Mike Aidala Staff Profile // Interviews
If you've ever called SkiEssentials.com, there's a good chance you've spoken to Mike Aidala. Mike is Customer Service Manager and Assistant to the Marketing Director and is an integral part of the staff here at SkiEssentials.com. Starting his employment with us back in 2009, Mike has played a big role in marketing, event planning, gear reviews, and much more. He now spends the majority of his time ensuring you get your orders quickly, accurately, and as enjoyably as possible! We sat down with Mike to learn more about his skiing background, how he ended up in the industry, and more.
Tell us about how and when you started skiing.
Hmmm.. . Let's see, I never actually started skiing until I was either 11 or 12 years old and had some friends starting to get into the sport, but for some reason as a young kid I always wanted to ski. So it finally happened on a snow day home from school. I had some friends going to the local ski hill with a rope tow at the Sawkill Family Fun Park in the Catskills of NY, and I joined them. That was it, I was hooked. As a young kid before it actually happened I was always into the sport for some reason, checking out my Uncle's SKI Magazines and cutting out pages to hang on my walls. I was always really into winter and snow in general.
Why is skiing important to you and what made you choose it as a career?
Oh boy, ready? I have always wanted to combine my passion with my career. Why not right? Life is short, live the life you love and love the life you live. Skiing has always consumed my thoughts. Skiing to me is all about self-expression, flowing with the mountain and the natural world. My soul feeds on it. I have never felt as complete, content or stoked as I do on my skis. I mean really, standing on top of a peak you just boot packed up or skinned up on a bluebird pow day, looking down scoping your line of untouched pow... I mean that's where it's at!! You are alive and nothing else seems to matter. I mean, just get some!! Yeah buddy, damn I just got super stoked thinking about it.
Where is your favorite place to ski?
Oh there's a few. Squaw Valley USA is the number one choice for sure! Silverton and of course Stowe. And I need to give a big shout out to my homeland in the Catskills,NY! There's no place like the Huntah bar after crushing some K27 bumps or the West Side.
How many days a year do you ski?
It definitely has varied a bit over the years, but I've been able to pull close to a 100 days or so pretty consistently on snow since working in the Industry after college. It tends to vary a bit based on business and of course the snow conditions. Last year was a solid, most days ever. There have been several years where I did not get as many days in but it has always been close to or beyond 100 days since I started at Skiessentials.com in the winter of 2008/2009. It is always perfect to start the day with a few turns before heading to work.
How many pairs of skis do you currently have in your quiver?
I have the Blizzard Bonafide for the firm VT conditions, nothing like the Mid-Fat Bull with some Titanal. I have a pair of Shreditor 102 skis for the softer days, a pair of Blizzard Gunsmokes for the deep days and a pair of the K2 Annex 108 skis setup with the Marker Duke AT bindings for some skinning adventures. Basically I split my ski love between Blizzard and K2.
What is your favorite?
I can't say I have an absolute favorite choice. It honestly depends on the snow condition. Love the Blizzard Bonafide when it's firm and fast! K2 Shreditor 102 is super fun and playful when it's soft.
Do you have any skiing idols? Who are they?
Of course. The majority of my Ski Idols were Squaw based for the most part, hence I moved there after college in VT. Scott Schmidt is the OG ski idol for sure! Seth Morrison, Shane McConkey, Kent Kreiter and for sure Glen Plake. Plake has been keeping it real and is still doing it. It wouldn't be right if I didn't mention those no longer with us.. Doug Coombs, Shane McConkey, CR Johnson , Sara Burke, and JP Auclair. RIP and thank you all for the inspiration to shred. Thank you as well to any skiers and all skiers I may have forgotten to mention.
What's your apres ski routine?
Notch walk with my Alaskan Husky Rosies and straight to Piecasso Pizza for slices, a few PBRs and a bit of chat about the day on the mountain with some of my Stowe peeps.
Adult beverage of choice?
PBRs as the go to and an occasional Focal Banger or Heady Topper from the Alchemist Brewery.
What activities do you partake in during the summer?
Outdoor fun: Mountain biking, hiking, Stowe golf league on Tuesdays, wakeboarding when someone takes me out and BBQ. Obviously after all of activities there's a bit of apres celebration with friends.
Who, in your opinion, has had the biggest impact on the sport of skiing?
For me personally, Scott Schmidt for sure. He made it happen as far as "Extreme" or Freeskiing getting respect and look at where we are now. It's awesome. Freeride comps and clinics everywhere. So stoked on the big mountain evolution.
In the history of skiing, what would you say has been the biggest technological breakthrough?
I think it's hard to pinpoint it to only one breakthrough. I would say we owe respect to the evolution of parabolic skis, Rocker design and snowboarding. Yup, that's right, snowboarding. If it wasn't for snowboarding pushing skiing to evolve as a sport, we as skiers would not be experiencing the awesome technology and shapes we currently have!
11 years ago Mike suffered a life changing injury at Hunter Mountain in New York. His story, although left out of this interview, is incredibly inspiring and something that everyone can take something away from. We featured an article here on Chairlift Chat a few years ago in which Mike explains the accident, his recovery, and how it's changed his outlook on skiing and life.