Age: 37, Skiing since: 1986, Hometown: Ridgway, CO, Favorite product: Hi5 SKI
Who introduced you to skimo? Who are your influences?
Doug Coombs and Chad VanderHam. These two were the epitome of steep skiing. Their control, commitment and fluid styles were inspiring to watch and seemly hard to emulate. Not only was their ski style a major impact on me, but their attitudes towards skiing and everyday life. To this day, I find their inspiration often guiding my skies.
How old were you when you first became a professional athlete?
I always hoped to become a professional skateboarder growing up in Glen Ellyn, IL. But it wasn't until climbing and skiing took a major part of my life in 1999 when this dream became true...
What are some of your lifetime skiing/race goals?
The aesthetics of a continuous big mountain line is what appeals to me most. Lines that requires a high level of technical proficiency to climb up and require complete focus to descent. I have spent most of my years skiing big lines in the Alps and Alaska. I look forward to adventures in Peru and the Himalayas.
What is your proudest skiing accomplishment?
Probably skiing the two biggest lines in the Alps in back to back days. The direct North Face of Mont Blanc and the Marinelli Coulior on Monte Rosa.
Are you a skier for life? Was there a defining moment that made you realize this?
Bien sur! (Of course!) It started with skateboarding and transition into snowboarding when the Burton woody came out in 1987. I was in middle school and my parents took my sister and I to Steamboat Springs for spring break. Seeing real mountains and shredding them for the first time was that realization.
What do you enjoy most about skiing?
The immediate gratification of a turn, laughing with friends, being in the mountains, sharing experiences, and pushing myself and others is what I love most about skiing.
Describe your dream run:
Alpine start, skinning on the approach and as high up the peak as possible, skis on the back, climb an alpine rock ridge, ski from the summit and descent a steep powdery technical face. A run that incorporates the whole package...
Top five favorite movies:
In no particular order; True Romance, Riding Giants, Steep, Big Lebowski, and currently Breaking Bad (tv series on Netflix)
What do you do to train for races?
Ski 100+ days a year, climb 100+ days a year, and now doing more work-outs with my wife; gym, yoga, and run.
Top five favorite books:
Mindset, Animal Farm, Ishmael, Siddhartha, and currently reading "the Girl Who..." series.
What’s the longest you’ve spent on a single skimo expedition?
Top five favorite musical groups:
Michael Franti, Snoop Dog, the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, and Techno
What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a race?
France, Switzerland, Italy
Top five favorite foods/meals:
King crag legs, Thai, cheese fondu, pizza, and egg scramble,
Briefly describe your most memorable moment while skiing:
Skiing "Sick Iron" in Valdez with a good friend and guide Amos Whiting. After a week of skiing mountaineering throughout the Chugach, we headed for the grand prize peak which was steep, technical to get to and un-skied. At the time, we were a bit over our heads, but managed to pull of one of the finest most aesthetic lines in the area.
Are injuries a part of skiing? What’s your general mentality for handling injuries?
I broke my back skiing in La Grave about six years ago. I basically got sluffed of a serac and fell 10' to flat ice on my butt. To me, avoiding injuries is #1 as ski is a major part of my income. I am definitely cautious in my skiing, spend time reading conditions, and when they are favorable I like to open it up. If and when injuries happen, its important to spend the necessary time required to heal 100%. I have found acupuncture, yoga, and message the best rehabs.
Top five hobbies when you’re not skiing:
Ice climbing, rock climbing, alpine climbing, dancing, and having fun.
If you had to ski one mountain for the rest of your life, which would it be?
The La Meije massif, which is the peak La Grave is based under. You can ski and climb there year round, there are very few people, and it's massive!