Kevin Cincotta from the Liberty
Mountain Race Team in Gettsyburg,
Pa., refuels with fresh syrup.
Cochran Racing Cousins Plan
World Domination — One
Sweet Drip at a Time By Peggy Shinn
Next year at Kitzbuehel, will the Austrians be convinced to try maple syrup on their Kaiserschmarren?
Or with their Red Bull? If so, it might very well be
Cochran’s Slopeside Syrup from Richmond, Vt.
Founded last spring by Jim Cochran, Tim Kelley,
Roger Brown and Douglas Brown — four cousins
of the famous “Skiing Cochrans” clan — Cochran’s
Slopeside Syrup is producing its first run of the sweet
stuff this spring.
But this isn’t a mom-and-pop (or brother-and-cous-in) operation. The market for cute sugarhouse jars
of maple syrup is tapped out, says Jim (no pun intended).
Nor are they raising money for charity, like snowboarding Olympic medalist Hannah Teter, who gives
proceeds from Hannah’s Gold maple syrup sales to
support a drinking-water project in Kenya.
Instead, they are building a larger operation, with
plans to sell thousands of gallons of maple syrup
in bulk to larger companies like Whole Foods that
would repackage it, but keep the name and location
on the label. They also want to use their ski racing
connections to expand the maple syrup market all
the way to Europe.
The idea took root after a forestry survey revealed
more than 20,000 mature sugar maple trees on the
600-acre property where Mickey and Ginny Cochran
— the cousins’ grandparents — started their back-
yard ski area in 1961. Why not tap these trees, col-
lect sap, and boil it down into syrup? That’s what the
enterprising cousins thought at a holiday gathering
Roger and Douglas liked the business idea enough
that they gave up their jobs and moved back to Ver-
mont. Douglas, with a biology and chemistry degree
from St. Lawrence University, was teaching chem-
istry at the Berkshire School; he also helped the
outdoor programs director run a small sugaring op-
eration. Roger, a Dartmouth grad and 2002 NCAA
slalom champ, wrapped up a two-year stint working
for Senator Patrick Leahy. Tim also moved back to
Vermont after four years on the U.S. Ski Team and
enrolled at UVM. Jim, a USST A-teamer, already
lives in Vermont and spends his summers training
and tinkering at the ski area.
Last summer, they built the sugarhouse a short ski
away from the Cochran Ski Area base lodge. Then in
August Jim “fortunately” broke his ankle waterskiing.
With skiing out of the question for most of this winter,
he poured his energy and mechanical talent into the
“We wouldn’t have finished it without that,” says
Though none of the cousins have titles in the com-
pany — other than humorous, unprintable ones —
they have found their niches. Douglas did most of the
electrical work in the sugarhouse, Jim handled weld-
ing and plumbing, Tim provided muscle last summer
before school started, and Roger is in charge of mar-
SkiRacing.com APRIL 7, 2011 | 9