A Michigander by birth, and practically growing up with nordic skis on his feet, Andrew Gardner settled in Vermont in 2006 taking over the reigns as head coach of the nordic ski team at Middlebury College. Ted was graduating from the school at the same time, so a friendship was born on two wheels.
With alpine skiing integral in the Cochran lineage — the founding family of Slopeside Syrup — the Vermont ski connection between Andrew and Slopeside was well established too.
Fast-forward a half dozen years, while Ted was busily visiting farmers markets in his off-season in search of maple syrup producers to make individual packets of syrup, Andrew recalls a tale…
“We bought maple syrup as awards to the annual Middlebury Carnival Races. On one particular year, one of my athletes had won a pint of syrup and just prior to heading out on the Sunday after the race for a long workout, he drank most of it. Following the workout, he kept talking about how good he felt and from that day on, I found myself stealing drinks of syrup before workouts. Ted’s love of maple syrup and the Cochran’s ties into skiing seemed like an introduction that couldn’t go unmade.”