Jason McGowin

Age: 42, Skiing since: 1974, Hometown: Boulder, CO, Favorite product: Hi5 SKI


Who introduced you to skimo? Who are your influences?

I started hiking for turns as a kid outside of Alpine Meadows, CA. Back East for college, I skied Tuckerman’s. My first year in Jackson, I saw the Skillet on Mt. Moran and said, “I have to ski that.” A longtime local who helped pioneer skiing in Teton National Park on leather tele boots, Jack Bellorado, began to explain to me what I would need to do. We soon went out for my first day in the Park, him on those leather teleboots, me with Alpine racing boots and Alpine Trekkers. I first saw skimo racing in a French ski magazine while in Chamonix in 1990’s. When the first Life-Link race was first put on at Jackson, I signed up as a way to train for skiing Denali later that year. After that I was hooked - mostly because racing focused my training for ski mountaineering and made me a lot faster and stronger for big mountain objectives.

How old were you when you first became a professional athlete?

I received my first ski sponsorship after reaching the finals of the US Extreme Skiing Championships in 1996.

What are some of your lifetime skiing/race goals?

1. To continue to explore big beautiful mountains and ski lines around the world. 2. I would like to race all of the big ski mountaineering races, specifically the Patrouille de Glace and the Mezzalama. I would also like to do the Pierra Menta again. 3. To get as many people involved in backcountry skiing as possible.

What is your proudest skiing accomplishment?

Skiing off the top of Denali.

Are you a skier for life? Was there a defining moment that made you realize this?

Of course. I realized this when I realized that I do not remember not being able to ski.

What do you enjoy most about skiing?

Seeing new, big ski lines that I instantly know I must ski. Then I l enjoy all of the planning, executing and skill it takes to ski them.

Describe your dream run:

Cosmique Couloir down to the tunnel. Starts with a rappel, 3,000 feet of 50 degree skiing and then big open powder fields. I did this run a few years ago with guide Michael Silitch one afternoon. His wife, fellow racer Nina Silitch, picked us up in the minivan at the pull out of the Mont Blanc tunnel in between dropping her kids off for hockey practice.

Top five favorite movies:

Raiders of the Lost Ark Pulp Fiction Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid It’s a Beautiful Life Blizzard of Aahh’s

What do you do to train for races?

First of all, all of my training and racing is all really training for my big goals of the year – big, steep lines on big mountains in the spring. I train like a Nordic skier. In the winter I mix backcountry skiing with nordic skiing, both skate and classic. I also consider “over-distance” on alpine skis critical to flashing descents in skimo races and the big steep lines in the spring. You do not really get in shape for downhill skiing in the backcountry by backcountry skiing.

Top five favorite books:

Catch-22, Autobigrahpy of Benjamin Franklin Tao Te Ching Mont Blanc et Aiguilles Rouges à Ski by Anselme Baud Desert Solitaire

What’s the longest you’ve spent on a single skimo expedition?

3 weeks

Top five favorite musical groups:

Pearl Jam Beastie Boys Led Zeppelin Jane’s Addiction G-Love

What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a race?

To the Peirra Menta in France

Top five favorite foods/meals:

Cajun Crawdads in New Orleans French Crepes in Paris Street Tacos in Cabo Salmon in Alaska Pinot Noir anywhere

Briefly describe your most memorable moment while skiing:

Very hard to pick just one, but I usually have one run per year when everything comes together and is perfect. The rest of the year is spent preparing for that one run.

Are injuries a part of skiing? What’s your general mentality for handling injuries?

Of course, but they can be avoided. My general mentality is to avoid injuries by staying really strong, always improving technique and not doing anything stupid.

Top five hobbies when you’re not skiing:

Fatherhood entrepreneurship mountain running mountain biking eating

If you had to ski one mountain for the rest of your life, which would it be?

I refuse to accept the premise of the question.