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Miller skis one of the new Peak Ski Company models. PHOTO COURTESY OF PEAK SKI COMPANY, LLC.

Former Olympian Bode Miller and ski industry guru Andy Wirth bring Peak Skis to market

By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR

BOZEMAN ­–Bode Miller, the winningest male alpine skier in U.S. history, is carving a new path through the ski industry. After developing the shaped ski at age 17, Miller has returned to the drawing board to again revolutionize the ski world with a high-performing ski designed to meet the needs of consumers.

Miller and cofounder Andy Wirth today launched Bozeman-based Peak Ski Company, LLC. and say they’re bringing a better ski experience to the masses at a reasonable price point. The brand, Peak by Bode Miller, includes six new all-mountain and side-country alpine skis in widths ranging from 88 millimeters underfoot to 110 millimeters.

“Today we’re announcing a line of our truly unique and remarkable skis,” said Wirth, Peak’s chief executive officer, “but what might be missed by some is that more importantly we’re actually launching a business and brand platform that will not only make exceptional skis, but with innovation as a driving force and core of the business, will bring about new materials, processes and integrate technology into skis—that is what will define our company and the brand.”

Wirth and Miller both bring decades of ski industry experience to the new venture. Miller is a two-time overall World Cup champion and six-time Olympic medalist and Wirth is an experienced executive in the mountain resort sector who was involved in the creation of the Alterra Mountain Company.

“We saw an opportunity to … make a much more agile, quicker-moving, smaller-scale company that could communicate with the customer and adapt much more quickly and innovate much more aggressively,” Miller said.

Wirth added that the 2022-23 line of skis is just the beginning of a larger plan as Miller’s ideas continue, “injecting innovation into the core DNA of our company.”

Bode Miller (left) and Andy Wirth (right) are co-founders of Peak Ski Company, LLC. PHOTO COURTESY OF PEAK SKI COMPANY, LLC.

Peak is Miller’s response to what he describes as a “misalignment” in the industry between production goals and consumer goals by reinventing the way skis are sold. It’s in the customer’s best interest, he said, to purchase a one-quiver ski that can do everything, while ski companies often look to sell a consumer multiple pairs of skis that serve various purposes.

“When I build a ski, I build it for others,” Miller said. “I like to watch other people enjoy it.”

The new company is the ski racing all-star’s chance to design the skis that he’s always wanted to, according to Wirth, who said that he “let him run” with the designing process.

Miller, who grew up skiing and snowboarding in the mountains of New Hampshire, began learning about ski design at the age of 15. Taking the knowledge he gained from cutting a snowboard in half to better understand the concept of sidecut, he drafted the legendary K2 Four, the ski that helped him win the Junior Olympics and propelled him to the 1998 Winter Olympics team.

Those boards shocked the ski world and provided an opportunity for Miller to influence the revolution in shaped skis. The following year, every other ski company copied the K2 Four model and improved upon it sending Miller back to the drawing board and an ongoing learning process that carried him through his career.

“I was witness to how impactful equipment or innovation is to the sport, and I saw how little of that made it to the consumer market,” he said.

A long-term goal of Miller’s has always been to bring to the consumer market the technical innovations he’s had access to as an elite racer. In the past, he even had it added to his contract that brands had to sell race skis on the open market.

“He’s got this Mensa-level intellect when it comes to design and engineering that many folks don’t have a view into,” said Wirth, adding that Miller might as well have a master’s degree in engineering.

“I just have a[n] engineering mind,” said Miller, pointing out that a traditional master’s degree takes just a few years to complete. “I was, more or less, 12 months out of the year fully committed to this process of understanding and learning.”

Now, after 20 years of working with ski design, Miller has a lifetime of learning under his belt.

“Bode and I both come at the hard goods—the ski manufacturing—side of the industry as contrarians. We have and continue to question almost every facet of the ski manufacturing sector in a very respectful but profound manner.”

– Andy Wirth, cofounder and CEO of Peak Ski Company, LLC.

One of the unique design elements that will set Peak Skis apart is a new “Keyhole Technology” built into each model, an innovative feature that Peak’s cofounders say unlocks the torsional performance of the ski. An oval cutaway in the top layer of aluminum-titanium alloy within the ski, the Keyhole helps deliver what Miller and Wirth call “accessible power;” as a skier takes the ski to a higher edge angle, the power ramps up. The Keyhole also allows for reduced sidecut in the wider ski models, creating more maneuverability.

Veteran ski tester and former Olympian David Currier took a prototype of the new skis for a spin in December of 2021 and was floored.

“I wholeheartedly think they’ve accomplished so much in two rounds of prototyping that they’re going to be quite successful with what they’ve done,” said Currier, praising the versatility of the Keyhole design.

In a strategic move, Wirth and Miller will share their Keyhole Technology with the industry in the hopes that it will become more widely adopted. Beyond just making sales, Wirth and Miller hope to improve the ski industry as a whole.

“It’s important to note that from the start of Peak to now, including many months of research, business modeling and brand and product development, we are coming at this business from a very unique point of attack,” Wirth said. “Bode and I both come at the hard goods—the ski manufacturing—side of the industry as contrarians. We have and continue to question almost every facet of the ski manufacturing sector in a very respectful but profound manner.”

Miller and Wirth intend to continue their contrarian approach by revolutionizing the process and machinery used to develop skis, and by exploring the use of advanced materials like thermoplastics and potentially integrating high-tech devices into the skis.

Wirth pointed out that ski presses have remained largely unchanged for decades and said he sees an opportunity to work with the industry to revise and change the approach to ski making.

Peak skis will be available exclusively online at peakskis.com. The company will have a physical presence in Bozeman at the Peak Development Group and Innovation Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility where the Peak DG ski line will be manufactured. It will also serve as the company’s center of innovation where they plan to experiment with new materials and concepts.

At its launch event in Bozeman today, Peak Ski Company is hosting a webcast featuring live interviews with Miller and Wirth. Watch the webcast live here at 2:30 p.m. MST.

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