Behind every Ted, Lindsey, and Marco are legions of unsung toilers who keep the myriad pieces of competitive skiing working in cohesion. Tuners, techs, and guys like Matt Schiller, Atomic’s National Competition director. We caught up with an exhausted Schiller at the Avon Bakery & Deli on the final day of competition at the 2012 Beaver Creek Birds of Prey World Cup races, as he was preparing for a long drive back home to Utah.
What, exactly, does Atomic’s National Competition Manager do?
I sell to and service all junior freeride, junior freeski, and racing programs—everyone from the ten-years-olds in Aspen up to the World Cup team. So we have Michaela Schiffrin. We have Laurenne Ross, Alice McKennis, and Julia Ford. Marco Sullivan came on this year. Travis Ganong came back. Tons of Europa Cup guys, like Wiley Maple, Bryce Bennett and Nick Daniels, and Keith Moffat, and Mark Engel. So I’m here to hang with the best guys and gals and keep them happy and fulfilled. Take care of their equipment. Get them some media support and exposure. Make sure they’re all set up to have the best year they can.
That sounds busy.
It’s stupid busy! Thankfully we know a tremendous amount of people in the business and Atomic is an extremely strong brand in racing. We have a lot of people to talk to and a lot of gear to shuttle and tweak and a lot of hands to shake. We’re here to let everyone know we’re here in a strong way.
You went through a big life change back in October, correct?
Hey, I might as well get married in the middle of the crunch of preparing for ski season, right? There’s so much going on in such a short span of time all leading up to these world cups in Aspen and Beaver Creek—September through November, when the racers are all here in Colorado, training, needing bootfitting—all that. And I might as well get married on October 13. Now that Birds of Prey is over, there are some NorAms and some additional racing and then the juniors kick into gear. I’ve been in and out of this county for a couple of months now and it’s time to go home and take a honeymoon.
So you’re actually going to take a honeymoon?
We’re going to New Zealand for two weeks to go biking. In the summer! To go biking! How about that, huh? Gonna take off the boots and go biking.
How are Atomic athletes faring thus far?
We’re happy. We don’t have the deepest team but we have the right people. Leading off we had Michaela firing on all cylinders at Aspen, Levi, and Solden, As far as our girls go, Michaela has been leading the charge. And then for the guys, it was Marco in third at Lake Louise. He had been in a slump for the last few years. He needed a change and we came through for him and it has been a night and day difference from last season to this. Lake Louise was a massive break for him and a sign of good things to come. Additionally, Travis Ganong comes to Beaver Creek and wins a training run. Between those two guys, we haven’t seen this sort of potential and excitement since the Bode and Daron days. Birds of Prey went fine—they were 16th [Ganong] and 18th [Sullivan], which is better than they’ve ever done here and it’s setting them up for stellar year. Marco and Travis are working together at the top end. Our stuff is looking good.
Well thanks for your time, Matt, and safe travels back home to Utah.
Thanks, Sam. Enjoy your sandwich.