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Bald Mountain in Idaho gets big booster

Hoye, 48, lived in Clearwater County, Idaho, from age 5 to 15 ... “Our values are about people enjoying skiing in their homes, wherever that is.” As a kid, Hoye was just happy to have a place to ski. Lost on him was the effort and volunteer hours ...

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By Eric BarkerThe Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune It’s a long way from Bald Mountain to 4 Vallees at Verbier, Switzerland And not just in milesOne is a tiny, community-operated ski hill with a rope tow and T-bar nestled in the Clearwater Mountains of north-central IdahoBuilt by loggers, it caters to local families and remains a place kids and families learn to ski and snowboard The other, in the Swiss Alps, is one of the world’s best mega resorts, with high-speed lifts and a jet-setting clientele But this planet is an often small place cluttered with spider webs of connectionsIn that sense, it’s just a hop and a skip between Orofino and Verbier Chris StGermaine found that out recently while logging on to Bald Mountain’s Facebook page, which she maintains as president of the Clearwater Ski Club There she read a message from Alex Hoye, co-founder of Faction Skis and a successful entrepreneur and angel investor based in London and VerbierHis company recently released “This is Home,” a ski film that highlights the local mountains and skiing culture that shaped the styles and skills of some of the best skiers on the globe In his message, Hoye announced he is donating two pairs of Faction skis to the club to be given away via raffleHe’s also making his movie available for screening by the club Hoye, 48, lived in Clearwater County, Idaho, from age 5 to 15 He traces his skiing home to Bald Mountain, where he started on the rope tow and remembers with pride the day he tackled the more intimidating T-bar “It was a big day,” he said during a phone interview Like many of the local kids, he skied in blue jeans with gaiters his mother sewed from a mail-order kitSkiing, even at a modest hill like Bald Mountain, was “an extravagance” for his family, which at one point resided on a small farm and ranch near Cavendish, Idaho “We caught the buses bright and early at Konkolville and it was really formative,” he said“I loved it, just absolutely loved itIt has a great community spirit to it — very down home,” he said For StGermaine, Hoye represents why she and other volunteers labor long hours to keep Bald Mountain going “I about cried on the couch,” she said of reading his message“That is why we do thisIt’s about being affordable and hooking kids on skiingHis story went over the top for me because it’s a story of opportunity and a story about success.” She thought about all of the kids she and others have helped at the hill, how that simple act can shape in some small way young minds and help give them confidence they will need in life “To know one kid somebody helped in the 70s went on to make a life in skiing is just too cool for meIt’s the core of what we do.” StGermaine will show Hoye’s film to students at Timberline, a nearby K-12 schoolShe hopes it lures them to Bald Mountain and that Hoye’s story gets them dreaming big about their own futures “This is a kid just like you,” she said“So poor he couldn’t hardly go to Bald Mountain very much and now look what he is doingThis guy’s story hit me right in the soulIt’s why I work my (rear) off to keep this hill alive.” Hoye went to college at Stanford and earned an MBA from Harvard Business SchoolHe worked for Disney for a stint and in 1999 started, an auction website similar to eBay for commercial equipmentHe navigated and nurtured the business through the dotcom bust, eventually saw it publicly listed on the stock exchange and later sold it He moved to the Alps intending to take a breakThere he met fellow skier and entrepreneur Tony McWilliamTogether they founded Faction, which specializes in high-quality boards for free skiers “Free skiing is a mentality that we are really excited about,” Hoye said“It’s not about getting down the hill 100th of a second faster than somebody elseIt’s about getting down in your own way and your own style.” Founded 12 years ago, Faction is the fastest growing ski brand in the world Hoye and his partner turned to film to help promote the brand They initially made short online videos that quickly garnered millions of views Last year, they moved up to a full-length film featuring world-class athletes “We wanted to get our story out there and our values out there,” he said“Our values are about people enjoying skiing in their homes, wherever that is.” As a kid, Hoye was just happy to have a place to skiLost on him was the effort and volunteer hours that went into keeping his home hill open “It was just normal,” he said “Having seen the rest of the world, I appreciate it a little more,” Hoye said“It’s so greatI can guarantee I wouldn’t have gotten Faction off the ground if it wasn’t for those guys.” 18989599 --> #article-map-canvas { height: 300px; margin: 10px; } Share this story View next article in Outdoors Get top headlines daily Sign Up More from Outdoors Conditions vary for cross-country skiing in Central Oregon New CCC director brings an infectious love of racing Fishing Ochoco Creek MtBachelor Nordic Center Fishing Report

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