Stuart Winchester on 'The Wachusett Wire' Podcast
A behind-the-scenes look at how 'The Storm Skiing Podcast' is made.
A couple of weeks ago, Wachusett PR Manager Chris Stimpson asked me to join him for an episode of the ski area’s Wachusett Wire podcast. We talked a bit about skiing, but he was mostly curious about how The Storm Skiing Podcast was made and how I established it as a brand. I thought you might enjoy our conversation:
Several Storm listeners have asked if I’ll ever do a podcast about myself and my story. If I were to do one, it probably wouldn’t be much different than the conversation I just had with Chris. Looks like he just saved me (and my wife, The Storm’s editor), the hassle of editing it.
If you’re not familiar with Wachusett, it is one of the slickest ski area operations in the country. High volume but high efficiency, with reasonable prices and some of the most aggressive snowmaking on the continent. Here’s a podcast I recorded with the mountain’s president, Jeff Crowley, last year:
After I released this, I stopped by Wachusett in February - right before I broke my leg - to ski with Jeff, Chris, and the whole crew. This is a family operation, and the backroom feels like a weekend hangout at a big clan’s lakehouse - only there’s a ski hill outside instead. Wachusett has long been ahead of the industry in a number of areas, but Crowley told me an amazing story while I was there: last year, 50 skis or snowboards were stolen from Wachusett, and, using a network of cameras and license-plate readers, the team caught the thief 49 times. The system is so efficient that the losers often find the police waiting for them when they pull into their driveway. Just amazing - not only that Wachusett has set up a system that can achieve this, but that they care enough to do it.
Thank you, Chris, for the opportunity to join you on your pod. I’ll look forward to seeing you on the Polar Express this winter.
Awesome pod where you were the guest! Man I grew up listening to Jim Rome in the mornings, it's so cool to see how you were inspired and influenced by his style and I can definitely see it. I'm just like you, it's one of my biggest pet peeves when the host constantly interrupts the guest they brought on to the show to be the focus for that particular episode. I remember the very first podcast of yours I listened to when it was linked in one of the News Roundups on Lift Blog, and immediately I thought to myself "Man, this Storm Skiing guy is actually a really good host! I need to check out more of his work."
Long form interviews and conversations are always the best ways to disseminate information and ideas, especially when interrupting is kept to a minimum. It's why, for example, politician debates whether it's for party primaries or the debate between the chosen presidential candidates are all absolute garbage, as they all play out like this:
The host/moderator asks a question about an incredibly complex topic, gives the politician thirty seconds to answer, then proceeds to interrupt them while they're answering the question initially asked all while the others heckle the one answering the question. I can't believe that's still the debate format for our PUBLIC OFFICIALS. I can think of so many more examples of that in the podcast and radio world, so I commend how well your podcast format and interviewing style works and how fair you are. You can ask some tough but entirely fair questions Stuart, and that's why huge swaths of the ski industry including the folks behind Alterra(!) and Vail(!) are willing to communicate with you and even appear as podcast guests!
So far I think you've only burned one bridge and that's the bridge with Powdr Corp, I think you said they stopped answering your emails? 😂
Indeed Wachusett is a wonderful ski area. I skied there several times and enjoyed every time - even the time I shucked a shoe at speed crossing a rut from a previous race course and hit the deck hard. I thought the snow making and hill prep was first rate. I like the terrain. I love how Wachusett’s cameras and tech defeated the ski/board thieves. A smaller area closer to Boston, Blue Hills, has had a terrible problem with thieves. The only thing I would leave unattended there is a Rottweiler. And, I knew the rut was there - I had crossed several times without any problem by being smart. When I got smacked I foolishly continued to pressure the ski across the rut. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I increased the heel setting from 8 to 11 and haven’t had a pre release since.