After winning a gold medal in the combined at the 2006 Winter Olympics, American ski racer Ted Ligety had an idea. He wanted to create a pair of goggles that were neon, attention grabbing, and unlike anything on the market. So he presented the idea to his friend Carlo Salmini, an Italian engineer and fellow skier. Just a few months earlier, the duo had teamed up to launch Slytech, a company that makes protective gear like shin guards and back protectors for skiers, snowboarders, and mountain bikers.
In the fall of 2006, Ligety and Salmini launched Shred Optics. Today, the company sells goggles, sunglasses, and helmets in more than 40 countries and has headquarters in both Park City, Utah, and Venice, Italy.
Ligety, meanwhile, hasn’t let running a business slow down his ski-racing career. He nabbed his second Olympic gold, in giant slalom this time, at the 2014 Games in Sochi. And despite spending the past two years dealing with a slew of injuries, Ligety is back and ready to defend his title in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the Olympic Games this February. I called up Ligety about his tips on juggling business, ski racing, and time with his now-crawling seven-month-old son, Jax.