We sat down with Andrew Arnott, the President & CEO of John Hancock Investments right here in Boston. Andrew is a true Mass. kid, complete with a few sets of Parlors. We wanted to learn how he balances time at work with the more valuable time on snow!
Parlor: First off, where are you from, what do you do, and how did you get into skiing?Drew: I am the President & CEO of John Hancock Investments. I was raised in Andover, Massachusetts by parents that immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1967. While my parents did not grow up with an understanding for the sport of ski racing, the Scottish Highlands were in their blood and they did not mind supporting my passion for the mountains. Growing up, I skied the White Mountains of New Hampshire and enjoyed racing alpine, eventually racing for Boston University where I captained the team for two years. My “undistinguished” ski racing career came to an end upon getting my undergraduate degree in business. While banging gates became a fading memory, I never left the mountains. Between graduate school and later starting a family with my wife KC, I committed every free weekend to the long drive north from Boston to the great state of Vermont, eventually buying a home in Stowe. My wife and I have two daughters, Emily and Mackenzie. Both girls currently race for MMSC and attend MMWA (where Drew is also a board member).
Parlor: Tell us your life story as seen through skiing (skip all that boring stuff that doesn't involve playing in the snow).
Drew: I believe life is all about people and experiences and skiing has been the nexus of those two great forces for me. When I think about my most favorite memories, most involve skiing with my kids (including teaching them to ski), ripping turns with my best friend who also happens to be my wife and of course those amazing trips and excursions with “the boys.” It sounds cliche and something most passionate skiers understand, but there is just something very powerful and grounding about being out there on the hill.
Parlor: How many days were you able to ski last year? Are you on track for even more this year?
Drew: Oh man, not a great story but only a handful of days. I managed to blow up my shoulder on New Years’s Eve at Stowe. For sake of clarity, it happened at about 10 am and I was totally sober! Unfortunately, it dislocated and tore-up all the important connections that make our most flexible joint function and I had no choice but to have surgery. This put me out for the entire season last year but good news is my shoulder is almost back to perfect and back on the hill. Moral of the story is make sure you double check the settings on those new DIN rated tech bindings and maybe dial it back a notch when using them.
Parlor: Ski days are precious out East. What do you do in the offseason to make the most of the time you get on the mountain?
Drew: If I’m not in the mountains, I’m on the water. I love surfing around the world and over the last few years, I have made the transition to SUP surfing. It allows me to stay on the water all day and catch a ton of waves. While the SUP boards tend to be bigger than most surf boards, I love being able to see the wave way out, catch it early and ride it longer. Surfing offers many of the same experiences as skiing but obviously in a very different medium. Some of those other great memories not referenced above involve being on the water.
Parlor: Tell us about the most epic ski day of your life.
Drew: I’m lucky in that I’ve had a chance to ski lots of places and my most epic day actually spanned across 5 days. It would have to be a week I spent with “the boys” in the Selkirks in British Columbia. It dumped almost every day and we just could not find a bottom the entire week. Waist to chest the entire time and everyone was super stoked.
Parlor: What do you like most about Parlor Skis?
Drew: Parlor skis are super high quality boards and can obviously be customized according to what you want in terms of dimensions, flex, camber, materials and cosmetics. That said, this is not totally unique and there are a few custom ski companies out there and many make some great product. I’d have to say what sets Parlor apart is the people behind the skis and probably the key reason why I personally have 4 pairs in my quiver. I had a chance to get to know Mark and Pete and they are solid guys.
Parlor: What advice can you offer people who are looking to hit that magical 20 days on snow?
Drew: Make sure you surround yourself with folks that are as passionate as you are and 20 days will come without a sweat.
Parlor: Favorite Apres beverage?
Drew: There is a revolution in craft beer going on in Vermont with so many amazing brews now available. I would have to say my favorite beer is Hill Farmstead Edward. There nothing like the taste of a beer after a great day on the hill.