Bode Miller looks seriously into the camera, some skis stacked behind, tips just visible but blurred out
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Chairlift Chats With… Bode Miller

In the first of this new series of interviews, Iain Martin, presenter of The Ski Podcast, chats with Bode Miller, the winningest American Alpine ski racer of all time

Meet the Pro Bode Miller is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist, two-time overall World Cup champion, and one of only five men to have won World Cup events in five disciplines. He was in Europe to launch Peak Skis.

Iain Martin You were brought up in a log cabin in Vermont with no electricity or indoor plumbing. I guess that’s what people these days people would call being ‘off grid’…

Bode Miller Exactly. As a 15-year-old to get to school, I had to leave before 5am in the morning, snowmobiling six miles on winding trails through the woods in the dark. Then I had to hitchhike up with workers another 15 miles after that.

Wow. That’s character building… You started off snowboarding before skiing. Is it true that you cut a snowboard in half and put bindings on it?

In my freshman year, I was up with some of the best snowboarders in the country before I changed to skiing. I did cut a snowboard in half and mounted ski bindings on it, because I could carve really pretty solid turns on a snowboard and I wanted to learn about how the sidecut worked.

You picked up your first podium here in Europe in Val d’Isère. Is that a lucky resort for you?

I always did well at the start of the season. That was always a strength of mine. One of the biggest challenges of being a five-event skier is that you just don’t have the time to stay focused on your one strong event, so I often did well in those early season races because I could prepare well over the summer without being distracted by racing all the time.

Bode Miller on course racing, on a steep turn

Your autobiography is titled ‘Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun’. Is that your philosophy for skiing?

Skiing needs to be exciting for me. I’ve seen a lot of World Cup races where sometimes somebody skis conservatively and ends up winning: it can be really uninspiring. I needed to ski in a way that I was excited about.

You used to live in a motorhome while competing on the circuit. Why was that?

One of the big challenges Americans face competing over here is that it’s hard to maintain a successful mental approach when you’re never at home. The Europeans have a huge advantage in that area as they go home after races and get to relax. That’s where the motorhome came in: you get to stay in the same place, sleep in the same bed every night, rather than moving from one hotel to the next.

Is it true that you used to run through streams as part of your training?

I wasn’t naturally built to be a ski racer. So, I had to work hard to build the physical attributes to allow me to be successful. Part of that was running through streams, just trying to jump from stone to stone and picking the right the right path. It helped build concentration, balance and decision making, all at the same time.

Bode Miller holds up two skis from his brand Peak, leaning against a Landrover in the mountains. Another man holding up a pair next to him

The Guardian described you as “skiing’s mad scientist”, always experimenting with your equipment. Is that what led you to create your own range of skis?

When we launched Peak Skis last year, I wanted to be clear that I’m not building these skis for me, although do I want skis that work well for me, they’re built for the skiing public. And we’ve had incredible reviews from customers and testers all over the world, so it’s been going really well so far.

The keyhole technology design within Peak Skis was inspired by some skis you used in your World Cup days. Did you cut them open too?

I didn’t cut them, I just cooked them. You just set them up in a hot box they peel apart. If you cut them, it’s hard to tell what’s going on, but if you peel them apart layer by layer, you can almost always see what makes them work.

There’s no women-specific skis in the range. Why is that?

In my experience, skis don’t know whether it’s a male or female riding on them. Or maybe they do, but I just haven’t figured out how to communicate with them yet!

The Ski Podcast is an award-winning podcast with over 190 episodes. You can listen to all episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you download your podcasts. You can listen to the Iain’s full interview with Bode Miller here:

Bode Miller looks seriously into the camera, some skis stacked behind, tips just visible but blurred out

About the author

Iain Martin

Iain first learned to ski in St Anton at the age of 5 and has loved the Alps ever since. He worked six winter seasons there, before founding recruitment website He now works as a freelance writer and consultant in the industry.

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