Bode Miller joins SCARPA as ski ambassador

D. Trenker

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Bode is 100% unique. Always has been. And, among those who actually know him, he’s sort of legendary in terms of being cheap, more than a bit self-serving, loving his money, and being “opinionated and confident.”

I’ll throw in one more thing. Up until a couple of years before he met Morgan, he spent very little. Now they appear to spent A LOT, which concerns some. He seems to spend anything on his family.

So…..somebody mentioned the various companies who’s skis he was on during his WC career. It’s well known that each move was to the highest bidder. No equipment testing, no boot consideration. They assured him that they would build whatever he wanted. And that he could drive them crazy. Which he did with so many demands. All about $$$, it appears.

Then the ego comes into play. For a guy who decided not to earn a HS diploma, he us “scary bright.” Smart. Listen to him. Articulate. But he thinks he’s on the same footing as a roomful of Stanford MBA serial start-up guys. He’s just not.

He gave up a certain, LARGE, LONG TERM income opportunity with Head, to “invest in Bomber as an owner…” So what was the income swing there? I hear $10Mil over 20 years. Mostly in lost $$ and relationships with Eliasch. So how did that go? Did he even try the skis first?

Now it’s Crosson. I guess, TBD. I’ll put my money on Hirscher, and his plan.

Boots? Again he wanted money. The two logical companies were Lange and Nordica. Nope, not enough $$. They would provide the boots, and likely pay him something. In the end he worked out a deal with Full Tilt, have PJD make them skiable for him. So….how many people of ALL ages walk into a shop and want to look at FT because of Bode? Close to none? It just seemed odd.

Clothing? Blows off his deal with Kjus. Turns down a deal with Spyder that would pay, yearly, what any of us would think is a lot of money for NO WORK. Nope, he’s going to be an owner and head creative designer for Aztech. Who?

So, now he’s got a deal with Scarpa. I am 110% sure that was brokered by Chris Davenport, who’s known Bode for decades. “Dav” has been very smart with his involvement with Kastle, RedBull, and Scarpa….for years. Has not bounced around.

Even with changing side deals like helmets, goggles, gloves….Bode can’t be close to conventional.

I disagree with some others. There has been a lot of movement. There is reason to question it. I think his partner/sugar daddies in Big Sky are sort of questioning things. I think they thought his role would be like Scot Schmidt’s at the YSC. And I don’t think it is. From what makes it’s way to me.

Bode is a good guy. A very loyal and great friend to many. But, but, those in the PR/Marketing niche of building personal brands feel that he needs to change and rescue things. Before he has no personal brand to build back up. I hear of his situation compared to LV…or Svindal. Very different.

Notice that I have not even mentioned “The Bode Miller Ski Academy.”

Many may not, but some do feel that he looks like a pingpong ball.

I have a friend who owns an oceanfront home on Nantucket. Not a skier. He calls me a few summers ago, asks me about Bode, and “how much do skiers earn?” Bode had rented the house next to his…a big, tremendous house, for a week. And if I remember correctly had a chef,etc. Had chartered a jet to fly in on. Rented 2-3 Jeeps. So my friend says “The last guy to rent this, this way, was Tom Brady.” And no, Bode does not have Tom Brady money.

I’m a fan with minimal insight. I know a lot of mutual friends have questions, concerns. But, Bode always seems to have his next plan in place. At least it seems like he’s not putting money into this one……And it always raises the question of how much money he did put away. Rumor has it that he has hit a couple of home run deals with early stage investments. Not like Lance with Uber, but still very lucrative.

The boot does look impressive. I am sure it will ski well. Hope Bode sells a bunch and adds a lot! I would love to see it.

Right now I struggle to see how Bode could be worth more to Scarpa than Marcus Caston is to Tecnica/Blizzard, as one example.

Strange business. Nothing more to add.

With "fans" like you, who needs stalkers?
 
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Philpug

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So, now he’s got a deal with Scarpa. I am 110% sure that was brokered by Chris Davenport, who’s known Bode for decades. “Dav” has been very smart with his involvement with Kastle, RedBull, and Scarpa….for years.
To me, with the money behind Kastle and them pushing to be a race brand and coming out with a race boot that Dav would have pushed Bode to go tp Kastle to promote their boot and race skis and abandon Crosson. THAT would have made much more sense to me.
 

Muleski

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I first met him when he was about four. Have known virtually everybody who coached him from about 14 on. And a lot who skied with him, worked for him.

I AM a fan. But he’s a complex guy. A lot of those at the top of the sport are. Check out LV’s new book, as one example. Bode’s guidance has always come from…Bode.

Amazing athlete. Off the charts. Bright, articulate, and stubborn. Very gifted, talented, “complex.”

Nothing more here. Hope the boots are great, and sell really well!
 

D. Trenker

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I first met him when he was about four. Have known virtually everybody who coached him from about 14 on. And a lot who skied with him, worked for him.

I AM a fan. But he’s a complex guy. A lot of those at the top of the sport are. Check out LV’s new book, as one example. Bode’s guidance has always come from…Bode.

Amazing athlete. Off the charts. Bright, articulate, and stubborn. Very gifted, talented, “complex.”

Nothing more here. Hope the boots are great, and sell really well!
 

Tricia

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So four during his five year retirement, four during his 20 year career? I think that was pretty much my point. I don't really put any stock in what Bode says about gear because he'll be talking about some other brand next year :roflmao: But he is a big name that still gets attention so he has that going for him.

Anyways I never meant to get this deep into this thread, so I'm probably going to bow out of this discussion now.
:doh:
He's been Bomber - Crosson, Full Tilt - Scarpa since retiring. That's not what I'd call a whirlwind compared to others.

You count four, I count two skis and two boots. Still, not a whirlwind.
Bomber to Crosson
Full Tilt to Scarpa

Having seen the changes in abassadors for brands that I've seen in the time I've been involved in the ski industry I just don't see the whriwind that some are talking about.

As someone who has had an actual conversation with him, I'm looking forward to seeing how this relationship plays out. I think its a good one.
 

fatbob

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As someone who has had an actual conversation with him, I'm looking forward to seeing how this relationship plays out. I think its a good one.

How honest/warts 'n all do you think those conversations with brand ambassadors are? You're there as part of the PR machine in order to hit the marketing beats the brand wants.

We've never seen a movie interview where the actor doesn't say it's an awesome movie and they all got on great on set and they are super stoked to have been involved though we know that that's just part of the contractual commitment. Of course subsequently when off the payroll they will admit to the stinkers they did just for the money and often that they didn't even see the final cut.

Do you seriously expect the public to view brand ambassadors any differently when they chop and change?

Note I'm not saying there aren't solid athletes in skiing who stick with a brand and do seem to play a meaningful long term role in product development - Dav, Rahlves and Cody T spring to mind.


And this is a big plus - we (experienced skiers not the total population of people who ski) all know with ski boots the only good advice is to ignore the brand, ignore the colour, get fitted by someone good who will fit for the shape of your foot. What's the value of a celebrity endorsement there? Awareness that Scarpa make a boot in that category? I suspect Scarpa want people buying or demanding the boot because Bode skis it. Is that sensible? That's a higher level talking point.
 
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How honest/warts 'n all do you think those conversations with brand ambassadors are? You're there as part of the PR machine in order to hit the marketing beats the brand wants.
@Muleski can attest how unfiltered Bode is, any brand that signs Bode better know what they are getting. We have talked to numerous brand ambassadors that are much more honest than I ever expected them to be to the point that some product managers do not want us talking to them. These skiers are public faces and just need to be seen on the product, not talk about it.
 

fatbob

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@Muleski can attest how unfiltered Bode is, any brand that signs Bode better know what they are getting. We have talked to numerous brand ambassadors that are much more honest than I ever expected them to be to the point that some product managers do not want us talking to them. These skiers are public faces and just need to be seen on the product, not talk about it.
Yep - I suspect one of things ambassadors do more is gets the B2B angle working - store buyers will just be stoked to get to ski with him/speak to him and that halo runs over impressions of the product. I don't really pay enough attention to ski ads at all with the decline of print media (and Pugski ads seem mainly to be for implausibly large chested women) but no doubt there will be some action photo of him skiing the product with a Bode Miller caption and a pack shot of the boot.
 

Tricia

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How honest/warts 'n all do you think those conversations with brand ambassadors are? You're there as part of the PR machine in order to hit the marketing beats the brand wants.
For sure there are things left unsaid, but since we spent a day skiing with him, riding chair lifts with him and interviewing him, he was quite candid and informative about why he chose Full Tilt, as well as his input on ski design.
He's really smart, and very articulate.
*Links to videos with him here. It was actually one year ago. 1/13*



SkiTalk Live: SkiTalk Live with Dan Egan, Episode 12: Bode Miller (Jan 13, 2021, 50 min).
 
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cantunamunch

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He's really smart, and very articulate.

Smart and articulate enough to be at least as good a test and development driver as he was a racing driver?

I'm prepared to believe it, but I don't quite yet.

To extend the 'driving' analogy further - I see him as a better fit in something like Niki Lauda's old job, competition team consulting. If I'm off base, please correct.
 
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James

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The upshot is… very few think Bode is with Scarpa because of the greatness of the boot. There’s a limited number of ski makers and I think he skied on all of them in his career except Stöckli and Kastle. Blowing off Head has to be one of the… most idiosyncratic, shall we say, moves in the ski sponsoree world.


If Tesla came out with a ski and offered him money to be on it, he’d do that. I love Bode but he’s a bit of a hand grenade in pr. Best kept at a good distance from the public.
 

neonorchid

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Smart and articulate enough to be at least as good a test and development driver as he was a racing driver?

I'm prepared to believe it, but I don't quite yet.

To extend the 'driving' analogy further - I see him as a better fit in something like Niki Lauda's old job, competition team consulting. If I'm off base, please correct.
:nono:
Assume you're referring to his stint with Jaguar? Still, so far off base you're not even in the ballpark! Can't even mention Bode in the same breath as the Rat!
 

skipress

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:nono:
Assume you're referring to his stint with Jaguar? Still, so far off base you're not even in the ballpark! Can't even mention Bode in the same breath as the Rat!
He did a similar job with Mercedes til his passing. A combination of consultant but also a trusted face, Lauda became much more of a greybeard than Bode would be right now.

Part of this ex athlete affiliation is what used to be referred to as a 'fantasy camp' - where folks get the opportunity to ski and perhaps have a beer, coffee, a meal with 'the hero' [think legends of freestyle @ Sunday river - that was a blast - meets 'dealer trip'].

How directly any former athlete is involved in retail product development...... I'm sure that when competing the race room would have built Bode 223cm twin tips if he thought they'd work but how directly [as opposed to designers thinking 'interesting, let's dial that back by 50% for retail and have some guys test it'] connected to I am not so sure.

Ok there will be exceptions, but they re just that [and it's in the industry's interest to promote 'invented by' Stenmark as opposed to by 20 designers with pens in their pockets and refined by test teams]. What works for racers, even recently retired ones remains pretty much unusable for 99% of folks on the hill.

It's about the Bode brand + the hardware co. But if you strike out athletes below the level where they are affiliated to a brand, I suspect product local ambassadors have a more direct influence on sales.

Many posters here are in some way 'industry', but what influences a recreational ski sale more - an endorsement by say Lyndsey Vonn or a great review in the media [inc here], and perhaps a trusted instructor or coach [or salesman] saying this will work for you, I know how you ski.
 

Wendy

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This just seems like a weird fit to me. Granted, all I know of Bode is what I read and what I saw of him on TV. I loved him when he raced and he’s an excellent commentator. But Scarpa? Unless the company really is going to branch in a different direction, it feels like a square peg in a round hole. Scarpa to me means climbing shoes, hiking boots, trail runners, approach shoes, telemark boots (I’ve owned or own all of these Scarpa products) and AT boots. Go into any mountaineering/backcountry shop and you’ll see Scarpa. But a mainstream alpine ski shop? Nope. And it‘s the alpine ski world that Bode represents. So, just weird, for me.

But he’s a very intelligent guy. So we’ll see where this goes.
 

Tricia

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This just seems like a weird fit to me. Granted, all I know of Bode is what I read and what I saw of him on TV. I loved him when he raced and he’s an excellent commentator. But Scarpa? Unless the company really is going to branch in a different direction, it feels like a square peg in a round hole. Scarpa to me means climbing shoes, hiking boots, trail runners, approach shoes, telemark boots (I’ve owned or own all of these Scarpa products) and AT boots. Go into any mountaineering/backcountry shop and you’ll see Scarpa. But a mainstream alpine ski shop? Nope. And it‘s the alpine ski world that Bode represents. So, just weird, for me.

But he’s a very intelligent guy. So we’ll see where this goes.
Think about it like this.
Daron Rahlves, Chris Davenport and others of that ilk all have serious race background, but are doing far more backcountry and big mountain stuff these days. All of these former racers have a broader brush and this development of a crossover boot makes sense.
I mean, if alpine boots are being more hybrid, then why not a backcountry specific boot taking a hybrid direction?
 

jmeb

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Those two have serious racing backgrounds—but they also have something Bode does not: big careers in free ride and backcountry that outshines their race careers for a large number of skiers. Careers spanning decades plus with serious video segments and mountaineering firsts.

Dav and Bodes race careers are as far apart as their free ride accomplishments.

Agree with @Wendy that it feels like an odd fit.
 

Tricia

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Those two have serious racing backgrounds—but they also have something Bode does not: big careers in free ride and backcountry that outshines their race careers for a large number of skiers. Careers spanning decades plus with serious video segments and mountaineering firsts.

Dav and Bodes race careers are as far apart as their free ride accomplishments.

Agree with @Wendy that it feels like an odd fit.
They didn't develop their big mountain careers by accident. ;)
Some still see Daron as a racer. I mean the Streif and all...
Bode is building his future in something new. Everyone has to start somewhere.
 
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Wendy

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Think about it like this.
Daron Rahlves, Chris Davenport and others of that ilk all have serious race background, but are doing far more backcountry and big mountain stuff these days. All of these former racers have a broader brush and this development of a crossover boot makes sense.
I mean, if alpine boots are being more hybrid, then why not a backcountry specific boot taking a hybrid direction?
Maybe.
But go into a mountaineering store, look at the Scarpa wall, and ask yourself if you’d envision Bode Miller in there. It’s an entirely different vibe and focus.

My point is that, a gear ambassador is a face on the product for the people who use said product, as a person they want to emulate. Bode Miller would not be the one in the minds of those people.

I get it that Scarpa is making a new boot, or whatever. But it just seems like an attempt to abandon their backcountry/mountaineering roots.
 
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