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Kent Kreitler is best known for skiing just about anything — especially big, exposed Alaskan faces — with power and style. As one of the forerunners of progressive freeriding, he excels in all aspects of skiing, from extreme to skiercross to slopestyle. And now, without further ado, SKIING’s interview with Kent Kreitler, one of North America’s top 25 skiers.
Name: Kent Kreitler
Current home/mountain: Alpine Meadows/Squaw, CA
Age when you started skiing: Seven
Hometown/where you learned to ski: Ketchum/Sun Valley, ID
When did it hit you that you could be a pro/competitive skier? “I’ve wanted to since I was a kid. I grew up in Sun Valley around guys like Lane Parrish, Joey Cordo moguls, and Pete Patterson. Being around high-caliber skiers from all different disciplines inspired me to try to be a professional skier.”
Claim to fame/results: “Being one of the forerunners of this progressive freeride movement. We came out with Harvest(TGR), and were being really progressive with big mountain skiing at really high speeds on exposed faces in Alaska. It’s easier when you’re mirroring someone else — we were the pioneers.”
Signature trick or event: “Powerful, fluid big-mountain skiing.”
Have any pets? “No. I had a dog but I lost it in a breakup with a girlfriend. I love animals but I travel too much to have any of my own. If I had animals, they’d all die.”
What’s your beverage of choice? Jones soda
What kind of car do you drive? A Ford Crew Cab F-350
Last book you read: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Do you have a ski hero? Who? Why? “Lane Parrish, Scot Schmidt, Daron Rahlves, Candide Thovex, my ski coaches growing up, and anyone who’s ever made any kind of a breakthrough in skiing, I admire.”
Movies you’ve been in: “Every TGR movie since day one, Ski Movie, Pura Vida, Fetish, Ski Theater & Alpine Rapture— both Nick Nixon movies.”
Pastimes off the hill: Motocross (“it’s a lot like skiing”) and surfing.
How do you feel about the FIS/IFSA? “I don’t want FIS in freeskiing at all. I think that ski racing and mogul skiing would both be bigger if they were independent and pro. I don’t like FIS. There may have been a time and a place for them, but that time has passed. As for IFSA, I think that it’s importatnt that there’s a body to protect the rights of the athletes.”
Do you think fat skis are a game-improvement tool or a crutch? “Both. For a high-level skier, a fat ski makes it easier to get into a more challenging situation. But today’s kids who have grown up on fat skis don’t have the balance that those of who grew up skiing 215 race skis do.”
Skiboarders? Shoot ’em or hug ’em? “I don’t care what anyone does, but I see them as training wheels for skiing. If people are using them as a learning tool, that’s fine. But I don’t want to see them become a sport. It’s the same sport as skiing. If someone on skiboards is doing a better trick than someoone on long skis, then the skiboarder should win. But I haven’t seen a skiboarder do that yet.”
Do you have any nicknames? “Not really. Kreit is probably the most common.”
Skiers as punks, a good or bad thing? “Great. Punk culture is all about being yourself and being uncontrolled by any preset conditons. One of the things our sport needs to realize is the ability to change.”
Plans for the future: “I want to refocus on my big mountain skiing. I’m happy with the tricks I’m doing, but I don’t want to spread myself so thin. Big mountain skiing is my passion, it’s the reason I’m a professional skier. I get pretty involved in things, and right now I’m not foreseeing any kind of ending date for my skiing. I want to push hard for four or five more years. But there are other aspects of life I want to experience. But I think I’ll always be involved in the ski iindustry.”