Icelantic Pro Rider Scott VerMerris (part 1 of 2)

What a great year! We hope your season was awesome. In the next few installments of The First Degree, we'll be taking you inside Icelantic, giving you an exclusive "insider's view" of our independent ski company. In our first installment, we'll have pro rider / team manager Scott Vermerris, who you've seen in our videos and all over our website. Without further ado, here's Scotty! Secretly all skiers dream of being picked off the mountain to be sponsored by a great ski company and paid to do what we love. Scott VerMerris, 26, the gate keeper for Team Icelantic and pro-rider advocate talked to me about growing up in Ohio, what it takes to be a professional skier and being a small company in a big industry. Cassi: Where did you grow up? Scott: In a small town called Gates Mills [Ohio]. It was actually a really great place to grow up. As far as skiing goes I was about 20 min from a real small hill, where I spent a lot of time, and was even able to go out and practice racing on weeknights. It was a really small place called Alpine Valley. It's got, like, two lifts and a couple rope tows. Cassi: Did it have a Terrain Park? Scott: No not at all. When I started skiing that stuff was not permitted. I was definitely that kid who was leaving race practice to go build jumps, but the guys that ran the resort would always come and run them over with the snowmobiles. So it was difficult. Freestyle was a whole different thing back then. Cassi: What did you race? Scott: I did [USSA] Slalom and Giant Slalom. I also did quite a bit of Nastar on the weekends. Cassi: Did your family ski? Scott: Yeah they did. They brought me up skiing. They were the ones that put me on skis when I was about 2 or 3. I recall them helping me learn to ski in the parking lot at Alpine Valley. I was crashing over and over, screaming and crying and saying 'I hate this. Why'd you bring me here?' And then at some point, someone flipped the switch and it became one of my primary passions in life. Cassi: How were you discovered by Icelantic? Scott: I actually met somebody that was working for the company a couple years ago named Tom Kull. He had the skis at a party one night, and I saw them and fell in love with them. They were short and fat, and I'm a short rider. It was our first skis, The Scout. I just fell in love with them. I was asking him, 'who makes those?' and 'who are you?' and 'do you sponsor riders?' I was just so excited; I couldn't take my eyes off the skis all night. I'd say a few weeks later, the owners of Icelantic, Ben and Travis, the guys that run the company, actually, came out to Utah. I had a chance to go up and meet them at Alta one day, and we went skiing. Right away they saw me ski and they noticed that I have a style that is right for how the skis were meant to perform, and they put me up on a pair. That was it. I rode on them and loved them. At the end of the day they put a hat on my head, and said we'll send you some skis. It was a great day. It was a dream come true. I never thought I'd take skiing to that next level of trying to be pro or semi-pro. From that point on we just became really great friends and developed that relationship. Last summer Ben actually asked me to try out this team management thing, and it's just been growing and developing, just like with the rest of the company. --- Stay tuned next week for part 2. Scott will reveal how to join the Icelantic team, talk about the strange politics of big time ski videos, and more! Peace and snow, Icelantic P.S. -- In case you're wondering, the "Cassi" who interviewed Scott is Cassi Clark, who has written extensively about the sport of skiing, as well as business, history, and playing house. See more of her stuff here: http://www.onsnow.co.uk/ P.P.S. -- Keep the vibe alive during the summer! Check out Scotty's updated video here: http://www.icelanticboards.com/videos/scott-vermerris.htm ------------------ Copyright, Icelantic LLC, 2007 http://www.icelanticboards.com

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