A Life in Luxury: In Conversation with Bomber CEO Robert Siegel

The thing that sets Bomber Skis apart is something you refer to as “The Bomber Difference”. When you first clicked onto a pair of Bomber Skis, you felt it. Today, you own the company. Tell us a little about how that happened.

I skied at Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont where we were required to ski six days a week, the seventh was optional. Here, I suddenly found myself in the company of people who were deeply passionate about skiing. The difference between going to a school where folks do some sports, some studying, and a lot of partying, to a school where there was not a person who wasn’t passionate about skiing and giving 120 percent effort all the time, just 50 students who by 6am have already completed a five-mile run every day—the difference is night and day. It truly embodied my ethos: If you’re going to bother doing anything, give it beyond your all.

Tell us about some of your most memorable ski moments.

Zip ahead 40 years, I find myself skiing on a pair of Bomber skis and they are quite simply like nothing else. They literally pop you out at the end of every turn. I then got a call from the owner that there was an opportunity to buy the company. At the time, I was reading a book by Steve Jobs and a light went off in my head: clothing already has its luxury brands –Hermes, Moncler… and here we have a product that is superior in both substance and looks that I could combine with my contacts in the luxury world. And just like a Birkin bag, we are not competing on price but on quality.

You specialize in luxury. After your ski racing career ended, you made luxury your business and eventually took to real estate development in a rather big way. How did the two interests eventually merge?

When I build a building I don’t have to worry about every penny: I choose to work with luxury companies who choose to be the best they can. Similarly at Bomber, I employ the best people and use the finest materials to make the best possible skis. For years, the whole ski industry has been trying to make skis at low cost while at Bomber, we concern ourselves solely with this one question: will the consumer benefit? It makes everything exciting.

What’s behind the technology that goes into these skis? Is there a difference?

Other companies focus on lowering costs and increasing sales. At Bomber, we make 3000-5000 pairs a year, and we don’t envision ever exceeding 10,000. Suppliers are excited to work with us – we want only the best available materials. We use materials and methods of production where nothing is spared, and our factory in Italy, that we own, builds skis only for us. We will never have large volumes of skis but we will have more products to come, including helmets, goggles, gloves and slippers.

Bode Miller is one of the most successful and famous ski racers on the planet – and he is brand ambassador of Bomber. Tell us more about his involvement.

Bode is integral to the design of every Bomber ski. He understands the physics and engineering. Bode pushes skis to the limit and then engineers their design to work for the recreational skier. That’s the Bomber Difference: skis that enable the recreational skier to ski better, more safely at speed and with better performance than ever. With Bode, I share — if not in skiing, then in principle — a mentality. Our business mentality is the same and that is a big part of the Bomber Difference.

-Spoken to Leslie Woit.