Incoming President Nick Sargent has been in our McLean offices for about a month now, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know him while learning about his history and hearing about his vision. Now that we’ve settled into this transitional period at SIA, we thought it was a good time to sit down and ask a few questions to share with the industry.
Nick grew up skiing and snowboarding in Stowe, VT. Since then, he has traveled the globe on the World Cup circuit with Skis Dynastar, lived in Denver and Portland while working for Salomon, and then settled his family back to his hometown of Stowe for his job at Burton. Nick is commuting to our office in McLean, VA, and it’s been great to have him here. We are all excited about the future and looking forward to working together. Here’s a look at some of what we’ve learned so far about Nick, and a glimpse of his vision for the future:
Bobby: Tell us a bit about your background and your progression from USSA ski racer to industry exec. How did your love of winter sports inspire your career, which has focused on bringing brands together to collectively help grow the industry?
Nick: Growing up in Vermont my parents got me into skiing at a young age, both Nordic and alpine. I tried Nordic ski racing, but gravitated to alpine. Winters were long and cold and there wasn’t anything about the winter I didn’t like. My father bought me my first snowboard, the Burton Backhill, at Shaw’s general store and we used to hike Stowe’s Spruce Peak before they allowed snowboarding. My friends and I reveled in the excitement that snow had to provide. I stuck with alpine racing which furthered my interest and motivation with winter sports. After college I was lucky enough to get a job with Skis Dynastar doing World Cup Service. It was really fun to follow the snow around the world, meeting people who shared the same affinity as I had with winter. I later switched jobs to Salomon and eventually Burton Snowboards before landing the job as President of SIA. I’ve enjoyed and been successful connecting people and brands to winter sports and sharing the experience without diluting our sports.
Bobby: What are you looking forward to most in the next 6 months as you work alongside David? Do you have any specific goals as you get into this opportunity to soak up his 39 years of SIA history?
Nick: I’ve known David for 20 years, and have always respected his position within the winter sport industry. I look forward to learning from his 39 years of experience and carrying on the legacy SIA has created. Listening is what I’ll be doing while I download from David his experiences in this wonderful industry.
Bobby: Our board is made of up of so many great industry leaders and all-around incredible people. How will you use this transitional time to work with all of them and hone the goals and vision for SIA’s next chapter?
Nick: SIA has great industry leaders on our board. I’ve had the pleasure to work with many of them in one way or another before taking my current role. As I move my career into a new chapter with SIA, it will be important to work with each and all board members to create, tweak and adjust the work ahead of me. I’m looking forward to using their institutional knowledge and expertise to help strengthen my vision for the future of all winter sports.
Bobby: You’ve been here at our McLean offices for a few weeks now. Any surprises or interesting things you’ve learned since you’ve been here?
Nick: The office is great in McLean, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with the staff as I settle in. Not surprising to me, but the excitement for winter sports is strong within the office community. No matter where you work or travel, you can always find the winter sport vibe; this is our common bond.
Bobby: What do you see as some of the biggest opportunities for the industry right now that you think SIA can help facilitate?
Nick: SIA has a lot of low hanging fruit; whether it’s working with groups around climate change, working with the reps and rep groups to strengthen their regional business or working with retailers and resorts to move product and get more people participating in winter sports. Participation is one of the primary drivers – the more people we have enjoying the sport, the better off the industry will respond. The SIA event in Denver is the ultimate place for the industry to gather, see new product, trends and celebrate the sport and industry. If we move away from gatherings like the SIA Snow Show in Denver, the industry will slowly dissolve and all the hard work will be for naught. Snow is too precious for us not to get together, work as one to achieve everyone’s goals, listen to new ideas and come up with a solution to help snow stick around for the next generation.
Bobby: Where do you hope the industry will be in 10 years?
Nick: In ten years, I hope the industry will be stronger than it is today. I hope we have the next generation of snowboarders and skiers alike to help drive the message of FUN. With everything happening in our world, the one thing which links us all together is snow. Let’s celebrate it, enjoy it, help save it and take all that we love to the next level.
Stay tuned to Snow Source for more “water cooler chats” with Nick Sargent, as well as some blog entries authored by Nick himself as he gets further into the transition at SIA. We look forward to hearing directly from Nick about his journey in the coming months, and about his ideas and what he’s learning as we travel down the road to transition at SIA.