Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
SKIING’s interview with Reid Sabin, one of North America’s top 25 skiers.
Name: Reid Sabin
Current home/ski mountain: Big Mountain, MT
Age when you started skiing: “Two. My dad and mom were ski instructors, and I started on Alpine. I switched over to teles at 22 mainly because I wanted to get into the backcountry. I’ve always been interested in trying something new. Now, I’m better at telemark. I did Alpine racing, but I never got into it.”
Hometown/where you learned to ski: I lived in Gig Harbor, Washington and I learned to ski at Snoqualmie Pass.
When did it hit you that you could become a pro skier? “I always felt that if I put my effort into anything, I could make it to the top level. Once I fell in love with tele, I just never stopped and kept excelling. I’ve gotten tremendous support from my wife Kirsten, who I ski with a lot. It was a good way for us to go out and spend time together. There’s a huge freeskiing and telemark skiing scene in Whitefish (Montana), and I’ve gotten a lot of support from racers and friends up here.”
Claim to fame/results: First American to win a World Cup telemark race. Won six out of 15 races last season and was the overall winner.
Signature trick or event: Telemark Classic — start with a GS section with double jumps (“you fly 120 feet at times”), into a skating section with gates. It’s two-thirds gates, one-third skating.
Do you have any pets? A dog, Schaffer, a half golden-half husky and a cat — “A minx with an extra toe on each foot named Yeti.
Favorite food: Dessert — anything chocolate.
Beverage of choice: Cheap beer
Favorite band: Beastie Boys
Are you religious? Yeah, in my own sort of way — although I have no church affiliation.
What kind of car do you drive? An ’84 Toyota pickup
Last book you read? Watch For Me on the Mountainby Forest Carter — “It was about Geronimo.”
Do you have a ski hero? Who? Why? “No one in particular, although I’m continually impressed by freeskiers and racers.”
Pastimes off the hill: Mountain biking, kayaking, surfing in Washington, and fixing an old house.
Plans for the future: “Building my own house and to keep skiing and having as much fun as possible.”
Thoughts on the state of the ski industry: “I think it’s booming, I just think it’s at an extremely creative, innovative stage. Things will continue to change and get better. For example, the whole twin-tip thing is so fun and creative.”
How do you feel about the FIS/IFSA? “Our sport is governed by FIS, and I’ve been told that tele is not an Olympic sport, and in order for it to become one, it would take a strong push from FIS. They said they’d make a proposal by 2010, which hurts, but I value their support. They’re good at making standards and organizing things.”
Do you think fat skis are a game-improvement tool or a crutch? “A game-improvement tool, but not always. I’ve got a set of both and I still think that narrow rule on the hardpack.”
Skiboarders — shoot ’em, or hug ’em? “Shoot em. I just think it’s pretty silly. There’s no reason not to be out there on longer skis — they can do everything on real skis.”
Do you have any words of wisdom for our readers? “Get involved just for the love of it. Tele skiers don’t make any money, but it’s completely worth it. Be creative and try new things. Go on a tour, try twin tips. Take it to the next level.”