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INNOVATE

Olympic Skier Ted Ligety's Other Job: Entrepreneur
 

The Olympic hopeful explains how his ski-equipment company develops products at breakneck speeds.

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Alpine skier Ted Ligety won't just be representing the United States at this month's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He will also be representing Shred, the ski-equipment company he co-founded in 2006. Ligety, who won gold in the alpine combined event at the 2006 Winter Olympics, launched Shred with Carlo Salmini, a materials engineer, to create high-performance ski gear with the right measure of style. The yin-yang of engineer and athlete has created an innovative approach to product development at Shred.

Ligety leads the initial design and development phase by dissecting the pain points racers face with their equipment. Salmini then crafts the technology. "I make the prototype, then Ted takes it out to test at high speeds and in rough conditions," says Salmini. Shred's goggles (seen here on Ligety) are a good example. At high altitudes, the low air pressure can warp goggles, distorting a skier's vision. To combat this, Salmini added filters to the lenses that allow air to pass through, equalizing pressure while keeping moisture out. Shred's entire production process is designed to go from initial idea to finished product in just six weeks. Fast. Like Ligety.

"My priority is skiing fast, but I think that's in line with what's good for our business. The better I do, the more exposure we get."Ted Ligety

IMAGE: Acence Zoom
From the February 2014 issue of Inc. magazine

WILL YAKOWICZ is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
@WillYakowicz




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