at Lake Louise, drive to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway, stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, ski Marmot Basin and hike the summit (the best view, ever), drive to Blue River for a spot of Mike Weigele Heliski action (residential), drive to Sun Peaks, stay at the Delta Sun Peaks Resort, ski Sun Peaks with Nancy Greene 1968 Olympic GS Champion who still skis phenomenally fast (she’s a Canadian senator now), drive to Whistler, stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler (still arguably the best ski hotel in North America), ski 5 days at Whistler Blackcomb, do some backcountry skiing, slide the Olympic bobsleigh track, sunset snowmobile to the Crystal Hut for a fondue, eat dinner at The Rimrock Cafe, ski the Dave Murray Downhill without stopping, shred Spanky’s Ladder, scoop pitchers of Kokanee at the Longhorn, have a day heli-skiing with Whistler Heliski, perhaps 2, maybe 3, then it’s time to turn for home, flying BA Club World back from Vancouver. Beats working…