Matt Manser, Atomic Ski Boots (Ep.63)

So how does a kid from a little town in New York end up becoming a global product manager for one of the largest ski and boot manufacturers in the world, and living in Austria? And why does he believe that his study of philosophy played a critical role in getting him there, and in carrying out his day-to-day responsibilities?

We talk to Matt Manser (Instagram: @onenerdykid) about his background, his studies in philosophy, bootfitting, and the design decisions behind the development of the Atomic Hawx Ultra and Hawx Ultra XTD boots.

Matt Manser, boot designer, Atomic Ski Boots on the blister podcast
Matt Manser, Product Manager, Atomic Ski Boots.


  • Where do you currently live, and what is your title at Atomic? (1:35)
  • Background: where did you grow up & when did you start skiing? (4:13)
  • College: discovering philosophy (9:03)
  • Why study philosophy & logic? (11:48)
  • Philosophy, bootfitting, and bootfitting for Doug Coombs and other athletes (23:40)
  • Matt’s job: taking a boot from concept to finished product (36:42)
  • What do you consider to be the three main aspects of making a great ski boot? (39:51)
  • Managing the different expectations of skiers in different parts of the world (44:26)
  • Trivia Question: Guess which company sells the most World Cup race boots? (47:23)
  • On the Atomic Hawx Ultra — developing a lightweight alpine boot (51:45)
  • Why it’s so difficult to build lightweight ski boots with a progressive flex (55:10)
  • Marcel Hirscher: what it’s like working with one of the greatest ski racers of all time (1:06:26)
  • On the different intentions behind the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 vs. XTD 130 (1:11:33)

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6 comments on “Matt Manser, Atomic Ski Boots (Ep.63)”

  1. Haven’t finished listening yet but thank you for insisting on the philosophy part. Totally second your statment that reading is not appreciated/accepted enough as a pastime.

    You can make a separate episode on philosophy and on what you are interested in (and why not so much on logos as you seem to mention in passing).

    Have fun!

    • A separate podcast on philosophy? Noted! We’ll see about that. And funny you wrote *logos* — because, personally, I’m much more interested in, say, Greco-Roman notions of *logos* than I am in the modern discipline of formal logic. It’s not that I’m against formal logic, but logic (especially modern conceptions of it) is a tool; philosophy is bigger and broader than that – it’s a practice and a way of life. For more on this, you might check out Pierre Hadot’s, Philosophy as a Way of Life.

  2. Matt Manser. How can I get in touch with you? Former Holiday Valley kid turned Atomic (snowboard) athlete (under Curt Hulst… long time ago now) turned Philosophy professor. There’s a group of philosophy/snow nerds that put on an annual even in Utah. I feel like we should talk/colab…

  3. Hi Matt,
    I hope you see this from your old professor of philosophy. It meant so much to me to hear the student who wrote “Aristotle and the game of Golf” as his senior paper. What pleasure Susan, my wife, and I had listening to you, and how proud I am to hear you. Thank you. I hope you get this, about a year later. I’d love to hear from you.

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