Although decorated in her sport, big mountain skier Michelle Parker isn’t driven by accolades alone.
Last year, Parker joined the Peak Skis team, a direct-to-consumer brand launched in April 2022 by alpine ski race legend Bode Miller and Andy Wirth, a former ski resort executive. She was named senior director of product development and innovation in November.
Parker is also active in efforts to create a more equitable future in ski, including helping launch S.A.F.E. A.S. (Skiers Advocating and Fostering Education for Avalanche and Snow Safety), an in-person, women’s-tailored avalanche awareness and safety clinic. Also, she is active in the fight to combat climate change, and is involved with Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit that focuses on advancing nonpartisan policies concerning climate change.
Below, Parker talks Peak Skis, female representation in her sport and how sustainability impacts her life, both personally and professionally.
How would you describe your entrepreneurial spirit?
“I get enthusiastic about all the opportunities in action sports, whether that’s directing and producing films, photography, ski design, marketing. I’m involved with an exercise app called Seasons — I’m the athlete on video walking you through a ski workout. Chris [Davenport] and I are involved with this amazing wine company, Revelshine. They bottle in aluminum, which makes it 95% more recyclable and better for the planet than glass.”
What is the most revolutionary thing about Peak Skis?
“The innovation and thought process having to do with creating more of a recyclable ski. Being able to recycle a ski and reuse the materials was a huge pull. And the innovation with ski design. Having had multiple conversations with Bode [Miller], it’s fascinating to understand the way his mind works. When you get on the skis, you understand exactly what he’s talking about.”
When did you realize Miller was a mad scientist when it comes to ski design?
“He called me once I got on the skis this past December to see how I liked him. I was home in Lake Tahoe. I listened to everything he said, and my mind was blown. He’s like the Formula One driver that designs his own car, builds his own car and then wins the race. You’re like, ‘OK, who better to design skis than this person?.’”
What role does sustainability play in your life?
“I look at the companies I work with to do more and I learn alongside them. Take Arc’Teryx, for example. They’re trying to go fully circular. And Peak is trying to make this industry more circular. We rely on snow to do our sport, and it’s obvious when you spend every day in the mountains that climate change is real. And I vote with my dollar.”
Why is female representation critical in skiing?
“Not to discount the men in my life, but the times I’ve been my best are on the mountains with other women. You’re not comparing yourself to a guy at that point. You’re comparing yourself to someone who you see yourself in. When they hit a big cliff, I want to hit a big cliff. You start leveling up together, it’s powerful.”