Raising a Ripper

"Raising a Ripper"
4241' | 2017/2018

When I was in high school, my English teacher asked our class to write our own shorter ver- sion of Walden, Henry David Thoreau’s ac- count of decamping to a rustic cabin on Mas-
sachusetts’s Walden Pond. My essay was called “Rutland,” and I lled it with overly serious ruminations on living in the shadow of Killington Peak. That mountain, a four-hour drive from my home in New Jersey, meant a lot to me. My parents started taking me skiing there when I was seven or eight, and it’s where the act of sliding on snow grafted itself into my very own DNA. I was a skier, and Killington was my mountain.
FAST-FORWARD about 25 years. I now live in Woodstock, Vt. with my wife and three kids. Killington, for me, is still that magical place it was when I was a teenager. So, in the fall of
2016, when my six-year-old son, Brian, said he wanted to learn how to ski, I could think of no better place to introduce him to the sport. The terrain feels limitless—especially to a kid—and the snowmaking and grooming guarantee good conditions in virtually any weather. Plus, children under seven years old ski for free at Killington and Pico, making it affordable to get lots of time on the snow and make consistent progress.
THE WINTER OF 2016-17 threw every kind of weather at the mountain, and we skied through it all. We logged 17 days to- gether, and Brian is now completely infatuated with skiing. I kept a journal of our adventures. Here are the highlights from a season well spent.
raising a ripper
"The High Cost of Free Shipping"
It’s unclear when, exactly, the trend of free shipping began, but a good starting point is probably the 1999 launch of Zappos, an early online shoe seller. 
The company worried that consumers wouldn’t be willing to buy shoes without trying them on, so it offered free shipping and free returns, thus eliminating the risk the shoes didn’t fit. These days, free shipping is among the most popular promotions online retailers deploy, and consumers have come to expect them whenever they shop online. At the same time, the rate of product returns has grown immensely. A study in 2006 found that 5.6 percent of online purchases were returned. By 2013, that number had increased to almost 37 percent.
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"Backcountry Powder Touring and Skinny Ski Lung Busting in the Green Mountain State"

"Backcountry Powder Touring and Skinny Ski Lung Busting in the Green Mountain State"
Mountain Magazine | Deep Winter 2018

When the snow is piling up, I head for the backcountry skiing zones in Brandon and Braintree created and managed by RASTA, the Rochester/Randolph Area Sports Trails Alliance. For a few years now, RASTA and its many volunteers have worked with the Green Mountain National Forest (in Brandon) and private landowners (in Braintree) to carve fall-line runs out of the woods on high-elevation, north-facing mountains. Each RASTA zone has ample public parking, a kiosk with a map, and clearly marked skin tracks and runs—a notable departure from Vermont’s secret glades and bushwhacking epics.
"Major Player"

"Major Player"
Vermont Life | Spring 2018

Judging by statistics, the Champlain Game Studio’s formula — a rigorous, collaboration-based curriculum combined with real-world learning — produces results. Eighty-one percent of the class of 2016 secured a game-related job within six months of graduation, and, Walker says, they are steeled for the task ahead.
"The Builder"

"The Builder"
Tuck Today: The Alumni Magazine of the Tuck School of Business
January 2018

Christopher J. Williams T’84 is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Williams Capital Group and Williams Capital Management, one of the most active co-managers of U.S. investment-grade new issue debt financings. In 2002, Williams was selected by Fortune as one of the 50 most powerful African Americans in Corporate America. Crain’s New York Business, in 2003, listed him as one of the top 100 minority business leaders. Williams has also been the subject of numerous articles on management in both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. What most people don’t know about Williams is that, at heart, he’s a gifted artist and designer who can bring a sense of craftsmanship to a profession known more by its numbers than its creativity.
 
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"Big Carts, Big Calories"

"Big Carts, Big Calories"
Tuck
November 29, 2017

There’s a certain logic to the stores’ low prices and bulk packaging: you can get more for your money, and make fewer trips to your regular grocery store. And the membership fee of $50 or $100 pays for itself in the money you save versus shopping at a traditional supermarket. The club store industry has been riding that calculation to great success. Between 1992 and 2013, club stores and supercenters were the fastest growing retail category in the U.S., with sales rising from $40 billion to $420 billion, and the number of club stores exploding to more than 1,600.

There’s just one problem. The whole value proposition basically falls apart in practice. As Kusum Ailawadi, the Charles Jordan 1911 TU’12 Professor of Marketing, finds in a new research paper, people who shop at club stores are spending more on food and making more shopping trips than they would if they didn’t shop there, and they’re eating more too. “We are not saving time, we are not saving money,” Ailawadi says, “and we’re increasing our consumption of non-perishable and impulse foods.”
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"Build Your Own Skis with Lars Whitman"

"Build Your Own Skis with Lars Whitman"
Seven Days | November 15, 2017

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On day two, we layed up the skis with epoxy and fiberglass and set them in a jig that creates the camber, or spring. In the afternoon, we put the skis in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and placed them in the oven — a long, insulated compartment equipped with a space heater on a timer.

By noon on the third day, we had trimmed the excess material from the sides, filed the edges so they lay flat against the bases, and belt-sanded the tips and tails so they were smooth and symmetrical. I headed home around 12:30 p.m. with new skis in my car. They have a lustrous eucalyptus topsheet etched with my initials. I don’t know how all skis are made, but I know how these were.
"Heating Up"

"Heating Up"
Vermont Life | Autumn 2017

For foresters and the working landscape, wood pellets offer an opportunity to recover lost ground. Over the past 20 years, numerous paper mills in New York and New England have closed due to reduced paper use, recycling and the globalization of paper production. The trend eliminated most of the market for pulp wood. When a pulp mill in Berlin, New Hampshire, closed in 2006, it stopped processing more than 1 million tons of wood per year.
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"Pasture Prime"

"The Pasture Prime"
The Ski Journal
December 2009

Most nights in Woodstock, Vt. are quiet. Route 4, the main east-west corridor in the state, plumbs a line straight through this quaint New England town, past an oval-shaped green and brick courthouse and a colonnaded town hall. The shops are mostly shuttered by 5:30, and you can cross the street without looking both ways. The one bar of any distinction, Bentley’s, attracts a wine-sipping clientele, and the DUI-vigilant police keep things nice and civil.
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"Are Fat Bikes Killing Old Man Winter"

"Are Fat Bikes Killing Old Man Winter"
Mountain Magazine | November 2016

The winter of 2013 was pretty dismal in New England. The January thaw was warmer than usual. February brought rain. The snows of March never really came. All winter, I pined for nor’easters and sub-zero temperatures, for powder days and four-hour skate ski benders. But mostly I rode my bike in my living room, watching Deadwood.

I also watched something else: people in my region of Vermont and New Hampshire thronging to buy fat bikes. They rode them on snowmobile trails, covered in a veneer of crusty snow. They rode them on dirt roads that turned spongy in the afternoon sun. They even rediscovered some singletrack trails and packed them into rock-studded ribbons of ice. My friends, in other words, were moving on from winter.
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"The Comeback Trail"

"The Comeback Trail"
Vermont Life
Autumn 2016

Ascutney’s life as a resort, in the conventional sense, appears to be over. The condominiums remain, of course, as does the Holiday Inn Club Vacation hotel at the base area. But lifts will never deposit skiers at the high point of the old ski area, a few hundred vertical feet below the summit, and people from Boston and New York won’t cram the base lodge at lunchtime on winter Saturdays. Most of the human traffic on the property will be human-powered — people pedaling bicycles or using skins and skis to ascend this craggy monadnock of a mountain.
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"Where the Streams Have No Names"

"Where the Streams Have No Names"
The Flyfish Journal
December 2009

Look with a jaundiced eye at trout fishing in the east, and you’ll see an experience orchestrated to match every angler’s wildest dream. In that dream, every fish is big and stupid, gulping dry flies from the surface with an almost reckless abandon, and then acts surprised when it realizes there’s a hook in its lip. With a natural drama, the fish runs downstream, upstream, does somersaults in the air. And when you’re just about ready to net the beast, it gets tired and moseys over to you like a cow who knows it’s time for milking. You reach down and heft the trout from the water, admire its reds, greens, and yellows, its generous girth, smile for the camera, and do it again.
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"Rasputitsa Season in the Northeast Kingdom"

"Rasputitsa Season in the Northeast Kingdom"
Mountain Magazine
April 25, 2016

After about 40 minutes, the climb pushed me back in the pack and I found myself in a group of six riders 30 seconds behind the lead group of four. We climbed through a notch on the northern shoulder of Burke Mountain, and descended into the remote town of Gallup Mills. Out there, the terrain changed from wooded hills and farms to a lone dirt road through a massive bog. My group traded pulls in a quick pace line and nearly caught the leaders at Victory Road, but then the road tilted up again and it was every man for himself. Soon after, I hit the most famous section of the course, Cyberia, a two-mile Jeep road that’s usually impassable during mud season. This time it was rideable all the way through, albeit with menacing, partially frozen 12-inch-deep ruts on the descent.
 
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Alumni Profile: Carlos Rodriquez-Pastor T'88

Alumni Profile: Carlos Rodriquez-Pastor T'88
Tuck School of Business | Alumni Stories

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On a sunny day in June of last year, Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor T’88 donned academic regalia and delivered the investiture address to the Tuck class of 2015. Rodriguez-Pastor talked a little about his days on Wall Street back in the early 1990s. It sounded like fun, and it was a formative time for Rodriguez-Pastor, but only in the sense that it made him yearn for something he couldn’t quite define. “It always made me feel empty and hollow,” he recounted, “hoping my career would become something more than just a way to earn money as fast and easily as I could.”
Katie HamlinTuck
"Pub Crawl Meets Pub Cruise"

"Pub Crawl Meets Pub Cruise"
Mountain Magazine
December 2015

Jackson is the rare town where you can ski from bar to bar, with just a bit of walking to connect a trail or two. It’s been that way since the early 1970s, when local business owners hatched a plan to boost winter tourism. Urbanites had traveled to Jackson in the summers since the mid-1800s to take in the clean mountain air, hike, and splash in the rivers. The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation formed in 1972 to grow the cross-country and backcountry (more like bushwhacking) offerings. Now the JSTF maintains 154 kilometers of trails. Many are meticulously groomed for skate and classic skiing, while others are left in their natural state. The network crisscrosses the village, with its covered bridge and town green, but also extends to the wilder highlands north of town and the expansive White Mountain National Forest around Pinkham Notch and the eastern side of Mount Washington.
 
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"Could algorithms help create a better venture capitalist?"
kirk-kardashian-venture-capital
Ask anyone in venture capital about their business model and they will probably tell you it’s all about the “hits.” In the VC world, a hit is a startup that makes it big, returning many multiples of a venture fund’s initial investment. Hits are great for everyone—investors, entrepreneurs, job seekers—but the problem is they don’t happen very often. William Hambrecht, a legendary venture capitalist who made early investments in Apple, Genentech, and Google, says the odds of a big hit are about one in 10. “A few others will work out, and you’re going to lose in a lot,” he says.
Katie HamlinFortune
"The Right Stuff"

"The Right Stuff"
Tuck School of Business | June 2015

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Paul Danos arrived at Tuck armed with big ideas about business education and the mandate to make them happen. Twenty years later, the changes he’s made have transformed nearly every aspect of the school and put it on a path for future success. Inside the life and legacy of Tuck’s longest-serving dean.
Katie HamlinTuck