Bode Miller (40) is in his element. A new element. The Olympic ski champion is presenting the latest collection of US outdoor brand Aztech in Hall B1 - and he's looking around the halls of ISPO Munich, always on the lookout for new kicks.
"It's fascinating," says the best U.S. ski pro of all time, who was world champion four times and is now co-owner of U.S. brand Aztech Mountain: "You come here thinking you've seen it all in sports - and then you see these innovations and you're flashed. I really like the power that comes from ISPO Munich."
ISPO.com: Bode Miller, how's it going with your second career - life as a businessman?
Bode Miller: It's a tough business. We have a lot to do. But it's going very well. And it's insanely fun to steer the fortunes of a dynamic, innovative company. We're still a small but very strong team here at Aztech.
When I was an athlete, I was also involved with products and thought a lot about how to improve them. But now I have the responsibility for it, in development and in business. And that's great fun.
What is more strenuous?
Sport was more exhausting for me. This business is also great fun for me - at least not torture, as it often has to be in sports. And it's a very creative process. We can move very quickly. That's an advantage over big companies, which are often more inflexible. Every change costs so much.
When you presented the new collection at ISPO Munich a year ago, you announced: "I'm going to push the guys - just like I always did as an athlete." How well have you been able to push Aztech Mountain in 2017?
There are so many gaps in our market, the outdoor business is constantly changing. And there's so much that could be done better. But we're a small company, and you have to be careful: If you want too much too fast, you'll get in trouble fast, too. We've had so much success with the products we make and love that it's a balancing act: Driving and pushing innovation while improving the existing portfolio - it's not easy. But we are succeeding.
With what results?
Our ambition is to do better than the others. And we are well on the way to achieving this. We have become bigger. We have secured market share from other competitors. That's good for us. But we have clear target groups. We don't have to reach everyone. Aztech Mountain stands for high-quality clothing, we don't produce mass-produced goods.
Is that also why your name doesn't appear on any of the Aztech Mountain products? That would be a big push - your own Bode Miller collection.
No, we don't need that. The Aztech Mountain brand should stand on its own two feet. I'm a partner, one of the owners. I can open doors, sure. But we have a clear, high-end target group that we want to reach. My name would appeal to broad strata, which could bring a quick push - but that's not what we need at this point.
We need to support the retailers, the retail market is important for us - that's where I can audition in person, without my name on our jackets. And to be clear, every store we visit, every retailer wants to add our brand to their portfolio. And sometimes we have to say no, because we wouldn't be able to keep up with production. We then say: Just place a larger order for next time!
You seem so committed as a businessman. Yet you only ended your active career a year ago. Don't you miss skiing, the competition for gold and money?
I enjoyed being a professional racer. But to be honest, I don't miss racing. Not for a second.
Not even now that the Winter Olympics are coming up?
I'll be there. As a commentator for NBC. But that's also business.
Lastly, we will answer frequently asked questions about Bode Miller.
The former professional skier Bode Miller celebrated his 44th birthday on october the 17th 2021.
Bode Miller is currently involved into several projects such as building up his own ski academy, commentating sports events and promoting businesses.
At the end of 2021, Bode Millers net worth was estimated at around 10 million US dollars.