U.S. Ski Champs Sell Sweet Smells Of Success

Shannon Bahrke  jumps with her tongue out in the women's World Cup Freestyle moguls. i i

Shannon Bahrke takes a jump in the women's freestyle moguls World Cup event in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 11, 2007. Douglas C. Pizac/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Douglas C. Pizac/AP
Shannon Bahrke  jumps with her tongue out in the women's World Cup Freestyle moguls.

Shannon Bahrke takes a jump in the women's freestyle moguls World Cup event in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 11, 2007.

Douglas C. Pizac/AP

Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke wanted to capture the bliss she felt when skiing moguls in competition or floating through powder snow for fun.

U.S. moguls champion Michelle Roark wanted to capture "the scent of competition."

So both women became off-slope business moguls while continuing to ski moguls in international competition. Both skiers are considered medal contenders for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Skier Shannon Bahrke shows her silver medal in front of a sculpture in Chicago's Millenium Park i i

Off the slopes, Shannon Bahrke (showing her silver medal in front of a sculpture in Chicago's Millenium Park) is becoming a coffee mogul with her Silver Bean Coffee Co. Tom Kelly hide caption

itoggle caption Tom Kelly
Skier Shannon Bahrke shows her silver medal in front of a sculpture in Chicago's Millenium Park

Off the slopes, Shannon Bahrke (showing her silver medal in front of a sculpture in Chicago's Millenium Park) is becoming a coffee mogul with her Silver Bean Coffee Co.

Tom Kelly

Bahrke was inspired by a perfect powder day on the slopes in Utah, which ended at the hip Coffee Garden coffee shop in Salt Lake City's trendy 9th and 9th neighborhood.

"Everybody was talking about their favorite day on skis and the biggest cliff they ever jumped and the deepest powder they've ever skied," Bahrke recalls. "I was just like, 'Wow. How do we capture this? How can I bring this spirit and this friendship and this love of something into a business?' "

All those warm and fuzzy feelings welled up in a comfy coffee shop, so Bahrke thought she'd open one of her own. But the owners of the Coffee Garden need not worry. Bahrke's fiance Matt Happe nixed anything to do with retailing, given his own unhappy experience in the retail world. The couple turned to coffee roasting and now produce the "Shannon Bahrke Blend," among other ski-related roasts.

Bahrke had a pound on hand at this week's 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Chicago, holding it up for reporters at a news conference and charming them with her off-slope mogul acumen, along with her pink hair and spiked heels.

Michelle Roark celebrates her final run in the women's freestyle World Cup moguls race. i i

Michelle Roark celebrates her final run in the women's freestyle moguls World Cup race in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 29. Douglas C. Pizac/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Douglas C. Pizac/AP
Michelle Roark celebrates her final run in the women's freestyle World Cup moguls race.

Michelle Roark celebrates her final run in the women's freestyle moguls World Cup race in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 29.

Douglas C. Pizac/AP

Not to be outdone, Roark pitched her own blend — of essential oils and Bulgarian rose petals, the ingredients of one of her "Phi-nomenal" perfumes. "The whole basis behind it is to invoke energy, confidence and focus," Roark explained to the ballroom filled with reporters.

The inspiration for this scented business came from a sports psychologist for U.S. Olympic skiers, who told the athletes to "cover all five of your senses when you visualize," as Roark remembers it. "Hear it, see it, taste it, touch it, smell it."

"I could do all of them but smell," Roark explains. "I had no idea what it smelled like to ski well."

So, Roark launched a search for a perfume that would be her "scent of the zone." But every commercial fragrance she tried either dissipated in an hour or left her with headaches.

Now, Roark isn't your average moguls champion who enjoys the "chance to girl up," as she describes it. She's a chemical engineer who studied at the Colorado School of Mines with a specialty in petroleum and refining. Roark also "enjoys the petroleum process," she confesses.

Her "confidence blend" uses the oil from 600 rose petals in each bottle. "I've done the math," Roark boasts. Other not-so-secret ingredients include Italian bergamot and pink grapefruit from Florida. A 15-milliliter bottle costs $89.

"I wanted to find something that would empower me," Roark says. But she has other women in mind, as well. Her mission statement includes creating "the scent of the first woman president of the United States."

Both Roark and Bahrke say the entrepreneurial spirit comes in handy when trying to finance a moguls skiing career. Both have been hampered by multiple knee injuries and surgeries and look to the time when they won't be pounding their way through snow bumps.

Roark has a more immediate goal, hoping the combination of moguls skier and perfume mogul "will get me on Dancing with the Stars."

Bahrke jokes about her mogul mix: "I'm working two jobs," she laughs, "and not making money at either of them."

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