An Interview with Glen Plake - Ski Mag

An Interview with Glen Plake

We spoke to Glen Plake, a pioneer of extreme skiing and the spokesperson for January as “Learn a Snow Sports” month, as he was boarding a flight to Moscow, Russia, about Midwestern ski areas, high school ski racing, and why skiing isn’t a sport just for the filthy rich.
Author:
Publish date:
 

 

So, where are right now?
Um. Let me look at my boarding pass really quick, I honestly can’t remember. (Pause.). Oh, right. I’m in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, boarding a flight to Washington. Then reconnecting to Moscow.

Moscow?
I’m heading to Sochi, Russia, the first stop on the Freeride World Tour. I’m part of the security team that makes sure the slope is safe from avalanche danger and good to go for the competitors, which means I get to ski the venue. I’m also doing some communications and VIP work with Nissan, the sponsor of the Freeride World Tour.

You just finished your Down Home Tour, a trip around the U.S. to visit small ski areas, which explains why you’re in Pittsburg and why you have trouble remembering exactly where you are.
That’s right. We went to Oregon, Washington, California and skied all these great little hills. I just finished skiing six ski areas in Pennsylvania.

What’s the point of the Down Home Tour?
Most people are not from or ski big fancy ski areas. I think the little ski area is where it all goes down, it’s where we learn how to ski, it’s where the community is. If you took away the tiny ski area, then big ski resorts would have a hard time staying in business. My career in skiing hasn’t been an X Games, Red Bull, publicized career. It’s been hand-fed by individuals at little ski areas who have been watching my films and seeing the magazines I’ve been in. This is my way to personally thank the people who’ve made my career possible and it’s a way to say I love what you guys are doing.

How did this tour come about?
The basis of the whole thing started when I met a guy skiing in Chamonix who was from North Carolina. That kind of started it. I don’t have a quest—I’m not trying to ski every ski area in America, I’m just skiing. When I heard this guy was from North Caroline, I said I want to check out skiing in North Carolina. So I went there on aThursday afternoon, walked up, and bought a ticket. It’s nice to go see what happens at these ski areas and how they work.

What kind of stuff do you see at a place like Liberty Mountain, Pennsylvania?
I love the ski racing thing that goes on. I love the park scene. And the moguls scene. No ski magazine every does a story on high school races but everywhere I show up, there are buses of high school ski racers.

And you’re also trying to encourage people to get into skiing for the first time, right?
We have a terrible stigma that we’re an expensive sport, which isn’t true. It’s not a Fifth Avenue sport; it’s a sport for a hicktown in Pennsylvania. That’s the truth. This whole Sun Valley, Vail serende has been leading this industry for long enough. We need to let the people go skiing. The little ski areas are where it goes down. It’s been really enlightening. Whether you’re a skier or not, take a lesson—you might learn something.

Related

Lindsey Vonn en route to victory.

An Interview With Lindsey Vonn

Ski racer Lindsey Vonn was just named Female Athlete of the Decade by NBC's Universal Sports. After months of waiting for an interview, we finally managed to get Vonn to answer some of our questions. But instead of asking her about the Vancouver Olympics coming up in February, we spoke to the two-time World Champion about what it's like being hounded by the press.

Dylan Crossman at Kirkwood

An Interview with Dylan Crossman

Big-mountain skier Dylan Crossman recently won the North American Freeskiing Championships at Kirkwood, California. This weekend, he’s competing at the Freeskiing World Championships at Snowbird, Utah, the last stop on this winter’s Freeskiing World Tour. We spoke to him about mountain-bike-assisted ski touring and what it's like having a couloir in Austria named after you.

sarah_thumb.jpg

An Interview with Sarah Burke

The undisputed queen of women’s freeskiing, Sarah Burke, sits down with Skiing to talk about the state of the ski industry, the Winter Dew Tour, dessert and more.

Suzanne Graham

Chairlift Interview with Suzanne Graham

We spoke to pro skier and BASE-jumper Suzanne Graham yesterday at Alta, Utah, about BASE jumping, med school, and how to fight the powder-hungry masses on Alta's famous High Traverse (hint: it's all in your elbows).

Lorraine Huber

Five-Question Interview: Lorraine Huber

We chatted with Austrian/Australian pro skier Lorraine Huber, a guide with Kästle Adventure Tours, about ski mountaineering in New Zealand, filming with Warren Miller, and whether a ski trip to Austria is better than a surf trip to Australia.

Kaya Turski

Winter X Games Preview: An Interview with Kaya Turski

The Winter X Games are happening this week in Aspen, Colorado, so we asked former X Games competitor Michelle Parker (who’s out for the season with a knee injury) to speak to a couple of this year’s Winter X hopefuls—including Kaya Turski, interviewed here. Michelle spoke to Kaya about her pre-competition rituals, what's on her iPod, and her 53-hour roadtrip from Montreal to Mammoth.