The Pen May Be Mightier Than The Pole

Linnaea KershawJune 29, 2010
Dave Nighbor, left, has a bit of design fun at the Vancouver 2010 Games with friend, Matt Jeffries.

This article is the first in a series that will look at the post-athletic careers of former elite cross-country skiers, coaches, and others involved in the sport.

Dave Nighbor is out of the ski racing game, and has moved onto bigger and brandier things. After he finished up his ski career as a full-time Canadian National Team athlete, Nighbor packed up and moved himself to Calgary. There, he uses another talent, graphic design, to shift into the next chapter of his life.

It’s been a smooth and natural transition for the 25-year old, he said. “I feel good about my decision [of retiring from skiing]. I did all the things I wanted to do with it. There are no lingering feelings,” Nighbor said in a phone interview. Now, he exercises to keep himself in shape, and is concentrating on his future in advertising.

Nighbor’s company, 9 Lives Graphic Designs, lives in the offices of one of his biggest clients, threesixtythree, a sponsorship and branding company–and he is their “go-to guy” for outsourced design work. He also takes on independent contracts and has done posters for events such as Share the Road and the XTerra Canadian National Championships.

Nighbor’s ultimate goal is to move into corporate branding or advertizing. “What I enjoy the most and what I have a knack for is the idea of advertizing and getting people’s attention through design. I could see myself doing that,” he said.

Whether or not he’s going to go back to school for design is up in the air. “Everything’s undecided right now. It depends on where work and school may take me,” he said.

To see Nighbor’s work, go to

Nighbor's company, 9 Lives Design, combines his love for art and graphic design with his business-savy skills. Design: Dave Nighbor

Linnaea Kershaw

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