By Georgetta L. Morque
Rye skiers visiting Vail might very well come across Kevin Tice, a former resident of nearly 20 years, popular CYO and AAU basketball coach, and Rye YMCA board president. In fact, this winter, several Rye families reunited on the slopes with Kevin and his wife, Jo, their sons, Don and Pete, and daughter, Holly, who now call Vail home.
For the Tices, the move has been a fun transition prompted by an irresistible business opportunity for Kevin, who for the past year-and-a-half has served as president of Apex, an innovative ski boot company. Tice, an avid skier, didn’t mind trading his 25-year career on Wall Street for an entrepreneurial venture under the blue skies of the Colorado mountains.
Three years ago, Tice was introduced to Apex by a former client and became intrigued with the product, which solves the problem for skiers plagued by cold and painful feet. “The traditional alpine ski boot has been the same for the last 40 years,” said Tice who describes typical boots as uncomfortable, cold, hard-to-walk in and often causing blisters and pain. Apex, which was founded ten years ago, offers a different approach with a unique two-piece system that includes an actual walking boot that slips on easily and keeps the feet warm and a second outer shell to use for skiing. Apex boots provide custom-fit liners and an array of technological advancements well suited to the modern ski. It wasn’t long before Tice became an investor in the company.
Currently, 150 retailers nationwide sell Apex boots, which have received rave reviews from customers and the ski industry. REI is one of the largest outlets. Tice finds it challenging to build a brand, although each year 40 or so more retailers come on board. “Brick by brick, it doesn’t happen overnight.” He finds it very rewarding to see someone putting on the boots and smiling ear-to-ear. “People really love the product.”
For the past ten years, the Tices maintained a second home in Vail, which they frequented regularly. Tice is a big fan of Colorado, where he grew up and still has family and friends. He says it’s fantastic in the winter for skiing but even better in the summer with the spectacular settings, cool mountain breezes, 72-degree temperatures, and a wide range of activities from mountain biking to fishing to golf. “You can spend all day outside.”
Kevin and Jo are almost empty nesters. Don just graduated from Syracuse University and plans on applying to medical school; Holly is a junior at Johns Hopkins University; and Pete is college-bound this year. All three attended Rye schools. Jo, a Westchester native and longtime dedicated volunteer with Rye schools and Resurrection’s religious education program, has made new friends in Colorado and is actively involved in Pete’s new high school. Kevin is back to coaching AAU basketball, this time with the Vail Valley Girls’ team.
The Tices haven’t lost their Rye connection. They will be back in town on May 31 when Kevin will receive the Rye YMCA’s Gold Spirit Award.
Apex president Kevin Tice
On the slopes in Vail