Five Question Interview: Oakley White-Allen

The dark horse of big-mountain on Canada v. America, pole assembly, and why we’ll be hearing his name a lot more this winter.
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Oakley White-Allen

You might have heard the name Oakley White-Allen here and there, with a random impressive finish in a competition, or a shot in a magazine or on film. But for the most part he’s been under the radar. Until recently, that is. Heading into the big mountain comp scene full bore last season, he came up with some impressive results and scored one of the very coveted invites to last month’s Swatch Skier’s Cup at Valle Nevado in Chile, where he scored 20 percent of the team’s points—not bad for an off the radar athlete. He took some time to tell us what he’s been up to and why we’ll probably be seeing his name a lot more in the near future.

No one seems to really know if you are Canadian or American. What’s the story? 
I grew up in Maine, but was born and skied mostly in Vermont. At 21, I moved west to Whistler, following the legend of BC powder and a chance to ski along side some of the worlds best. I lived there for seven years, and chose to return home to the US in 2007. Salt Lake City was my choice for a few reasons; good snow, good weather, affordability, convenience. I figured that I would ski here for one season, and then move on to Jackson or Cham or somewhere. After four years of riding Snowbird and Alta, I'm still here.

Right now, your name is definitely back in the limelight of big mountain. Why have you decided to return to comps full-on right now? 
I've been shredding hard this whole time, working on my skiing. In 2006 I did my first freeskiing event at Fernie, BC. Since then, I've focused getting better, and every year I always did at least one event. In 2010 everything came together with the Freeskiing World Tour Championships at Snowbird. I worked my way through the qualifier to sit in third place on the podium. With three Freeskiing World Tour stops and the Swatch Skiers Cup, 2011 was the first time I had ever competed so much in one year. 

That’s a pretty coveted spot. How did you pull that off?
Team captain, Mark Abma invited me. He and I used to coach together on the glacier back in Whistler, and had travelled some together. Abma knew I had to be skiing well and competing a lot more these days; I guess he figured I was a good dark horse.

Back in Salt Lake, you are involved with a company called Panda Poles. How’s that going?
Panda Poles began as a concept in the spring of 2008, with the mission to re-introduce the more sustainable bamboo pole to the ski community. Over the following two seasons, Tanner Rosenthal, Johnny Anetsberger, and myself designed and developed the baskets, as well as tested a variety of different bamboos. I currently ski, continue with future designs, assemble poles, and act as team manager for Panda.

So you’ve been keeping busy. What’s on the plate for this coming season?
This year, I plan to compete in a few of the Freeskiing World Tour stops. I'd like to draw a wildcard for one on the Freeride World Tour events, maybe my performance in Chile will have an affect on that. A chance to get in front the cameras a little more this year is what I really want. Either way, I'll be skiing and that's the ideal.


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