The defining face behind one of newschool skiing's flagship brands is moving on. After spending close to two decades working with Orage, Mike Nick is leaving the company.
Jason Mousseau Photo
In an email circulated earlier today, Nick thanked his long-time friends and supporters. "It’s with mixed emotions that I email you to announce my departure from Orage," he said. "After 15 years of dedication, professional growth, cherished memories and friendships I have visions of my next adventure and will always remember those that we shared together."
"It’s been 2 amazing decades and I’ve experienced things I never imagined. I’ve fostered relationships that will last a lifetime and now that the time has come for me to move on and start my next chapter I thank each and every one of you for being part of the ride."
We caught up with Nick to get his take on the departure, and to find out what's next for one of skiing's pioneers.
Jason Mousseau Photo
Newschoolers: To put it bluntly, why are you doing this?
Mike Nick: It's just that time. For no negative reason, simply because it was time. It's been a great run with Orage... my ski career started w/ J Lev and LINE when he and i taught ourselves how to weld in my fathers garage back in 95 and then he started frankensteining presses and equipment to build skis in his parents garage. After that it was the X Games in 98 and the launch of Siver Cartel later that spring which i eventually sold to the company that owned Orage. When the decision was made to merge the two brands in 07 I moved full time to Orage and have been running marketing with them ever since.
So between LINE, Siver and Orage that's 20 years right there. Its been one hell of a ride but sometimes you just get the itch to take a stab at something new.
NS: What are you most looking forward to as you step away from the controls at Orage?
MN: Figuring out whats next, having open conversations with people in the industry, spring skiing on the east coast (sorry west coast) and deciding if i should go back to skiing for the fun of it or continue to keep pushing the envelope. Its a completely blank slate right now. I have a few ideas brewing up in the old fermenter between my ears that I plan to explore over the next few months but plan to take it one day at a time.
NS: You leave behind quite a legacy, is there one initiative, project or product you're most proud of?
MN: The Siver Young Gun Open still remains one that I'm most proud of. Matt Walker, Joe Schuster, Shea Flynn and LJ Strenio are still crushing it. (Inside joke - "get up iron man") The premise of that event was to find young talent and offer them some of the same opportunities I was lucky enough to fall into. If I can walk away knowing that I helped four athletes build careers that are still running strong than I'm stoked.
Jason Mousseau Photo
NS: Stepping away, how do you feel about where you're leaving Orage? Is it in good hands?
MN: Orage is in good hands. Two and a half years ago I worked with the original co founder of Orage (Eric D'Anjou) to help get the brand back to private ownership which is where it needed to be. Eric is back in the drivers seat so there's usually nothing better than having the original founder in the lead role. It's always interesting how things work when they come full circle. Orage gave my brand (Siver) opportunities it would not have had without our partnership and ultimately I was able to help set Orage back on its original course for future growth.
NS: Any advice for youngsters looking to follow down the path you've cleared?
MN: Honestly, its probably way harder now than back in my day... I got in on the ground level during the early years so what we did stood out a bit more. I think it takes more to separate yourself now but if i can give anyone a bit of advice... focus on being real, be true to yourself, don't be afraid to take a risk and if you're thinking about running a business or starting a brand make sure to keep it original.
MN: My dad for teaching me to ski... this is probably all a result of that. My mom for supporting her crazy son, my wife and two boys for putting up with the past 20 years and letting me run this path, J Lev for having a unique vision and sucking me into his world of madness, Doug and Matt Levinthal for the Siver days, Mrs Lev for always counting our poles, Mr Lev for wednesday night ski club, everyone at Orage and every skier, brand, media, filmer, film company, photographer or anybody else who was in the thick of it during the late 90's to 2000's. OG's.
It's been a great ride, and i'll see you on the mountain.