On today’s episode, I get the chance to speak with Chris Davenport, one of the world’s most accomplished big mountain skiers. Initially, as the grandchild of a skiing pioneer and child of a ski racer, Chris started out as a racer, himself. Eventually, he transitioned into free skiing and that has since become his passion.
During our discussion, we talk about his history with skiing, how Chris is a lifelong student of skiing, and why he thinks all skiers should take up the fight against global warming. Tune in to hear a great conversation with someone who knows the language of the mountains.
[02:02] Chris grew up skiing on a small mountain.
[02:10] His grandfather was a big skier and was involved in the founding of New Hampshire’s Mount Cranmore.
[02:24] HIs father was also a Ski Racer at the University of Denver.
[03:26] Chris was a Racer at the University of Colorado.
[03:56] Ultimately, he enjoyed free skiing more than racing.
[04:50] A certain racing event turned the tide for Chris and he decided he wanted to pursue skiing professionally.
[05:20] A friend of his convinced him to compete in the race in Crested Butte.
[07:13] That summer, he went to Las Leñas, where he learned a lot from Doug Koontz.
[08:33] Chris’ is heading down to Chile to run his eighteenth ski clinic.
[10:15] Clinic attendees often have trepidation, because they are working with professional skiers.
[10:50] Chris discusses staying open to new experiences and continuing to improve his skills as a skier.
[13:10] Each clinic client has their own needs, so the clinic focuses on improving the individual without a set script or schedule.
[13:44] One of Chris’ camp attendees went on to win the Freeride World Tour.
[15:40] Teaching people to grab the bull by the horns comes with its challenges.
[21:17] Factoring in different types of terrain when training people to be better skiers.
[23:15] What is means to pay your dues as a skier.
[23:30] How to master the “language of the mountains”.
[28:32] The importance of combating global warming.
[30:40] Chris’ work with Protect our Winters and why it is important for other skiers to get involved.
[32:40] What people can do to be more “green”.
[34:40] Finding his tribe in Crested Butte at the Extreme Skiing Championships.
[35:34] How POW is focused on the upcoming midterm elections.
[36:53] Chris favorite motivational quote is “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
[37:12] He thinks younger people have goals, but don’t have actual plans of action.
[38:00] He also likes the term, “knees to skis.” It’s a great reminder about form and keeps him aligned on the mountain.
“It’s that passion and love of the sport...it just permeates the whole camp and the whole atmosphere.” -Chris Davenport
“I’ve heard a number of times from clients after the camp, that they went into it...having the pros built up on this pedestal and then in the end they realized we’re just skiers, just like they are.” -Chris Davenport
“Skiing is all about experience: you have to pay your dues.” -Chris Davenport
Klaus Obermeyer is a living legend. He has had the amazing privilege to see every technological advancement in skiing from the very beginning of the sport. He is 98 years-old and still has a great passion for the sport. If you’re in Aspen, you may even run into him on the Mountain.
Tune in to hear Klaus discuss the early days of skiing, his method for teaching beginners, and his secret to a long and healthy life.
[01:55] Klaus made his first pair of skis at two years-old.
[02:08] He used the chestnut boards from some orange crates.
[03:06] He built a small jump out of snow and generally had a great time sliding around on snow.
[03:30] When he was around 4 or 5 years-old, a Norwegian man made him a pair of real skis.
[04:45] A Doctor in Hamburg made the first metal ski edges.
[06:05] People used different types of wood to make skis, but Americans used Hickory. Hickory is tough, but flexible.
[08:58] Klaus made sure that when teaching beginners, he wouldn’t do anything to scare them; scared skiers are stiff skiers.
[10:25] When snowboarding came around, it influenced the shape of skis. The shorter and wider skis are great for skiing in heavy, chunky snow.
[13:00] Klaus worked to create ski clothing that enhanced the skiing experience; they wanted to make warm, comfortable clothing.
[14:25] Klaus still skis, but won’t ski in a storm or when it’s icy.
[14:58] At his age, he finds it easier to ski than it is to walk.
[15:32] Klaus says the key is to not eat more calories than you burn, workout every day, keep your bones under pressure, and make sure your body is always used to working.
[16:15] Never give up working out; Klaus likes swimming.
[17:25] Klaus learned a lot about skiing from a sheep herder, who was the first person who knew how to make parallel turns.
[18:10] The sheep herder skied to school everyday.
[22:00] Norwegians skied for reasons of survival.
[24:55] In terms of keeping skiing popular, Klaus says to “just let it happen” and “enjoy the feeling of sliding on snow”
“It was a pleasure to see how these skis got...a little bit better. And the sport of skiing kept changing…” -Klaus Obermeyer
“...In 1947, there was practically no ski clothing...We developed a lot of it and then got copied by people. The aim was to make ski clothing that makes skiing more enjoyable…” -Klaus Obermeyer
“At this point of my age, at 98 and a half years-old, it’s easier to ski than it is to walk.” -Klaus Obermeyer
On today’s episode, I get to chat with Dr. Tom Hackett. Tom started out as a member of the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol before becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon. He took an interest in not just fixing injuries, but trying to understand why injuries happen. This is what lead him to his success as a Doctor and he now serves as the Orthopedic Surgeon for the US Ski Team, among other notable patients.
During our discussion, we get into the meat of why we hurt ourselves and the group of muscles we must strengthen in order to prevent a serious, but common injury. Tune in to hear about Dr. Hackett’s fascinating life and his professional endeavors as an Orthopedic Surgeon.
[2:50] Tom loves to operate, but he is more interested in what we can do to prevent injuries.
[03:15] He was on the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol in the late 80’s through the early 90’s.
[05:24] With more extreme tricks, comes greater risk for injury.
[08:20] The Japanese Ski Team has a safety device, which isn’t available to other athletes from different nations
[10:29] Right now, Tom is focusing on the hip.
[10:44] Some of the hip abductors are key to protecting the knee.
[11:05] To protect your knee, you need to strengthen your hip.
[11:20] Beginner snowboarders almost always hurt their wrists, whereas experts always have knee injuries.
[14:54] There is a group of hip muscles for which you can do exercises. Anything that works your hips and glutes is key to protecting your knee from injury.
[17:20] Tom likes to tell young, enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders to slow down and to be conscious of potential risk.
[20:36] Tom sees people whose skis didn’t release and rarely sees injury to people whose skis release easily.
[24:00] Tom discusses the allure and subsequent risk of terrain parks.
[24:38] Tom has found that the severity of injuries is inversely proportional to snowfall.
“These are winter sports, there’s always some time of adverse conditions.” -Dr. Tom Hackett
“You need your quad muscles for performance, and stamina, and driving your ski; but you’ve gotta have the hip strong, as well…” -Dr. Tom Hackett
“If you stay on the ground, you have a much higher chance of staying upright.” -Dr. Tom Hackett
Jim Lindsay is a master boot fitter in Aspen. He works at BootTech creating customized boots for skiers. These boots can often make a huge difference in a skiers stance.
Tune in to hear us talk about the importance of a good fit, Jim’s interest in orthotics and biomechanics, and what kind of difference a properly fitted boot can make.
[02:04] Jim says that everyone is (or should be) familiar with the idea that you can change a ski’s performance by changing its angle. Whereas most people believe that if a boot fits comfortably, there is nothing else to consider.
[02:33] Jim says it’s about adapting the boot to fit your unique anatomy.
[04:50] Jim grew up skiing in Wisconsin, then went to a ski academy in Vermont for High School.
[05:10] Once he realized what he wanted to do, he went to school in the summer to learn about orthotics, orthopedics, and biomechanics of the lower extremity.
[05:30] Even though he works at the bottom of a major mountain, he doesn’t get to ski every day of the season.
[05:53] Throughout the 80’s he did boot fittings at the Aspen Highlands. Then he did speciality Orthotics in Aspen under the Gondola, as well as a shop at Snowmass.
[06:35] Once Jim fit someone in a boot, it would improve their skiing significantly.
[07:02] The simple thing of changing someone’s stance can greatly improve their abilities.
[07:45] In the 80’s, boot fitting was primarily focused on comfort.
[12:40] Jim explains his method to fitting different types of boots and what you can do to improve your fit, based on your needs.
[16:00] Jim continues to fit Jason into a boot and discusses the consequences of an ill-fitting boot.
[19:00] Jim’s ski philosophy and how it relates to boot fitting.
[19:50] It’s important to talk to your boot fitter and communicate your needs.
“...Adapting the boot to complement your anatomy and making your angles and the boots angles all fit together.” -Jim Lindsay
“Very often, someone’s needs will determine what type of boot they have.” -JIm Lindsay
“If the first thing your boot fitter does is go through and evaluate a whole bunch of things about your anatomy, instead of asking you what type of terrain you like to ski and what size shoe you wear, that’s a bad sign.” -Jim Lindsay
Today, I had the chance to speak with Olympic skier, Tommy Moe. Tommy joined the US Ski Team at only sixteen years-old. He spent twelve years as a member of the team and won the silver and gold medals at Lillehammer in 1994. Today, he works as a Ski Guide in Jackson Hole and is one of the Heli-Skier guides at the amazing Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska.
Listen in to hear about Tommy’s journey as an Olympic skier, what he did to improve his technique, and how skiing has changed since his days on the US Ski Team.
[01:45] In 2005, Mike Overcast and Tommy opened up a Heli-Skiing business in Alaska.
[02:30] Tommy starting skiing at a young age in Montana, where his father was a member of the ski patrol.
[03:18] He joined the US Ski Team in 1986 at Copper Mountain.
[03:32] When he was 12, he moved to Alaska, where he attended a ski academy. His training there lead to his becoming a member of the US Ski Team.
[05:20] He had the bug from an early age and this lead him to pursue skiing with a fiery determination.
[06:08] Tommy went to summer camp at Mt. Hood, when Phil and Steve Mayer talked to the kids about being on the World Cup team.
[06:36] When Tommy started racing at a young age, he always had the drive to improve and keep up with others.
[07:55] You can improve simply by skiing with your friends.
[08:32] If you want to improve, Tommy suggests hiring a ski instructor or attending a ski clinic.
[08:54] There are great “steep and deep” camps at Jackson Hole.
[10:15] When he was racing on the Ski Team, they would video tape everything, so they could analyze their techniques.
[10:48] When Tommy was a younger skier, he was aggressive, but had a loose style.
[11:18] When he started improving his form, he focused on improving his angulation and form.
[12:45] Improving his angulation was one of the best things Tommy did to improve his technique.
[13:15] The construction of skis is so different now and it allows for amazing turns where you won’t “boot out”.
[15:25] Ski tech has improved so much that you can now stand on both feet and equally weight your skis.
[15:50] In this day and age, you’re doing race turns with 60% of your weight on the outside foot and 40% on the inside.
[16:05] It looks like perfect railroad tracks, which is vastly different from how it was even in the 80’s.
[17:45] Most of the Heli-Skiers are pretty seasoned skiers, but Tommy likes it when he gets people who ask for advice.
[19:00] Tommy works as a Ski Guide in Jackson Hole, as well. If he sees someone having a hard time, he will give them pointers that will help them attack the mountain.
[20:30] Skiing is a lot like dancing, in that everyone has their own technique.
[21:30] Tommy believes that you always want to be on the offensive when skiing.
[22:54] The Art of Skiing is a classic book that still serves as a great resource.
[24:22] Tommy’s dad used to let him skip school to ski on powder days.
[24:30] Now, Tommy is dealing with teaching his young daughters to ski.
[25:04] His kids are just as enthusiastic about skiing as their parents (Tommy’s wife was also an Olympic skier).
[27:30] Tommy and Jason discuss the quick feet of various Olympic skiers and how techniques have changed over the years.
[28:45] Tommy thanks everyone that has a passion for the sport and encourages enthusiasts to get out there and keep working on their skills.
“I always dreamed about being in the Olympics and, luckily enough, I was able to compete in three.” -Tommy Moe
“A lot of times, in skiing, if you want to improve, it’s usually just one thing at a time.” -Tommy Moe
“A lot of times, when you powder ski, it’s about rhythm.” -Tommy Moe
Chris Steiner is a Chicago-based father of three, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Tech Founder and Engineer. In spite of his busy schedule, he always manages to score the best powder days in every season.
Chris created ZRankings.com, a site that ranks all of the ski resorts in North America based on an algorithm he calls the “pure awesomeness factor”.
Listen in as we discuss the best resorts and when to ski them. Chris serves as a fount of knowledge when it comes to the best times to visit various North American ski resorts, so tune in and start planning your ski trips!
[03:20] It’s hard to move to a ski town at any point, but the best time is probably in your twenties.
[03:46] Since he lives in Chicago, Chris is very cognizant of where he travels to ski and when.
[04:43] A good early season pick is Steamboat, CO.
[05:38] Because he has three children, he has to plan his trips more carefully.
[06:01] Chicago has a lot of direct flights to many ski locations.
[07:42] ZRankings worked with Open Snow and Google to create a feature that finds “powder fares” on airlines.
[08:15] Dallas is a place that has a lot of great direct flights to ski locations.
[09:20] Chris loves Jackson Hole and spends a lot of his ski-time there.
[09:30] It has great conditions and is a safe bet during any point in the season.
[10:05] Come spring, Chris likes Telluride and other Colorado destinations.
[11:40] Utah is great all season long (any resort or mountain location).
[12:00] Utah has some of the best snow on the continent and it’s north-facing.
[12:15] Snowbird and Alta are almost always going to be winners at any point in the season.
[14:00] Fat skis have allowed more skiers to tackle any type of terrain, so it’s busier on more challenging runs, even though the skiers are less experienced.
[16:34] Staying in Salt Lake in December is the cheapest ski trip you can do.
[17:00] Skiing in Salt Lake is great because you don’t run into a large amount of locals.
[16:52] If you get a snow day, Alta and Snowbird will be packed. Solitude is a great alternative, even though the runs aren’t as steep.
[18:15] Resorts in California get storms that other places do not. They also have to deal with the effects of drought.
[19:55] The pros and cons of the Epic Pass and the Icon Pass.
[24:20] Crested Butte is in a remote area (the only game in town), so they can charge what they want.
[26:20] How your location often affects which ski pass you should buy.
[29:00] Winter Park changes and how they have improved the resort.
[29:29] Copper Mountain vs. Vail and Beaver Creek.
[29:45] Copper is one of the best Spring ski resorts.
[31:00] If you only ski groomers, you’re not going to get better. When you challenge yourself, you improve.
[31:22] Nothing can teach you to ski better than huge bumps.
On this episode, I speak with certified badass, Jake Hutchinson. He is the son of a Ski Patroller, a Marine, and an avalanche safety and survival course instructor. Jake trains search and rescue teams, as well as members of the Special Forces. On top of all that, he is the lead trainer at Salt Lake City’s Gym Jones.
Tune in to hear us talk about injury-proofing your body, the importance of self-assessment, and how the mountain can separate the wheat from the chaff.
[03:20] Injury-proofing your body.
[07:40] 50% of the injuries he has witnessed were a result of people being tired.
[10:38] If you have a weak core, it doesn’t matter what’s going on with the rest of your body.
[12:05] Jake forces himself to trail run several times per week,
[12:25] Jake believes trail running is great training for skiers.
[14:47] He is a huge proponent of cross-training.
[21:55] The importance of exercising your hip flexors.
[24:34] Learn to master kick-turns on easy terrain.
[25:35] How to make sure your weight is distributed properly.
[27:00] The importance of self-awareness and self-assessment when it comes to avoiding injury and learning new skills.
[30:30] Ego and testosterone is a consistent problem on the mountain; it prevents people from being honest with themselves about their abilities.
[33:55] Jake finds that the T-bar helps weed out the strong skiers from the weak.
[34:35] Putting in high-speed lifts has contributed to people overestimating their abilities and leading to weaker skiers putting themselves in danger.
[37:20] Pole plants help point you in the right direction and remain vital to form.
“When people start over-using their quads, because their hamstrings and glutes aren’t balanced, that’s where a lot of knee injuries end up.” -Jake Hutchinson
“Skiing has a reasonable risk factor, even on a corduroy groomer, beginner trail.” -Jake Hutchinson
“You really have to be able to...ruthlessly assess yourself and what state you’re in...so that you don’t get lulled into complacency…” -Jake Hutchinson
Today, on this episode of Next Level Skiing, I had the opportunity to speak with Angel Collinson, a professional Freeskier. Angel explains how she was bred into skiing and originally started out with a different goal for her career. We talk about how visualization, meditation, and deep breathing have improved her performance and lifestyle; Angel explains why these methods of self-care are such an important part of the gig and explains how she benefits from the practices. We also discuss how her “feminine approach to fear” and her not-so-secret-mantra has made her one of the best in the world.
Tune in to hear important insights from Angel and how to take your skiing to the next level.
[02:10] Angel was bred into skiing by growing up at Snowbird Ski Resort.
[02:51] Angel had lofty racing aspirations
[05:15] Visualization is a technique that helps Angel manage fear.
[09:52] Angel talks about the importance of self-care and being “resourced enough”.
[15:15] Deep breathing exercises and their benefits.
[18:00] How Angel gets over nervousness prior to a race.
[21:05] Why fear is a tool.
[24:00] Angel explains why it’s not bad to “back off”.
[27:01] The two pieces of advice that have resonated for Angel.
[28:43] If you want more info, head to WagnerSkis.com.
“I’m sort of, like, an all or nothing person.” -Angel Collinson
“If you don’t realize how stressed out you are or tired you are, sometimes you won’t make as good decisions, because you don’t realize where you’re at.” -Angel Collinson
“I’ve never been afraid to [back off].” -Angel Collinson
Welcome to Next Level Skiing by Wagner Skis. Next Level Skiing is a podcast about skiing. Your skiing. We talk to the sport’s luminaries and behind-the-scenes bosses about strategies and hacks for stepping your skiing up a notch. Sure, the key to getting better at skiing is to go skiing. A lot. If it was only that easy. This podcast will offer some shortcuts to becoming the skier you want to be, without having to quit your job and move to a ski town. You can subscribe where ever you get your podcasts by searching for “Next Level Skiing.” Learn more at wagnerskis.com/nextlevel.