When Bode Miller officially retired last fall, he was ready for a lifestyle change. After decades of back-to-back training and competing, the former world champion (who is considered the most successful male alpine skier of all time) wanted to tap into two areas that he’d always loved but never exactly had full control over: design and travel.
Throughout his career, Miller noticed that unlike other industries, “the nicest products were still exclusive to the professionals.” So, when his friend, real estate mogul Robert Siegel, bought into ski manufacturer Bomber Ski, Miller decided it’d make the perfect platform for a business idea he’s long had: an exclusive membership service that delivers a range of racer-grade skis according to the type of resort, terrain type, and level of snowfall. “I travel with eight pairs of skis everywhere I go,” said Miller, “If you’re going to ski in Vail, you want a different set of skis than if you were to ski Killington.”
Since he was a teenager, Miller has been tinkering with products for major brands, offering his know-how and design aptitude to names like Rossignol and Fischer. “I’ve always had an engineering mind and started being able to understand the details of my experience based on how the skis were built,” said Miller. He’s now behind every design produced at the company’s Italy-based company, and, as part of the V.I.P. membership, leads frequent ski trips with members to his favorite runs around the world. Here, the ski towns and resorts he’s headed for this year:
Year-Round Destination: People generally think of Aspen as a winter destination, but there’s so much going on all year, and especially in the summer, they have a huge grass volleyball tournament, lots of great concerts, and the golf is fantastic. I usually stay with friends, but The Little Nell is fantastic if you can afford an $18 hot chocolate (it’s worth it).
Après-Ski Scene: Paganella, a resort in northern Italy, which is where we did our most recent V.I.P. member's trip. The resort has a better understanding of the overall experience than anywhere else—and the food and wine is incredible. We stay at this private home, which is drilled into the rock face, so we're some three stories underground at the top of a mountain.
Most Underrated: There are a ton, but Jackson is probably one. It has great runs for advanced skiers—there are places where I can still challenge myself and terrain that doesn't exist elsewhere without having to heli-ski. It's also never that crowded and gets some of the most snow on the planet. And it’s somewhere you can take the family. The easier trails are super accessible and funnel down to the same areas, so you don't have to worry about losing your group. And it's definitely an old-school town, you get the sense that you're in the Wild West a little bit.
Worth the Plane Ride: In 1998, for my first Olympics, I was in Nagano, Japan. I've always loved going over there: The culture, the manners, and the food is fantastic. This year, I went back to the Olympics in Korea to commentate, in PyeongChang. I was there for almost a month and got to explore a little bit and go up to the demarcated zone between North and South Korea.
Next Up: I'm going to southern Chile this summer. The Andes are very particular mountains—being a pretty new mountain range makes them more rugged. It’ll be part of Bomber’s VIP members’ experience, where members will be able ski based on my knowledge and experiences.