This week we are digging into the Mabey Ski family archives and chatting with Nickie Mabey, Founder and CEO of Mabey Ski. We managed to catch up with Nickie in between research trips where she travels deep into the heart of a destination; uncovering and personally sampling rare and local experiences not easily discovered by tourists.
Nickie gave us a window into what Mabey family ski trips were like growing up, how they’ve changed over the years and why Japan and New Zealand became the first destinations for Mabey Ski’s unique ski adventures.
We’ve all read a bit about your family’s long-time involvement in snowsports, tell us about your first time on the snow.
My first ski holiday was in Valmorel (France) when I was just 5 months old. My parents had dropped me off at a creche on the first day and let the staff know my name was Nicola. For those who aren’t familiar with French names, Nicholas is pronounced the same as Nicola in English… so when it came round to nappy changing, the nannies had quite the shock. Obviously I don’t remember that trip, but my mum enjoys re-telling that story…
I bet you’ve had a lot of family ski holidays, what are your fondest memories of time spent in the mountains with the Mabey family?
My brother is only 20 months younger than me, so we were always super competitive growing up — especially when it came to skiing. Pushing each other to go higher on jumps, faster through the trees and trying to win the ‘golden boot’ on Mark Warner ski holidays. I still try and book in a ski trip with my Dad once a year, though gone are the days of making first lifts — he’s more about long lunches and getting the best table for dancing at Trofana Alm where his favourite barman Harry, donning an Austrian apron filled with mini Jager bottles, greets us with beers on wooden skis.
How did you choose Japan and New Zealand as the first destinations for Mabey Ski adventures?
It was mainly down to the fact they were two of the closest ski destinations to Singapore, which is where I first set up Mabey Ski. Both offer incredible, but very different, skiing — think powder vs. views — and have so much to offer in terms of culture and off-the-mountain adventures.
I had also spent many years in both Japan and New Zealand, and lived in Queenstown back in 2009, so it made sense to start with two destinations I knew inside out. I’d built strong relationships with locals over time, who have now become close friends of Mabey Ski, and are the partners we work with on the ground now.
This is the approach I’d like to take for all our new destinations. In fact, it’s why I moved the company to Whistler, BC, so watch this space…
What makes you want to wear ski boots for 8 hours a day?
Nothing beats bouncing through light, fluffy snow whilst the crisp mountain air hits your face. Pair that with blue skies and a backdrop of rugged mountains — that’s my paradise right there. And it’s not just about the skiing, it’s the whole mountain experience. Escaping the hustle and bustle — especially in the backcountry — where it’s just you and the wilderness. You feel so far removed from the digital world, and have the chance to connect with nature, and have genuine conversations with the people you’re out there with. It’s a chance to connect and rejuvinate… as corny as that may sound!
Where’s the one place in the world that you’re desperate to ski?
The hardest question in the world!! Georgia as it’s just so new, India for its culture, Alaska for heli-skiing, Norway for a sail-and-ski expedition, and then I guess the big one on my bucket list would be ski touring in Antarctica.