What’s the inspiration behind Alpine X?
The Alpine-X mission is a commitment to the democratization of skiing. Our focus is on creating a wide range of experiences that can be enjoyed and shared by everyone, regardless of their background or skill level. I view the hospitality and resort industry as leaders in diversity of teams and guests, but the industry traditionally has a lot of economic exclusivity. At Alpine-X, we are intentional in our approach to create affordable and convenient experiences— including no-cost visits for underrepresented youth, adults and families.
You’ve spent considerable time in the resort and hospitality industry, as well as in the lifestyle real estate investing space. What led you to snow parks specifically, and how did you meet the founders of Alpine-X?
Joining the Alpine-X team was a natural fit with my background in indoor recreation and hospitality, my interest in building community-focused experiences, and my desire to have a tangible, positive impact.
How do you work together, and what’s your broader team culture like?
The Alpine-X culture stems from our team-building mentality. We are aconglomeration of founders, early-stage investors, industry advisors, etc. where each individual brings diverse and relevant experience and talent to the mix.
How do you handle risk and competition?
Creating anything new carries risk, but I think deep down our team relates risk to opportunity. We have deep backgrounds in finance and technical risk analysis, and we've self-funded through our early stages. I fully expect we will see competition as we continue to grow, but with our team’s background in hospitality and resorts, we have a firm handle on staying ahead of it. For example, the location of our first resort at Fairfax Peak is a repurposed landfill in the Washington, DC metro area. With such a convenient location, there's a higher barrier to entry that protects our leadership position.
Have there been any unexpected challenges in developing the Alpine-X project?
Commercializing new ideas is an ongoing parade of unknowns and challenges. Some early discussions with local communities for site approval revolved around assurances that our experiences would be affordable. Given our mission of “Snowsports for Everyone” this challenge was at the top of our list. In diving into how to best serve the entire community, we went beyond just focusing on affordability and purposely sought out additional experiences to add to the overall resort design to broaden our appeal.
What’s different about this project for you personally, compared to your past experiences as a business leader? Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourself through this process?
Alpine-X is an opportunity to develop a community-based brand. In my previous experience developing traditional hotels and destination resorts, travel time and cost often limit access. The most positive surprise I’ve had was the support of the snowsports and local communities, as well as other business leaders. People are tired of division; they genuinely want to see everyone being treated fairly and brought together.
Why did you decide to raise from the crowd via Republic?
At Alpine-X, inclusion is at the heart of everything we’re building. We’re focused on building resorts that anyone can access, and raising equity from the crowd lets more people own a piece of our company. We chose Republic to host our crowdfund because they are committed to treating potential investors fairly and focusing on detailed information and disclosure more than hype. That fits our style very well.
What is your superpower?
Team-building. Anything that I accomplish is a result of our team.
What’s your kryptonite?
Fear of letting people down.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
I think everything I do is usual and normal. My friends, family and team likely disagree.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
This may seem ironic given that I’m developing year-round indoor skiresorts, but most of my free time is spent outside. Living in the mountains, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing and the occasional brewery visit. I’m a big fan of bonding opportunities for family and friends. Lake time, campfires, a walk through the woods— experiences like that are great.
Are there any apps or gadgets that you can’t live without?
Air Pods. With all the remote meetings we’re all involved with these days, I can’t make it through a day without them.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago, what would it be?
Prioritize health and wellness. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of building a business and lose focus on self. I’ve gotten better at this with age, but can always improve.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Hospitality businesses have always benefited from diversity— our teams and our guests come from every background. And with hospitality locations that are open 24/7/365, I was taught to value every team member’s contribution to the guest experience. Our people are the most important part of the success of our business.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what have they taught you?
Simply put, empathy. My mentors have helped me develop not only technical knowledge and skill, but more importantly, they shaped my appreciation of teamwork, listening to others, and understanding where they are coming from.