How can a day on the hill be elevated to be more rad than it already is? The freedom to explore one’s environment by gliding on snow is the allure that draws many to skiing and snowboarding. This sport enables one to be captivated by the present, to use wooden planks to flow with the terrain. Some call it a religious experience, some call it a “flow state.” Well, Nishant Reddy has found a way to further enhance this sensation, and he calls it A Golden State.
A self-proclaimed “ski-aholic,” Nishant Reddy has taken his passion for skiing and has created a business that aims to cater to those looking to heighten their experience on the mountain. It’s evident from his beginnings in upstate New York to creating A Golden State within view of Mt. Shasta, snowsports have shaped the company into what it is today.
I got the chance to ask Reddy some questions about his business and how it fits into the snowsports industry. It’s no secret that marijuana and skiing go together like a foot in a ski boot, but A Golden State has certainly made the duo that much better.Nishant Reddy. PC: Narrative Media Group
What is your ski/ snowboard history?
Skiing is my first true love. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing it for going on 33-years now! I got on skis for the first time when I was about 5-years old at Gore Mountain in upstate New York. Being an only child, my parents wanted me to spend time with my older cousins, whose family happened to have a little ski cabin near the mountain. We’d drive up on weekends from New Jersey, and I’d spend the days in ski school or being ditched on the hill by my cousins who were supposed to be teaching me how to ski. I don’t quite remember how, or why, but I caught the bug almost immediately.
My cousins and their family lost interest in the sport, but I, on the other hand, only grew more obsessed. I was fortunate that, even though my parents didn’t ski, they continued to take me skiing all over the Poconos and upstate New York. I would go to ski school while my parents would read inside the lodge. Looking back at it, they were incredible parents, truly selfless, and I’m grateful for that. The best part is, when I turned 13, my 55 year-old dad had an epiphany and said to himself, “I only have one son and, if he loves to ski so much, I should learn so that I can ski with him.” And he did! Needless to say, he caught the bug and has been a devout skier himself until this past winter when he turned 80 and his health forced him to hang-up his skis. The memories we’ve had skiing together all over the world are priceless; celebrating my birthday on our first trip out west, chasing endless winter down in the Andes, traveling and skiing all over the Alps, and, most recently, spending his 79 th birthday making turns together. Now my wife is joining us as well.
How many days of skiing/snowboarding do you get per year?
It really depends on the year, especially managing a growing business and a growing family, but I try to ski every weekend from December to April. In addition, I have a few heli trips per year as well as ski touring and mountaineering trips. I am averaging between 50-65 days per year. As I grow older and continue to refine the balancing act of being a father, husband, CEO, and ski-aholic, I realize that it’s about quality, not quantity. Likewise, if I get a couple of hours on the hill, it’s still a religious experience for me, and it recharges my soul. While I don’t need every day to be an epic bell to bell kind of day, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my life’s goal, especially as an entrepreneur, is to eventually be able to ski as much as I can, whenever I want!Reddy about to get gnarly! PC: Nishant Reddy
How do you feel marijuana aligns with snowsports?
Marijuana can be a positive enhancement and complementary to most activities, and snowsports are no different. That being said, mindful consumption and responsible usage are paramount. Whether it’s helping to amplify your mood, enhance your sensory experience, or just act as a conduit to finding your groove on that perfect powder day, cannabis can help deliver all of these benefits when used responsibly. Furthermore, cannabis plays a tremendous role in recovery, especially in ratios that favor CBD, such as helping to alleviate muscle soreness and inflammation, acting as a sleeping and insomnia aide, and a long list of many healing properties that can be used in a complementary fashion with snowsports.Supplies for a great day on the mountain. PC: agoldenstate.com
On A Golden State’s website, it discusses the role Mt. Shasta plays in the company. What about Mt. Shasta influenced you to start a cannabis company? Did skiing/snowboarding lead you to Mt. Shasta which then sparked a business venture or vice versa?
My desire to treat my body with love and care so I could pursue my passion for snowsports at the highest level is what drove me to create A Golden State. Cannabis has always been a positive additive to my life and my enjoyment of snowsports. Nothing is better than the feeling of pairing my favorite strain with the perfect in-bounds powder day; it’s a religious experience.
I can’t emphasize enough the need for responsible, measured cannabis usage when pairing with active endeavors like snowsports. The goal is for the plant to act as an enhancement to your experience, not to overdo it, which can lead to making careless, irresponsible decisions. I also never consume when I am in the backcountry. It was this pursuit to produce the highest-grade cannabis that took my partners and I to Mt. Shasta because we knew it was there where we could find the cleanest source of water. This would ultimately become a foundational building block for A Golden State.
Likewise, we wanted to build a sustainable operation. In the City of Shasta Lake, we were able to fuel our indoor cultivations using an entirely hydroelectric infrastructure. I’m proud to say today that all of our operations are certified carbon-neutral, and we’re the first in the industry to achieve this. Mt. Shasta has become a symbolic and important part of our brand’s identity, and it also has some awesome ski touring and mountaineering that have been on my to-do list. Unfortunately, COVID and heli trips to Alaska have hampered me skiing the mountain these last 2 years, but hopefully, this May or June is the time!Mt. Shasta PC: skipark.com
How does watering the crops with snowmelt from Mt. Shasta affect the quality of the final product?
Mount Shasta’s spring water is the result of snowmelt from the glaciers high atop Mt. Shasta. The purity of the water is unrivaled, especially in California. From the source, the water flows through miles of volcanic rock, which enriches the water with beneficial minerals. Our gardens are fed directly with water from the local reservoir, which enters our facilities at approximately 44-55 degrees, depending on the season. Because of the purity, we do not need to further purify or utilize reverse osmosis to cleanse the water like most other cultivations do. During the final stage of growing when our plants are flowering, we eliminate all nutrients and allow this pristine water source to cleanse the plant of all residuals, resulting in an extremely clean burn and unmatched flavors. Like many of the great vineyards of the world, this incredible water, combined with our proprietary nutrients and award-winning genetics, are the terroir that makes A Golden State, truly one-of-a-kind, and special.
What does the ecosystem surrounding Mt. Shasta offer that allows A Golden State to grow a flower that is distinct?
We believe it all starts with the water. We are exclusively indoor cultivators, which allows us to maintain precision within our growing environments. This precision allows us to consistently produce the best cannabis in California, harvest after harvest. One thing remains constant, and it is our most important output: the best tasting water on earth.
We are geographically located on the shores of Lake Shasta. This is the confluence of many legendary pristine rivers; the Mccloud river, the upper Sacramento River, the Pit River, and the squaw creek. Each one of these streams are fed from Mount Shasta’s snowmelt and underground springs, which in turn feeds our reservoir that then feeds our plants directly. our most important input, “the best tasting water on earth.”
Our water is the purest around and full of beneficial minerals; unlike our peers who must rely on purification systems, or reverse osmosis before they have water clean enough to feed their plants. This is a double-edged sword because that process also strips away any beneficial properties of the water. Our plants thrive with all of the minerals they receive daily from our Shasta snowmelt.
If you strip all of the allure away, we are farmers. All of our plants need water, as well as two other primary ingredients: light and nutrients. We control our light to surgical precision in order to maintain an even canopy where all of the plants are receiving an even amount of light, complementary to the genetics being grown at that time. Our proprietary nutrients are made in-house and are a combination of organic and biomineral ingredients, and our focus is always on producing the cleanest, purest forms of cannabis. We believe there is no other way because this is ultimately a plant you are putting into your body.Mt. Shasta. The water source for A Golden State. PC: agoldenstate.com
What methods does A Golden State use for growing?
We are indoor cultivators, but we cultivate in many different styles. Our favorite style remains to be biomineral and organic nutrients along with organic coconut shell shavings. Coco is the leftover material from coconut harvesting and, when the fibers are removed from the outermost shell, the coco gives us a clean inert growing medium that allows for an optimal oxygen ratio and unparalleled root development. This ultimately leads to the incredible cannabis we are known for.
What were some of the biggest challenges to starting A Golden State? What are the biggest challenges today?
We were building a business within a new industry that often feels like the wild west. There was no playbook, the regulators had no idea what they were doing, and the result created roadblocks at every turn. A lot of the secret sauce was in whether or not you could figure out a winning strategy to navigate all of these challenges – and even then you could not guarantee success!
Being that the industry is not federally legal, there is no lending or banking and the taxation is antiquated, treating legal, licensed cannabis businesses as if they were black market drug operations. It’s honestly quite shocking, and even if you could triumph over all of these obstacles, you still need to build a sound business with a product people want that will turn a profit – something any entrepreneur will tell you is incredibly hard, even for the simplest of traditional businesses.
Unfortunately, many of these problems still exist today and we continue to fight them. The key difference now is that we’ve built a brand that people love and our business is thriving as we continue to solve these challenges as we go.Reddy enjoying the fruits of his labor. PC: Narrative Media Group
What does the future of A Golden State look like?
I’m humbled yet extremely proud to say that the future of A Golden State is limitless. It’s surreal to think about how this started with a simple vision to create the highest-quality cannabis products. Selfishly, as cannabis connoisseurs and avid outdoorsmen, my partners and I wanted to create cannabis products that complemented our lifestyles. Now it’s all about bringing this amazing brand we are so proud of to consumers across the country.
We’re actively expanding into new states and constantly releasing new products, including a focus on non-combustion-based cannabis products. In other words, for people who don’t want to smoke, we’re launching our solventless oil pens, all-natural edibles, and dissolvable tablets + mixable powders. As always, regardless of the SKU, our focus is on purity, consistency, and quality. Consumers now get to choose which form of consumption is right for them, but can always expect to be rewarded with an incredible experience.Product offerings from A Golden State PC: Narrative Media Group
What are some of the new and exciting things the company is working on?
Expansion! I’m proud to say that A Golden State is the number two premium cannabis flower in California, and our Lava Flower strain is also the number two strain within the state. The people have spoken, and they love the small-batch artisanal cannabis that we produce. We want to share that experience with more consumers, and not just flower connoisseurs.
We are currently in the process of launching various products. First up is our solventless oil pens, which consist of nothing more than using water and ice to extract pure A Golden State flower resulting in Vala, a clean cannabis oil in an easy-to-use, discreet, rechargeable vaporizer. Additionally, our all-natural vegan gummies are also in the works and will be hitting shelves soon. Finally, on the flower front, A Golden State is constantly innovating and releasing new strains, and we have a handful we’re particularly excited to release this Spring in our “Uncharted Collection,” that I am confident will make a splash.Proprietary Lava Flower available at A Golden State. PC: agoldenstate.com
Where is A Golden State’s place in the future of snowsports?
As we discussed above, cannabis, when used responsibly, can be a powerful enhancement to snowsports. A Golden State amplifies that experience through its focus on producing only the highest-grade, purest forms of cannabis. For all those who love the outdoors and snowsports, they should equally love and care about what they put into their bodies.
Likewise, A Golden State is that perfect pairing when talking about cannabis and snowsports. The quality of the product, the company’s dedication to sustainability, and the reliance on snowmelt water from Mt. Shasta are what truly makes it a natural fit. As this was the catalyst for creating the brand, I can confidently say it’s all originating from an authentic place and a true love of snowsports and the outdoors.
Mr. Reddy has provided the perfect pairing for snow sliders everywhere. His passion for skiing and growing cannabis is evident and the relationship that he has created by using the water from the snowmelt of Mt. Shasta that is skied on during the winter is profound. It is a farm-to-table-like experience to which skiers and riders can feel connected. The future of A Golden State is bright as skiers and riders are only becoming more connected with their environment.Reddy going to point it on the line of a lifetime. PC: Nishant Reddy