You came out of nowhere this year. How?
Well, I've spent my whole life skiing at Snowbird. I grew up there, living in employee housing with Dad and Mom and my brother. Started racing when I was 8 and got really into that, had a really good season last year, skied a bit with the U.S. Ski Team. But then I was going to get named to the team and, um, didn't. So I decided that I was done racing, ready to see what else life had to offer. I started school. I'm on a full-ride academic scholarship and thought that in order to continue skiing, I'd try the big-mountain thing. So I just signed up for every comp and decided to see how it went.
What was it like to win the world title and clinch the overall your first year on the tour, at your home resort?
It was pretty crazy. It all kind of seems surreal. I just came in ready to have fun. I mean, it was my home mountain, a lot of people I knew were there cheering me on. I went up, skied a line that I thought would be fun, and did really well both days. I wouldn't say it was rewarding, it was just fun. I'm still kind of processing it.
A full-ride academic scholarship? You know what you're majoring in?
I'm double majoring in environmental studies and international studies and minoring in philosophy, because I want to go into environmental law. I've always loved school and loved learning, and I've always wanted to give back to the planet. So I figured this was the best way.
You sound smart. What was your GPA in high school?
I don't know -- I got an A-minus along the way!
What was the biggest thing your dad taught you?
Just a love of the mountains and a love to be outside. And the fact that he's on snow safety definitely taught us respect for the ski hill and respect for Mother Nature.
Wildest story you ever heard from his ninja ski career in the Wasatch?
I think the one that hit home the hardest was when he got caught in the avalanche at Snowbird and one of his fellow ski patrollers dug him out, blue and unbreathing, and resuscitated him. Dad also pioneered so many lines in the Wasatch. Like we'll be driving up the canyon and he'll point out this super gnarly line and be like, "I skied that when I was closer to your age." And I'll be like, "Holy shit, you made it down that? That looks close to impossible." People will write these guidebooks, you know, published like five years ago, and be like, "I pioneered this line," and Dad's like, "Yeah, I did that 30 years ago, buddy." He doesn't tell anyone. I have to worm it out of him.
Can your brother keep up with you at Snowbird?
Oh man, he kicks my ass! He's a really inspiring skier for me. Obviously an incredible athlete -- I'm sure you've heard, but he was the youngest person to climb Everest and do the Seven Summits. He's just a super inspiring person for me.
What does your mom do?
For our whole lives she taught a one-room schoolhouse up at Alta with the seven kids who lived in the canyon. She did that through high school for all of us, and that was really what enabled us to live up there. Now she works with a company called Alta Chalets cleaning.
You got any sponsors?
Black Diamond is my only sponsor right now. I joined their team really late last year, in September or October when I decided to do these comps. So they'd already spent all their money, but they gave me all the product I wanted and were really supportive, and I think I'll be signing a contract with them this year. Hopefully I'll get on Smith Optics too; I just got a package from them with some free stuff that I didn't ask for, so that's a good sign. But I haven't heard from anybody.
Any plans for next year?
I'm not quite sure yet. I'm thinking about taking spring semester off so I can focus on skiing more. I'll do the same (FWT) circuit again, for sure.