An educated tech
Kenny Nault’s CMC degree propelled him to a career prepping snowsports’ best athletes
What will a snowsports industry degree from Colorado Mountain College get you? If you’re Kenny Nault, it’ll get you a 20-year career as a sought-after technician for world-class athletes, the likes of Shaun White and Chloe Kim.
Nault was recently in Aspen for the 2021 FIS Snowboard and Freeski World Championships at Buttermilk March 8-21. During a break, he talked about the past and present of the snowsports industry, and the importance of education in reaching his goals.
A degree in ski and snowboard business
Nault moved to Summit County, Colorado from Indiana to snowboard after high school. He heard that Colorado Mountain College offered a ski and snowboard business degree program in Steamboat Springs and figured he’d apply. In short order, he made the move north to start taking classes in the fall of 2000. He graduated with an associate degree in ski and snowboard marketing and business management in 2002.
In 2006, Nault landed a job at Swix and began working with sponsored athletes. “A professional tune, with wax targeting specific snow conditions, is like making a micro meal at home versus going to a five-star restaurant,” he said. “The thought and preparation at the five-star restaurant is huge. Anyone can wax a ski or board, but what we do is very different.”
During that time, Nault was among a small cadre of techs who essentially invented the art and science of snowboard prep for elite competition. He prepped Shaun White’s boards at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, and now lists Chloe Kim, Toby Miller and the Canadian National Freestyle ski team as clients.
As a CMC alum, Nault is ready to build on his snowsports degree. “It's important to be thinking about what’s next,” he said.
During his two decades on the circuit, Nault has learned how to support his elite clients in more ways than getting their wax right. He's now taking online and in-person classes in sports psychology during the short off-season near his home in Santa Ana, California, with plans to earn a degree in the field.
"I really think education is important,” he said. “People say they don't have the time but I believe there's always time to fit it in."
Until he completes his psychology studies, Nault is continuing to use his CMC education, working with world-ranked skiers and riders. While he’s at it, he looks forward to preparing the snowboards for the nation's best next January at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.