Pete Boyd is a long time friend of Parlor. As a participant in our summer ski build class, Pete was able to build a connection to his own custom skis and as a result is blowing past his goal of 20 days this year! If you've been following along, this is the fourth in our "20 days series", where we take Parlor skiers from all over the spectrum and ask them how they get their 20 days a year on snow in. So far, we've sat down with a Patagonia store manager, a lifetime skier/ racer, and the CEO of a major investment firm. Today, we sat down with Pete Boyd of Narragansett to learn more about his 20 day season.
First off, where are you from, what do you do, and how did you get into skiing?
I grew up in Lynn, MA. I am currently living in Boston and I am the Brand Development Manager for Narragansett Beer. I give all the credit to my life as a skier to my grandparents, Ruth and Joseph "Sully" Sullivan. They were both involved in education at Salem State and the Salem Public schools. Upon retirement, they bought a modest vacation home in Bartlett, NH on 16A. When my older brother and I were growing up, this was our playground. My grandparents would get us out of the city on weekends and vacations to explore the White Mountains. I think they really wanted to give us opportunities that they had never had growing up. Skiing, hiking, golf and tennis were staples. To say I was terrible at most (with the exception of hiking, which is just harder walking) is an understatement. Learning to ski was the worst. My brother, 5 years my senior, would just barrel down the mountain. I would have to follow, hurling myself down (what I thought were the steep cliffs of) Black Mountain in Jackson, NH.
Tell us your life story as seen through skiing (skip all that boring stuff that doesn't involve playing in the snow).
In time I grew to love getting away and challenging myself on bigger slopes, like Attitash, Wildcat, Sunday River and one day I found Sugarloaf. By the time I was in high school, I didn't know many people who skied, so it became a solitary thing for me. During a summer job in college, I met some kids who went to U MAINE Farmington. They said they skied Sugarloaf all the time. I had always loved that mountain since the first time I set eyes on it. I decided to ski with these guys. During these trips to Sugarloaf, I met a large group of people, who were my age, and who seemed way past my skill level, which pushed me to try bigger jumps and steeper trails. In my 20s, I skied sporadically around here and on some great trips out west to Breckenridge, Vail, Tahoe and Park City Utah. In my 30s, skiing became an expensive and time consuming thing that didn't really fit into my life.
In late 2016, I think it's fair to say I was depressed after the end of a long relationship. I had no idea what to do next. For a few weeks I kept thinking, "What did I used to do for myself? Is there anything I could do that would make me not feel like this?" On Jan 6th, I was sitting in traffic listening to WBUR and a report came on interviewing some weather specialist about some weird shit called an "atmospheric river" descending over California. They said the Sierra's might get up to 7 feet over the weekend. I called my boss and told him I was going to use a pile of vacation time to go skiing. I didn't know where. That night I booked a flight to SF. I spent a few days with some friends out there, then rented a car and took off. I wound up at Squaw Valley skiing alone. At times, I got to ski with some of those old friends from Sugarloaf, who happened to be living in the area. I got in a few bluebird days and a few crazy powder days when another big storm hit. At one point I definitely thought I was going to die in a particular fall, but for the most part, I just felt alive. Not sure if it solved anything, but if felt great to get out there. It gave me the motivation to push for more this year.
How many days were you able to ski last year? Are you on track for even more this year?
7 days. I have 22 days so far this year. I'll hit 25, but let's try for 30.
What was your experience like during the Parlor Ski Building Class and how did that change skiing for you?
I had wanted to do the class for awhile, but couldn't carve out the time or the money. Finding the time to do the build became a bit of a joke around the shop, I guess, but the guys really worked with my timeline and walked me through the process. I had taken demo skis here and there to try, but I like MY stuff. I like MY stuff to be MINE. I not only wanted custom graphics, but I wanted to have a story in my skis. After last year I wanted a pair of skis that said, "It may have taken a long, winding road to get here, BUT I'm here. The view is great and I'll see you at the lodge." Also, bears and mountains and mountains that look like bears are cool. I think.
What is the story behind the custom graphics on your skis?
My friend Dave Norton, a tattoo artist (@chronicdanger) at Pino Bros Ink in Cambridge, MA, did the cubist bear mountain with trees graphic for me. Caroline Kessler took that and some crap I might have said about a river next to a road and added the rest. Have you ever NOT taken a road along a river to get to your mountain?
Tell us about the most epic ski day of your life.
It had to be a day at the Canyons in 2009. I was out there with some friends on a WFNX ski trip. Some of the old Sugarloafers were working in the area for Backcountry.com at the time. I guess they had a "team building" day, which pretty much meant they came skiing with us. It snowed over 100" while we were in town and having those guys as guides was perfect. I remember meeting up with my buddy Brian Limoges. He said, "Where do you want to go?" I said, "Never been here before. Show me around." Waist deep powder all week, but having a local show us the good spots that day was key.
What do you like most about Parlor Skis?
I like the way they perform. I told Mark I wanted a fatter all-mountain ski. I have a pair of Mountain Jay 171 that have done me well all year. I am also really pleased with the response the graphics have gotten. They are definitely a conversation piece. It is a rare instance where I am on a lift and someone does not ask what kind of skis I have, or who designed the graphics. It's great for breaking the ice. I can tell them all about the skis and invite them to join me for a Gansett in the lodge for après. We all win!
What advice can you offer people who are looking to hit that magical 20 days on snow?
Get a job that involves beer event/marketing. I joke that I'm spoiled because I HAVE to go to all these mountains to conduct après parties and promote beer. The truth of the matter is that I was doing this job before and not skiing. We were also not selling as much beers at the mountains. I focused on the mountains this fall, knowing that the more beer was sold, the more I'd have to go up to support the brand. This has been a good year for me as well as Narragansett beer in the mountains. Plus, no one wants to talk to a sales guy who shows up at the mountain at 3pm in khakis and a fleece vest to push some new beer on you. They want to talk to someone who they ran into on the lift and has been burning their legs on the hill all day.
I also had purchased a MAX PASS in the summer. In my head, 7 days made sense financially for the pass. I had skied 7 days last year, so my goal was 8 days. After 8 days, I wanted to push for 20 because YOU CAN'T GET AN INTERVIEW FROM PARLOR UNLESS YOU HAVE 20 DAYS!
Bottom line is set a goal. Smash that goal to pieces, and then meet me in the lodge for a beer.
Favorite Apres beverage?
A Narragansett Porter. They have it on tap at Wachusett and I love that beer. Most places worth their salt have our Lager. That is my usual go to for sure, although our new Fresh Catch Golden Ale might be my new favorite.