After six frustrating years of wrecking his skis on Jackson Hole's extreme terrain, 30-year-old ski bum Adam Sherman came up with a solution: his own ski manufacturing company. Sherman, a skier since 2 and a former collegiate racer at Penn State, is now the youngest CEO of the world's tiniest skimaker, Igneous. Based in Jackson, Wyo., Igneous builds just 600 pairs of "indestructable" skis a year. The customized, hand-made skis cost $600 and have names such as "Killer Green Skis," "Flour Child" and "Rasta"-Sherman's personal stick of choice.
Born June 23, 1969 (age 30)
Getting Started "I used to repair airplane wings, custom archery bows and fiberglass boats. Then I learned about skimaking from my research at the University of Maryland engineering library. Next I bought a 1960 Rossignol ski press. The guy said it was worth $10,000. I gave him $500."
Work Ethic "I do everything possible to build a great ski. I can't afford an apartment, so I live in my van in the factory parking lot. Our graphic artist, Mike Tierney, lives in a cardboard box in the factory. We have a severe dedication to skiing."
The Ski "I use parts that will handle everything, including the occasional pilot error. At the heart of our ski is the maple wood core. I also use a bulletproof layer of Aramid tissue and oversized edges. These skis bounce off rocks-and they carry a three-year warranty."
The Bottom Line "I think we're going to break even this year, which is really exciting, especially for our creditors."
Future Ski "If Igneous could bring in 1 percent of the $250 million spent each year on skis, maybe I could move out of my van."
For more information on Igneous, call (307) 734-8788, or visit its website at www.igneousskis.com.