How many skiers do you know who ski the same mountain, take the same lifts, ski the same few runs, and basically treat the mountain like a golf course? Too many, I bet. I’ve got news for you: Skiing is not golf-you don’t have to play the same holes in the same order every time you go out. If you ski the same mountain, the same way every day you go out, your skiing will get stale and you won’t improve.
I try to keep it fresh by constantly coming up with different goals each time I go out. One day my objective might be to ski every black diamond run on the hill. Another day it might be to ride every lift or to see how many vertical feet I can rack up.
By playing these games I force myself to ski every type of terrain in every type of snow. Once you start doing this, you’ll dramatically expand your skills and ability to adapt to variable conditions. By days end, you’ll have experienced more, seen more, and added new techniques to your bag of tricks.
Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Weight: 170 pounds
Home Area: Aspen/Snowmass, CO
Accomplishments: Two-time World Freeskiing Champion; 24 Hours of Aspen Champion; 1998 X Games Skiercross bronze medalist.
Worst Learning Experience: “I was in Valdez, where I’d been skiing for years and had become well aware of the dangers of slough (snow that slides at the surface but isn’t as big as an avalanche). Despite my knowledge, I became overly aggressive and figured I could outrun a sloughing slope. One day the snow started rolling and I knew I should’ve changed lines, but I didn’t, and it took me out. I was in it for about 1,000 feet-above the snow, below the snow-getting pummeled. I lost one of my skis and both poles. I was lucky to come out of it in one piece. It taught me to respect the mountain at all times. It’s a lesson I’ve kept in my mind, whether I’m in the backcountry or at a resort.”