Bode Miller is a loyal man.
Especially when it comes to cars. The World Cup- and Olympic-champion skier has owned three GMC Typhoons since 2000. He still keeps the last, a turquoise two-door, at his home in California, even though it needs some repairs.
Though the car was manufactured more than two decades ago, and only a few thousand were made, Miller just can’t bring himself to call it quits.
“I was one of the first people in my area to have one,” Miller told me proudly over coffee at Spring Place studios in Tribeca last week. He was in New York to talk about his partnership in Aztech Mountain, a technical outerwear and ski brand co-founded by avid skiers (and longtime fashion insiders) David Roth and Anthony Rutger and based in New York and Aspen, Colo.
Miller had timed his arrival to dovetail with NYFW, where he caught approximately zero fashion shows (hey, he’s a busy man!) before returning to Orange County, Calif., where he lives with his wife, Morgan Beck. But back to the car: “The Typhoons were cool because they were two-doors, like a GMC Jimmy, but then they had a 4.2 [liter] turbo engine," Miller said. "And now all of these SUVs are going back to that! Really fast, performance-driven SUVs.”
They were like little clown cars, he said: You could fit way more people inside than you might think. With the rear hatch and the back bench seat, Miller and four buddies could easily fit inside—with their golf clubs—and be gone for the whole day.
One of his three, a shiny black model from ’92, even saved his ski trainer from a moose.
“He was driving it home after one of my events and hit a giant moose,” Miller said. “The moose came through the windshield, but actually the car saved him because it crushed the pillar in the side and filled the whole cab with moose hair and ticks and crap. That thing was totaled. Luckily I bought it for six grand, but totaled, it [cost] 13 because it was such a rare car. It’s impossible to find parts.”
Not that Miller would even have time to look for them. Since taking time off from his ski career last year, he has invested heavily in horse breeding, even buying a barn at a well-known thoroughbred training farm. And Beck is expecting Miller's fourth child, their second together.
A Debut in Apparel
“Most people would say [fashion] is a crazy industry to get into, but if you see it like I do, I see it as an opportunity because I can think outside the box and I can apply all these lessons I’ve learned in different areas to this thinking,” Miller said. “It gives me an advantage.”
It’s like horse breeding, which is not known as a particularly lucrative practice to join, he added with a laugh. The idea behind the clothing in the Aztech line is that the items are each field-tested by Miller himself—he’s an avid golfer, tennis player, and boater as well—and accordingly engineered to accommodate his elite level of performance. This means that a coat, for example, is designed not just as a single article of clothing but in relation to how it will interface with gloves, a ski helmet, or boots.
Miller said he won’t be designing the clothes himself, even though he will frequently text a design team sketches and inspiration.
“I’m constantly texting stuff,” he said, noting with a wry grin that he finished at the top of his sewing class in seventh and eighth grades. “I’ve always done that with sports equipment and clothes. It’s part of my natural curiosity: You see what’s around you, and you start to understand functionality. I’ve had the unique opportunity to do that at a high level for the last 20 years.”
It’s the interface between a jacket collar and a ski helmet—or a jacket bottom and pants—that can make all the difference, he said. “When you get in your tuck when you’re skiing and your ass crack is hanging out and you feel the wind, you realize it’s just length and design and movement patterns. And you have to know how things work together to make them so that they’re well designed to work together.”
There are 16 pieces, including pants, jackets and pullovers, in the new line. Prices range from $425 to $1,850. It’s available now at Barneys, Harrods, Mr. Porter, Lane Crawford, and at Aztechmountain.com.